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Effect Of Motivation In The Workplace Environment Business Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Even though many advances in technology have changed the workplace in recent years, humans still play a vital role in the operation of a business. Thus, it can be said that the human factor is crucial to business success. Employees are not just another input into the production of goods and services as they are not motivated solely by money, and employee behavior is linked to their attitudes. Accordingly, in order to improve the performance of the business, there is a need to understand how to manage and empower people or employees.

In today’s world, the employer should understand that managing people to succeed in today’s highly competitive global environment is important. Oftentimes, the employer finds it difficult to balance all of the responsibilities of operating the business and taking care of its employees. In order to develop effective management strategies, the employer should understand organizational behavior i.e. employees’ behavior is a consequence of their attitude towards their work and that their needs and wants could control their behavior. Thus, the employer should develop an approach to motivate employees to perform their best for the organization, as motivation can manipulate the performance or behavior of the individual. It can be said that motivating an individual in their work is one of the crucial functions of people management.

This research will introduce us to the many factors that affect employee motivation:

What employees expect from work (it’s more than just money)

How a manager’s vision and values inspire employees

Effective ways to reward your employees

The importance of creating a supportive workplace

The role open communication plays in maintaining motivation

How to deal with unmotivated employees




Research problem and objectives

1.1 Introduction

As a result of the powerful force of technology, which is driving the world towards a converging commonality, we have seen various changes in the world’s economic expansion. One of the changes that bring the most challenge not only to the international firm but also the domestic one is the emergence of a global market. In order to be successful in the long term, managing people is one of the most crucial tools for a global business in today’s competitive world. Specifically, for an international organization, human resource becomes a more and more important factor to reach its goal. The word ” Human Resource Management (HRM)” has been used widely and increasingly in recent decades as a vital approach to create a successful organization, however, the more worldwide the firm, the greater the complexity of the international HR requirement.

Hence, in order to maximize the benefit from the performance of the employees, the employer needs to understand that there are many factors that affect the employee’s behavior within the organization. One of the key factors that have an impact on the performance of an individual in the organization is their motivation.

Inspiring employee motivation requires much more than the old-fashioned carrot and stick approach. Today’s manager needs to understand the reasons why employees work and offer the rewards they hope to receive.

With such a rapid moving economy, a shortage of qualified workers, and plentiful business opportunities, the topic of motivating employees has become extremely important to the employer, as motivation has a great impact on the way employees perform in an organization. If employees do not enjoy their work, it will affect the success of the organization’s goals.

To be effective, the employer needs to understand what motivates employees within the context of the roles they perform. Different people are motivated by different factors because individuals differ in the level of their needs. Some employees may want more income but others may require a more interesting and challenging job. In today’s world, it seems that money has become less of a motivator. The employee’s request is more than just good wages. They now do require some benefit and flexibility to bring their work and personal life together. A good working relationship with colleagues, as well as the opportunity for growth is a must. It becomes the employer’s responsibility to involve employees in the business and let them know that the employer appreciates their ideas and suggestions.

Knowing what it takes to do what is right for employees can help a business succeed. Accordingly, motivating staff is part of an employer’s responsibility to attract and retain employees. The motivation process will help maximize the ability of human resource and develop sustainable management strategies for the organization seeking success and longevity

1.2 The definition of Motivation

Motivation refers to “the emotional forces, needs, wants, urges or drive within us that influence our behavior” (http://www.Jasper-Associates.com), or ” something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act” (the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary: http://www.m-w.com/netdict.htm).

Most of us have seen people who perform their jobs by doing as little as possible. They come to work late and leave early. They miss deadlines, and when they complete a task, they do only the minimum required. They can often be found spending some extra time in the break room complaining about their jobs. We also know people who give 110 percent to any project. They’re punctual and hardworking, and they approach new projects with a smile instead of a complaint. What makes these two types of workers so different? The answer is motivation.

As a manager, you want to develop and encourage good employee performance, and good performance comes from strong employee motivation. But managers can’t motivate employees. Motivation is an internal state, like emotions and attitudes that only the individual can control. Managers can, however, create a workplace environment that will inspire and support strong motivation on the part of employees. That is what researcher will explore in this research. Specifically, researcher will consider how managers can:

Create a workplace that helps employees satisfy psychological needs as well as the need for income.

Set clear goals for employee performance.

Encourage good performance through rewards and reinforcement.

Maintain open communication with all employees.

1.3 Motivation in Today’s Workplace

Motivation in today’s workplace is affected by a number of factors, including:

A decreasing emphasis on money.

