The Motivation Of Employees Business Essay

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Every person is a motivated person but sometimes the motivation needs to activated by the managers of the organisation. This brings in the role of being motivated at different levels in different ways by the superiors of the organisation. The challenge at work is to create an environment in which people are motivated about work priorities. Too often, organizations fail to pay attention to the employee relations, communication, recognition, and involvement issues that are most important to people. The first step in creating a motivating work environment is to stop taking actions that are guaranteed to demotivate people. Identify and take the actions that will motivate people. It's a balancing act. Employers walk a fine line between meeting the needs of the organization and its customers and meeting the needs of its internal staff.

The motivation of employees can suffer in the recession, when the organisations don't communicate troubles and new initiative honestly and openly; the employees feel separate from the organisation and their motivation can disappear quickly.

Motivation is a very sensitive component of the employee's behaviour, where they have to understand the situation of the company, forecast of the future and other important information for the personal decision of the employees. The level of motivation is very reliable to the information received to clear the knowledge of their personal future in the organisation. The worst damage to the motivation is about lies of the management about the real situation of the organization. The employees are smart and they are able to find the real information as the employees can connect the numbers from different parts of the organization pretty quickly. [1] 

Motivation defined

Many contemporary authors have also defined the concept of motivation. Motivation has been defined as: the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction (Kreitner, 1995); a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific, unmet needs (Buford, Bedeian, & Lindner, 1995); an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need (Higgins, 1994); and the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993). For this paper, motivation is operationally defined as the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organizational goals. [2] 

Motivational Theories

Need Theory

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs theory helps understand that there are basis needs of an individual.

The theory can be summarized as thus:

Human beings have wants and desires which influence their behaviour; only unsatisfied needs can influence behavior, satisfied needs cannot.

Since needs are many, they are arranged in order of importance, from the basic to the complex.

The person advances to the next level of needs only after the lower level need is at least minimally satisfied.

The further the progress up the hierarchy, the more individuality, humanness and psychological health a person will show.

Herzberg's two factor theory

To understand employee attitudes and motivation, Frederick Herzberg performed a study to determine which factors that employee's work environment cause satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

According to Herzberg, man is not content with the satisfaction of lower-order needs at work, for example, those associated with minimum salary levels or safe and pleasant working conditions. Rather, he looks for the gratification of higher-level psychological needs having to do with achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, and the nature of the work itself.

Hygiene Factors are needed to unsure that the employees are not dissatisfied. These factors to are not the high level of motivation but helps is avoiding dissatisfaction in an employee.

Motivation Factors help a leader or management to motivate the employees into higher performance. These factors results from internal generators of the employee.

Typical Hygiene Factors

Working conditions

Quality of supervision






Company policies and administration

Interpersonal relations

Typical Motivation Factors


Recognition for achievement

Responsibility for task

Interesting job

Advancement to higher level task.


Keeping mind the Herzberg's theory of motivation this research will help put light on how the recession has seen the shift either to Hygiene factors or to Motivation factors and if the shift is only because of the fear of lay offs or because of the change in the attitude of the managerially level.

The application of motivational theories in the organisations…

Employee motivation can be one of the biggest headaches of any organisation especially during recession when the management wants that there is no affect on the progress of the organisation even if the man power has reduced to half or less than half due to the number of people made redundant. Understanding the motivational concept for every employee is difficult because of the unpredictable nature of human beings. There's no telling what a person will do when presented with a given situation. Sure, we can pretend that psychology has made a lot of discoveries about human behaviour, but the truth remains that not every "truth" that psychologists conclude from their experiments is applicable to everyone.

An organisation can not magically motivate all the employees, this is the work of the leaders or a manager to do so. There are so many employee that join the organisation from different backgrounds, beliefs, satisfaction etc. Organizations cannot motivate all their employees; instead, they can create a work environment where individual motivation flourishes which is so very important during this economic slow down when their team members are made redundant or other fellow colleagues are asked to leave. The employees remaining usually seem to be in the fear of being the next in lane which distracts them; the fear of the organisation to go out of business; not being able to find another job those are just a few of the fears that have affected the employees and their level of motivation.

In the day to day activities of an organisation we come across all the different theories put into action in some events or decision making. The managers need to understand that there are different members and human natures in any given team. People have different ways of turning on and turning off in a job and this has to be seen and the right theory to be implemented.

