Understanding how to motivate to improve performance
Understand the factors that influence motivation levels in the workplace
- Define the term motivation
Motivation can be described as something that drives a person, it describes the reasons we act the way that we do. Motivation can be intrinsic and also extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from within an individual it is an internal desire to do well, it is being driven by your own self. Wanting a sense of achievement, or recognition for doing well drives a person to work hard and show enthusiasm. Extrinsic motivation on the other hand is when people are driven by external factors such as rewards in terms of money. Motivation is created by your internal desires and needs, incentives provided externally and also expectation by others. These all cause you to behave in a certain way. If an individual has an intrinsic need to do well and seeks achievement and promotion they will be motivated to work hard to achieve this. Another person may not really want to increase their responsibilities or develop their career intrinsically but may be motivated to work hard and do well to obtain their salary, or there may be an element of both. If salary was reduced this extrinsic factor would no longer be there and the same person may be less motivated and not work as hard or strive to achieve.
The Cambridge dictionary definition of motivation is described as the enthusiasm for doing something.
There are several states of motivation, ranging from being highly motivated to neutral plodding along, to being dissatisfied and not motivated.
- Describe the factors that may affect motivation levels in the workplace
Lots of factors in the workplace can affect motivation levels.
Relationships with colleagues and Team work
Good relationships at work may motivate people to want to come to work and to enjoy working with people that have a similar outlook and work ethic. Motivation is increased if everyone is pulling their weight and working together. If people are not working together and making others lives more difficult at work this would lead to people being less motivated, due to unhappiness, stress and a feeling that things were unfair. People will tend to want to work hard and do well to support colleagues if they have good relationships so as to not let them down and this creates a motivation or desire to perform well.
In the workplace if there are opportunities for career development then team members that wish to progress will be given the incentive to work hard and the drive to do well. The chance of promotion within a workplace for certain individuals is desirable and would therefore cause them to work to try and achieve this. Having development opportunities also creates a workplace that shows they are interested in the people working there and in turn could promote a good work ethic. Recognition for work done through development is a reward that people may strive to attain. Increase of self-esteem and confidence also increases motivation and productivity in the work place. If development opportunities don’t exist people may feel there is no reason or reward for working hard.
Communication that is honest and frequent between workers and managers can influence motivation. Constructive feedback helps to develop employees by helping them to improve but they should also be praised for things they have done well. Having good lines of communication helps people to understand what they are doing, which boosts confidence and decreases anxiety and stress. This in turn will drive people to work hard. If good communication is not in place people may be unsure of tasks and feel anxious and be less driven. Having the element of reward from praise via communication is also a motivating factor to employees. Where communication breaks down motivation can drop as people feel confusion and may lack trust if there is no transparency and openness.
Reward is an extrinsic driving force that will motivate many people in the workplace. Bonus schemes or pay increases can give people something to strive to attain and therefore increase their willingness to work hard to get these. This can be a short term reason for motivation as once the bonus has been achieved the drive of that individual may subside. Also if you work hard to achieve a bonus and fail to reach the target set to be awarded this could affect confidence and cause low self-esteem and therefore reduce motivation further.
- Explain how individual differences affect levels of motivation in the workplace
There are differences in individuals that can affect levels of motivation.
Age may affect how motivated an individual is in the workplace. For example someone that is young may be more ambitious to develop and progress their career so be motivated by a desire to learn and be promoted. They may also want the financial reward associated to enable them to set up home, get married and have a family. Someone who is close to retirement may be a lot less motivated as they may have no desire to develop and just want to plod until they leave the workplace. Or on the other hand someone young and immature may want to earn their salary and put in minimal effort at work as they may intrinsically not be driven by development and achievement.
Within a workplace different personalities can affect motivation. Clashes of personality may have a negative impact on individuals, causing conflict. Conflict in the workplace can reduce motivation as it can become difficult to enjoy work and hard to achieve goals as a team. Different personalities may also have different work ethics. If some individuals turn up late and don’t pull their weight in a team then this can cause others to feel they are having to cover and work harder due to this and this can reduce satisfaction and motivation.
Individuals may have different circumstances at home that can affect theirs and other people’s motivation. If for example someone is the main earner in the household they could be more motivated to achieve and strive to develop their careers. They may need to do well at work to provide for their family. Someone with children at home and who is a secondary earner may not feel financial reward or development in their career is that important so may not be as motivated to perform at work. If someone takes time off frequently to take care of children this may impact other team members as they will have an increased workload. An example in my own life is that when I had a younger daughter I was less driven at work as it was a part time job and I did not want any development or growth in my career. As my daughter grew up I became more motivated and wanted to work harder to progress my own career and my personal achievements at work became a lot more important to me.