For many years, conventional wisdom held that employees worked primarily for money and could be “motivated” through a combination of financial reward and fear. Within this perspective, employers might offer a financial reward as their only performance incentive, or they might try to generate fear by threatening to fire or demote employees if they did not perform at a certain level. Today, we realize that our reasons for performing well on the job are far more complex. Though we often define a good job as a good-paying job, many of us would also consider other issues, such as job satisfaction and time for a family life.

An increasing amount of work.

One of the primary challenges facing today’s worker is an increased workload. Workforces have been downsized. Technology has pushed us to a faster pace. The result is that employees must learn a variety of new tasks and use their minds and bodies at a faster rate than ever before. Though these changes may bring many benefits, the stress involved in any change can affect employee motivation.

An increasing need to work together in teams.

The amount of work isn’t the only aspect of the workplace that has recently changed-the way people work together has changed as well. Today’s workers are increasingly asked to work in teams, and this can have both positive and negative effects on motivation. If employees are able to build a strong team relationship, their shared sense of commitment can inspire motivation on the part of individual members. But if the team experiences a number of conflicts, or if individual members believe their efforts are ignored or undervalued, these poor dynamics could discourage motivation.

1.4 Why Do We Work?

Why do we work? What makes us struggle out of bed every morning, stumble through breakfast, and fight rush hour traffic, when it would be so much easier to spend the day in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn? Survival is part of the answer. We work to eat, buy clothes, pay our rent or mortgage. But survival is only one of the reasons we work. We work in order to meet many different needs, and the more needs our jobs can help us meet, the more our motivation to perform well is encouraged. Understanding why people work and what needs they hope to fill can help managers determine what they can do to appeal to those needs and inspire employee motivation.

1.5 What Are Our Needs?

Theory (1) Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy

Humans are complex creatures with a variety of needs. Some of our needs, like the need for air, water, food, and shelter, are basic and necessary for physical survival. Others, like the need for love and companionship, are psychological and emotional. One useful model for categorizing human needs was developed by Abraham Maslow. Maslow organized human needs into a hierarchy with the needs most basic to survival on the bottom. Maslow suggested that once those basic needs are filled, people can progress up the hierarchy to focus on emotional satisfaction and self-fulfillment.

Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy


Meeting Needs Through Income

Employees with steady incomes can meet physical needs for food and shelter and security needs for clean, safe neighborhoods. A good-sized income can help employees acquire items that help them meet status needs, such as a new car or a bigger house, and give employees the leisure time to pursue self-actualization through hobbies or other forms of self-expression. But income isn’t the only way the workplace can fill employee needs. The work environment itself can satisfy many employee needs.

Meeting Needs Through Work Environment

The following list includes just a few ways in which employee needs may be satisfied at work:

Physical needs- A workplace meets employees’ physical needs by providing comfortable work spaces with clean air and good lighting. Even the most positive attitude can be damaged by a dark, uncomfortable work environment.

Security needs- Employees who are worried about their physical safety can’t concentrate on work. Employers can meet employee security needs by taking precautions against violence, harassment, and physical danger. Employers can also meet employee security needs by protecting jobs through fair personnel and salary decisions and by providing extra incentives, such as on-site day care for employees’ children or lists of certified child-care providers.

Social needs- Though employers don’t pay workers to socialize, many social needs can be met at work through the opportunity to work on teams and participate in group activities. Strong team relationships encourage strong employee motivation.

Ego/Status- Work offers the possibility of promotion and the opportunity to progress through various ranks and salary levels. Employees are much more motivated to work when they don’t perceive themselves as holding “dead end” jobs.

Self-Actualization- At its best, work provides employees with interesting assignments that allow them to grow professionally and personally. As employees become self-actualized, they accept more responsibility for their performance and receive more control over their activities.

Theory (2) Herzberg Theory of Factors

In 1966, Herzberg interviewed a number of people in different professions at different levels to find out two things:

Those factors that motivated them in the workplace

These were identified as factors that gave employees an incentive to work resulting in job satisfaction. They are also referred to as ‘motivators’. These motivators increased the job satisfaction of the employee and further increased their efficiency.

Those factors that prevented job dissatisfaction

These were identified as factors that prevented job dissatisfaction. These did not make the employees happy (or have job satisfaction): it just removed the unhappiness out of working. They are also referred to as ‘hygiene’ factors. Such hygiene factors, if not satisfied, had an effect of reduced employee efficiency.

Herzberg believed that all factors fell into one of these categories and therefore had separate consequences. His research concluded that some factors fell into both categories although they held a stronger position in one of them.