Any individual can produce different results, depending on the degree of motivation he has when performing a task, project or activity. Employee motivation is usually at a high level when the organizations, the individual objectives and values are aligned.

Motivation changes depend on the individual's personal life and career phase, and there is a new dimension of that affect the motivation level is the tension of the economic slow down. Understanding the dynamics of how individual motivation works can make the difference between a successful leader and one that is not in an organisation.

Motivation is one of the keys towards improvement in performance, individuals either have to be motivated by the managers or have a self ability to do so for them. During the economic slowdown the managers are tested in which way they can keep the members motivated during this stressful period of both the manager and the members of the department. The manager can not motivate everyone but can help in ensuring that there is

• Positive Reinforcement

• Effective discipline and punishment

• Treating people fairly

• Setting up goals

• Satisfying employees needs (this can also mean that the manager talks to the team mates which helps reduce stress levels and increases a bit of security.)

Rewards during this economic slow down is

Interaction - Employee motivation programs should promote the interaction between employees and the boss.


The questionnaire were sent out to 20 participants, out of which 5 were missed placed and the others thought it was a spam mail as the questionnaire was sent to there personal address. Telephone conversations were made to the participant after the reply was not received. By conversing with the participants helped me in getting in-depth answers to the questions of the questionnaire as they would not only answer to the point but would answer a little extra. The Public Relations Manager helped me in knowing not only her view but also what her team was going through.

Questionnaire and brief Interview Analysis

The analysis of the questionnaire and the brief interviews that I had made me understand that motivational levels of the employees a year an half into the economic slowdown is that during the beginning of the slow down the stress level of being made redundant at any time was greater than the concentration on the objectives or the role of their job. There after once the respective people were laid off, the stress shifted from being made redundant to the increase workload on an individual due to the reduction in the members of a team. "The more stressed people get, the less proactive they become," said Mark Murphy, chairman of Leadership IQ. [3] The work load has increased and the members to do the work have decreased. The motivation of an individual employee has also reduces due to the imbalance that has occurred between work and personal life.

The economic melt down has made both the organisation and the manager understand that the manpower employed prior to the slowdown was higher than required but have also lost on some of their genuinely hardworking employees due to the method of redundancy that was under taken either it was last in first out or it was first in first out.

When asked the manager about the motivation in her public relations team and how she is trying to keep them motivated during this crunch. Below are some of the points, according to her there were positive and negative points that she noticed

There was seen a decrease in the productivity of the team members due to the fear of being made redundant at any time of the day, week or month

Increase in the number of questions asked to her by the members of the team after some news that they heard

Surfing the internet usually job sites and business news

Distracted by phone calls and emails from inter department and personal calls about any new news of lay off or from the Human Resource department regarding any information

Started to worry if their respective work would get over sooner than expected

Sitting back longer hours after the working hours

The lunch breaks became shorter and less intervals were taken between working hours.

The questionnaire was distributed to two departments Information Technology and Marketing in Royal Bank of Scotland. It was seen that there was a different take on recession and motivation in each department.

Marketing Department

The marketing department was seen to be on the front support of the business and there was a great risk of a lot of people to lose their jobs sooner than others. The survey reviled that there was a drastic change in the attitude towards work and the environment.

Since the marketing department headed some of the other departments like Sales, Investment banking etc the recession's hassle was seen in the department, the tensed managers, meetings more often which increased the stress level and the members of the department started worrying which in turn affected their productivity.

Even thought the members of the department tired to give their 100% the work environment had a greater affect on their work. The distraction and the air of tension made working all the more difficult especially for the weak links who get affected/distracted sooner than others, which results in coming under the radar of the management.

Seeing their managers go in for meeting more often and the reduction in communication with their team members, there was a shift in being self motivated to seeking feedback more often. It is sensed that if the manager or team leader gets tensed the whole team loses the will to strive in such an environment.

Information Technology

The support front of the bank was not hit by the recession and the lay offs, only that engineers from software companies from India were send back on time.

The affect of lays off was just on the work as the user ids had to be deleted, the system slowdown is still there, more issues due to many user have a lot of technical questions before they leave, clearance forms to clear, system clean up.

The working environment of the IT department has some sense of tension but not as much as the other because like the other departments the work has increased and so does the need for extra manpower but they can't be hired.

The manager of the service desk team became more supportive and gave feedback on the work, the situation and the clearing any doubts.

There was a slight change in the motivational factors that were ranked for before economic slow down and for after.

For new joiners the relaxed and supportive environment has become like a more challenge for them to strive and learn faster than before so that they are not in the list of people to be made redundant. Work for them has taken the upper hand compare to the others in the team that still maintain a balance between personal life and work life.

Many organisations face the tough task after they have downsized or restructured the task of keeping the survivors motivated and maintain profitability. Usually the attention of the management goes on the people who are leaving rather than the employees that are left behind. According to SHL survey the survivors go through a range of emotions given below [4] 


They say that although the management usually feel that the employees that have been left behind will be relieved, even though their roles have changed. Moreover, if the redeployment has been a competitive process and the employee has had to go through an assessment for the role, then remaining in employment can be quite empowering. 


However that's everyone's wish to stay and avoid the difficult job market or those who remain will be automatically be motivated to perform. They are a lot of reasons to consider so that the ones that are left are not overlooked. Even they have a number of concerns like limited career advancement opportunities, a perceived increased in workload, requirement for new skills/ new work environment and ultimately the fear of future job cuts.

A common misconception is that employee motivation comes solely from offering financial reward.  Recent research by Grass Roots* showed that performance improved by 14.6% when a cash reward was offered, compared with an increase of 38.6% when a non-cash incentive was used.

With budgets being squeezed, the challenge remains; finding a cost effective way of motivating key staff to ensure they remain with the organisation and fulfil their potential.

One other threat to employee motivation could be a shift in focus to self- preservation rather than team performance. What once was a finely tuned machine may break down as the individual parts become more concerned with whether they can meet their own goals, while failing to recognize that the team's performance may be their greatest hope for individual survival.


After analyzing the research of the work environment, motivation and recession the organisation can implement some of the points below.

Walk the Talk:

The manager's mood and behaviour during this difficult time has an adverse affect on the team members.

Having you heads down when coming out of a meeting or having a tensed face and not communicating with the team for a long while, uncertainty will increase stress level and affect the motivation within them.


First understand and then seek to be understood. Find out what is going on, if necessary.

False reassurance does more harm than good. If you can't speak for the whole organisation, then reassure your immediate team. Otherwise, the gossip grapevine will take control.

More work, Less motivation

The employees that have survived the recession's redundancy have a lot of work on the desk but less people. It becomes really important for the manager to continuously give constructive feedback and encourage the remaining team members.

Constructive Feedback

Constant and constructive feedback to the members of the department, to build their confidence, motivation and conformability which is required after surviving the recession cut down.


To conclude the project it is necessary to understand that the employees motivation may lag for a time, some incidental benefits to employers may include less tardiness and improved work habits as employees position themselves to survive further potential staff reductions. Managers must learn to assess how they respond to good and bad economic times. Too many companies over-hire in good times and quickly look to downsizing as a temporary fix to slowing demand for their services. It has long been acknowledged that employees are a company's most valuable assets, but many are slow to recognize the full impact of these tough decisions on the motivation of surviving employees. A carefully thought out plan can go a long way in preventing the potential nightmare associated with cutting expenses while attempting to maintain productivity.

Critical Review of the Research Project

Once the research was done it was felt by me that the questions in the questionnaire could have been more in-depth and the seriousness of the research could have been interpreted through the questionnaire. The sources of secondary data could have been also collected from more journals and reference books available in the college library so that different aspects of motivation could be taken under consideration.

The individuals were also concerned about the confidentiality of the questionnaire answers and that is why they didn't give the questionnaire the importance that it required. Only when individual calls were made to ensure the secrecy was to be kept by me, they filled the questionnaire. When asked by me what they considered answering the questionnaire themselves or over the phone, they said it was easier of over the phone as they would at least be able to take time out from their busy routine.

The interview of the IT manager should have even taken so that so of the part of the research would be clear due to the different aspects of the motivation with recession was seen in the research the different views of the 2 managers would have helped in determining the results of the project.

The above considerations will be done while doing the next research projects so that the project can be a successful one.