Herzberg Theory of Factors

Figuer- 2

By looking at the diagram, it shows that a sense for achievement, recognition of their effort, the nature of the work itself, and the desire for responsibility are all strong factors for motivation. At the bottom of the diagram, the way the business is run, how they are supervised, the work conditions and their pay, are all factors that can lead to job dissatisfaction if not met to the

standards of the employee.

The size (or width) of the bars that represent each factor compensate for the level at which it is a concern. For example, from the diagram, the way the business is run is a higher dissatisfaction cause (if it is run badly) then the concern of bad working conditions. You may look at ‘pay’ and think that this bar should be a lot wider on the job dissatisfaction side, but most people would not take the job in the first place if they considered the pay as ‘totally unacceptable’. Take another example: the employee does not see the lack of personal responsibility as a major job dissatisfaction, but when people do seek responsibility, it is a huge motivational factor for them: hence the long extension of the bar more on the motivation side of the diagram. You will further notice that those factors encouraging motivation (job satisfaction) have little connection with money and are more associated with personal development and achievement. Hygiene factors concern more the employees personal attitudes towards the context of their job and involve money in most cases to provide a solution to the issue. You may also have noticed that two bars on the diagram (achievement and pay) are shaped differently. This is to illustrate that, for Achievement, it is something that is only acquired for a short term and is therefore an ongoing need that is searched for over and over again. In other words: one week you may achieve, say, a good personal sales figure, and the following week your standard drops to a disappointing level in which you seek to achieve this figure yet again. The Pay factor (salary) also has a similar concern: you may increase an employee’s salary that removes job dissatisfaction at first, but in time (can be as low as days) the employee will increase their personal spending to what they are earning and will eventually, again, become dissatisfied. In such a case, it may be for your benefit that you offer an additional incentive to keep the employee further satisfied to prevent this on-going cycle from occurring.

Leadership Role in Employees Motivation

Develop a vision to inspire your department or team.

Set strategic imperatives to help your team live out its vision.

Measure employee progress in meeting strategic imperatives.

Inspire ongoing employee motivation for Continuous Improvement

If the number one factor that inspires employee motivation is a manager with vision, your challenge as a manager is clear-convey to your employees a clear vision of what you hope your organization, division, department, or team will achieve. Then enable your employees to live out that vision by helping those set objectives, or strategic imperatives. When employees fully understand where their organization is headed and what their role is in meeting that goal, they are far more motivated than employees who are left in the dark.

2.1 What Is Your Vision?

Many organizations have a vision or mission statement that describes their ultimate goals. If your organization does, you might start there and determine what your department needs to do in order to live out its part of that vision. But whether your organization has a vision statement or not, you can certainly articulate a vision for your department and convey it to your team; in fact, you should ask for your employees’ input and invite them to brainstorm with you.

2.2 Creating and Setting Strategic Imperatives

Each of your employees should have individual strategic imperatives that will contribute to reaching your department’s overall vision. Get all of your workers involved in the process, not only in creating their own objectives, but in developing objectives for the department. Your department’s overall goal should already be evident or at least outlined by you. It never hurts to remind staff members of the goal(s) if you haven’t done so lately.

It’s hard for employees to remain inspired when they have no specific goals. Your organizational and departmental mission statements are good motivational starting points, but to maintain that motivation, you will need to set objectives, or strategic imperatives, for your department and your individual employees. Strategic imperatives are limited, specific goals that we can complete and measure.

People who willingly take on more work, are hard to come by-don’t lose them! Support their ongoing motivation by making their objectives expandable. Explain to employees that though there is a set list of strategic imperatives, if they see another item that needs to be included, by all means add it. Most importantly, reward them for their extra foresight and the extra work they do.

2.3 Don’t Forget the Positive

We have not to forget the positive Leader have to be able to generate more ideas when he base some of his objectives on areas that are already successful. Plus, it’s fulfilling for leader staff to be reminded of the things they have done well.

Employees will be much more motivated to meet their strategic imperatives if they know that their work will be recognized. That means that you leader need a way to measure their productivity and achievements.

2.4 Creating Job Measures

Job measures provide a way to quantify employees’ progress in meeting their strategic imperatives. Your job measures should relate to the type of strategic imperatives that you and an employee have agreed upon.

Here are a few variables leader might consider when measuring the job of his employee:

Timeliness-Consider the number of times deadlines are met and the reasons why deadlines are missed.

Accuracy-Consider the employee’s ability to perform without error.

Following procedures-Consider the employee’s ability to follow standard procedures, such as the routine filing of reports.

To help employees get the most from performance measurement, keep these guidelines in mind:

Encourage staff members to see measurement as a way to promote self-growth, not as a way for you to check up on them.

Communicate measurement results when it will help to do so.

Make sure that you are always measuring processes, and not assessing the value of people.

Measure processes related to your own position too.

For those workers who already have a strong level of motivation, Continuous Improvement can be an important part of your drive to help everyone succeed. Here are some guidelines to help you support employee motivation to maintain quality:

Emphasize that everyone is a link in the quality chain. If one link breaks, the chain breaks. Help employees recognize that quality rests not only on the shoulders of the entire group but also on the shoulders of each person.

Allow each worker to overrule everyone when she or he knows something is not top quality. Quality needs to be the ultimate authority.

Respect employees’ judgment and give them both accountability and authority. Authority without accountability is dangerous, but together they provide the ultimate support for responsibility and motivation.

Make results measurable and broadcast those results so that everyone can see progress.

Make quality part of the process even when it’s difficult. The test of a true quality organization is its ability to maintain high standards under pressure.


People who have difficulty maintaining their motivation over a long period of time might not be suited for an organization practicing Continuous Improvement. Total Quality Management isn’t a project that starts today and is finished tomorrow-it never ends.

Employees are inspired by values as well as vision. Practicing values, such as respect for others, honesty, and fairness, will not only inspire employees, but it will also encourage them to use the same values when dealing with coworkers and customers.

2.5 Inspiring Motivation Through Rewards

What gets rewarded gets done. The statement is true, but a bit too simple. Rewards can inspire employee motivation, but only if managers match the right reward to the right worker. A poorly planned reward system may do nothing to encourage employee motivation, or at worst, may actually discourage it.

To ensure that rewards work to support motivation instead of hinder it, managers need to understand the relationship between rewards and motivation as well as the features of an effective reward system.

There are many different types of rewards. In the workplace, rewards typically include money, promotions, job titles, attractive offices, praise from the boss or peers, bonuses, and perks such as a company car. If all rewards could inspire motivation in all employees, your job as a manager would be easy-simply offer any reward and watch motivation skyrocket. But rewards can be tricky. Sometimes they succeed in inspiring employee motivation, and sometimes they don’t.

2.6 Choose Rewards Carefully

As we saw in the previous example, there is no guarantee that the reward you offer will inspire motivation. However, there are some things you can do to make it more likely that your employees will react favorably to the rewards you offer. Generally, employees are more likely to react favorably to a reward if:

The employee values the reward and sees the reward as worth the effort it will take to earn it.

The employee understands how to earn the reward; the reward is clearly linked to specific behaviors.

The employee sees the reward as attainable; the performance level necessary is reachable.

The employee sees the reward system as fair.

A reward won’t inspire an employee if the employee doesn’t know how to earn it. As a manager, you must establish the performance level to be achieved in a specific way. Simply telling someone to “do better” isn’t good enough; a staff member must have a clearer goal.

Staff members can become bitter or resentful when they perceive a reward as impossible to achieve; eventually, they may begin to doubt their overall abilities.

Managers walk a fine line in determining the level of performance to be rewarded. On one hand, the goal must be high enough to present a challenge to the employee, or else the reward will be meaningless. On the other hand, the performance level cannot be so high that the employee sees it as unreasonable or impossible.

2.7 Establish a Fair Reward System

To inspire motivation in all your employees, your reward system must be equitable. If employee A gets a $500 bonus for reaching a sales quota and employee B gets $250 for reaching the same quota, this spells trouble (and in this case, possible charges of discrimination). Reward systems can become skewed because of the supervisor’s perception of various employees.

If there’s no consistency in your rewards, the whole system could fall apart.

2.8 Use Monetary Rewards and Recognition Effectively

Managers reward employees in hundreds, if not thousands, of ways. Two of the most basic types of rewards are:

Monetary rewards that offer a financial incentive for good performance.

Recognition rewards that show appreciation for good performance.

Rewarding with Money

People’s reactions to money vary so greatly that you shouldn’t rely on it as your sole support for employee motivation. Money does, however, have its place in the supportive work environment. When you do use money to inspire employee motivation, use it most effectively by keeping the following guidelines in mind:

Workers must see a correlation between good work and higher earnings. Anything else skews their sense of reality. Imagine paying the office slacker a higher salary than the top-performing manager. No one would know what to expect in such a convoluted system, and soon, no one would care.

Workers must see that compensation varies according to various levels of performance. Giving everyone a 5 percent raise and no other incentive will not encourage employee motivation. Many organizations employ a more complex system, providing cost-of-living increases, rewards for company-wide performance (a universal, equal reward), rewards for departmental performance (an equal reward for members of a particular group), and rewards for individual performance (a reward customized for an individual). This mix encourages a variety of positive behaviors related to both individual achievement and teamwork.

Workers ought to have a general idea of salary levels but not specific individual information. In days past, secrecy about others’ pay was paramount. This clandestine approach tempts individual workers to believe that everyone else makes much more money than they do. But if an employee knows that he or she is on “level 16” and that supervisors typically are on “level 18,” the employee can realistically estimate the difference in salary ranges.

Rewarding with Recognition

There are many types of rewards that do not involve money or other material incentives, such as a bigger office or a company car. Recognition rewards can inspire motivation by showing employees that their hard work is noticed and appreciated. Some common types of recognition rewards include:

Giving an employee more responsibility and decision making authority. You don’t need to give an employee a formal promotion to empower that person with more responsibility and authority. Many workers crave more control over their own work projects and would enjoy the chance to serve as a team facilitator or group leader. Identify those employees and give them the chance to grow-and be sure that they understand that with responsibility comes accountability.

Recognizing an employee publicly. Many employees enjoy having their achievements recognized publicly. The acknowledgment can be as simple as briefly mentioning the employee’s accomplishment during a staff meeting, Or your efforts can be more involved, such as giving the employee a plaque or taking the employee to lunch

Instituting a formal recognition program. Reward outstanding achievement by starting a formal reward program that recognizes outstanding achievement on a regular basis. Many organizations have Employee of the Month programs; you might consider starting something similar for your department or team.

Praising an employee informally. Don’t wait for a performance evaluation to tell your employees they’re doing a good job-look for good performance and praise it regularly.

2.9 Don’t Let Rewards Backfire

As you decide what rewards to offer your employees, keep in mind that some rewards can have negative as well as positive consequences. When you reward the achievement of some employees with bonuses, public recognition, a nice office, or a reserved parking space, you run the risk of alienating employees who believe that they, too, should be rewarded. Though there is no way to totally eliminate feelings of jealousy on the part of your employees, you can reduce that negative emotion by following these simple guidelines.

Be as fair as possible in your distribution of rewards. Be sure that those singled out for rewards fully deserve them. Most employees recognize a hard worker and will not resent that person being rewarded.

Monitor employee performance and recognize hard work on the part of all employees. Most employees will not resent the recognition of others if their work is recognized too. This does not mean that you must give every employee a sizable bonus on a regular basis, but it does mean that you should acknowledge their successes as often as possible.

Find some ways to recognize smaller accomplishments as well as larger ones. Not everyone will earn the Salesperson of the Year award. How can you recognize those who work consistently with good results?

Set reasonable performance standards for rewards, and regularly let all employees know how they can reach them. Employees who believe that their own work is appreciated and that they have a chance to meet performance standards will be much more likely to celebrate other employees’ accomplishments instead of resenting them.

Maintaining a Positive Work Environment

As a manager, you can help employees want to come to work and help support employee motivation by creating a work environment in which employees feel respected and empowered. Two techniques that can help you create this type of positive work environment include:

Emphasizing positive reinforcement.

Creating a friendly corporate culture.

3.1 Emphasizing positive reinforcement

There are three basic types of reinforcement:

Positive reinforcement

Negative reinforcement


These types of reinforcement have numerous applications to human behavior and are often used by managers in the workplace.

Managers give positive reinforcement when they reward positive employee behavior with a positive response. The positive response may take many forms, such as praise, public recognition, or a monetary reward.

Managers give negative reinforcement when they reward positive employee behavior by not carrying through on a negative response. This type of reinforcement is similar to a threat; the negative response may be fairly serious, such as a lost job or demotion, or relatively minor, such as a wrist slapping from the boss.

Managers use punishment when they meet negative behavior with a negative response. As with the other types of reinforcement, the punishment may take many forms, with varying degrees of severity.

3.2 Choose the Right Positive Reinforcement

Knowing which type of reward to offer to which employee is an important part of using positive reinforcement effectively. We’ve already seen that individual employees can react quite differently to praise, public recognition, and monetary rewards. The only way you can learn what type of positive reinforcement to offer your employees is to get to know them as individuals. Then you can reinforce from a position of strength rather than guessing wildly. Plus, getting t

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