- Explain the potential impact on organisational performance if employee motivation levels are low
If employee motivation levels are low this can have a very negative impact on organisation performance. A lack of good communication occurs when employees are not motivated. This leads to lack of understanding of tasks and job roles and inability to adapt to changes as they cannot be communicated or carried out properly. If employees are not very motivated then this impacts on everyone else. If some team members perform at a low level and are unreliable then it falls on other people having to work harder. This inequality will in turn reduce those employees motivation as they could feel put upon and could face stress and being overworked. Employees may lose motivation due to stresses at home or illness and this can impact on the rest of the team workload creating resentment in the team. Resentment can lead to conflict which will reduce motivation even further. In the workplace low motivation in a handful of employees can have a ripple effect impacting on others and reducing their drive and desire to come to work and work hard. High levels of sickness, poor work ethics, low motivation and poor communication can have a negative impact on everyone. Once motivation levels drop in the workplace targets may not be met and work not completed. Employees may become unreliable. If people are not motivated in a reception team it may be that one doesn’t come in to work, one is late and not pulling their weight. The remaining employees are then over worked and feel resentful, this leads to stress and further sickness, or can lead to errors being made which in the surgery could lead to risks to patient safety. If motivation is low productivity is low. An unmotivated nurse may find herself not putting as much detail into writing up a patient record if she is already running behind in a clinic and wants to finish work on time. This could stop attainments being made in certain areas for the surgery and be a risk to patient management. Poor attainment of targets could lead to less chance of bonuses for staff and reduce morale even further within a team. Things could get so bad there may be an increase in staff turnover. Having to train new staff means more work for existing staff and a less familiar team while new staff learn procedures and ways of working. New staff can bring new conflicts and personality clashes and this has a chance of decreasing motivation further within the workplace.
Keeping staff motivated by providing a positive work environment is only half of the picture but it does help in increasing productivity and performance of the organisation as a whole.
Understand how a theory of motivation can be used to improve performance levels
- Describe a recognised theory of motivation
One recognised theory of motivation is the Herzberg theory. Fredrick Herzberg was a psychologist that considered which facts motivated people. He asked people to tell him which situations made them feel good and bad about their jobs. He concluded that people were either dissatisfied or not dissatisfied and this was caused by different factors in the workplace. His theory is known as the motivator-hygiene theory, or two-factor theory of job satisfaction. This theory states that people are influenced by two sets of factors, hygiene factors and motivators.
Hygiene factors should be the givens, they are the factors that if not present would cause dissatisfaction. These are extrinsic factors and include:
- Salary – basic salary that is acceptable
- Organisation and structure to the workplace – a team plan with roles and job outlines, without this work can be confusing and frustrating
- Good working relationships – without conflict and with good communication
- Having the tools and equipment to work
- Having a clear role and job description
- Policies and protocols being in place – also these need to be communicated well
- Job security so employees feel safe
- Adequate supervision and feedback – showing support and leadership
- Adequate working conditions / workplace
Motivators are the intrinsic drive factors and if these are present motivation will
increase. These factors are needed to motivate employees to increase performance.
- Recognition and reward – for work done
- Promotion opportunities – for advancement within the company
- Training and development – allowing people to develop their roles and skills
- Job interest
This theory is a two-step process. First you should eliminate dissatisfaction by ensuring the hygiene factors are in place. Once this is done and the employees are not dissatisfied you can increase satisfaction by providing the motivators. These factors will increase motivation and job satisfaction. This can be shown by the theory diagram below:
If an employee has the hygiene factors in place for example an acceptable salary to allow them to pay their bills, structure in the workplace and the correct tools to do a job in an environment with good relationships between colleagues, you will not be dissatisfied. More than this is needed to drive you to perform well, these motivating factors such as a chance to develop in your career would drive an employee to work harder in the hope of recognition and promotion. This is how Herzberg theory works.
- Describe ways in which knowledge of a theory of motivation can be used to improve performance in the workplace
Knowledge of Herzberg theory is useful in the workplace. Recognising the need for hygiene factors is the first point. This can be achieved by ensuring there is a structural organisation to the workforce and that there are clear roles and job descriptions in place so that this is very clear. Without these in place staff may feel they do not know what they should be doing or who they should go to if other roles are not explained. This can lead to feeling unsupported and anxious.
Ensuring that contracts are in place with salary and terms and conditions of employment is another important factor. This provides employees with security in their job. Without this in place there may be concerns over pay and other employee rights such as holidays and sick pay and this can again lead to worry and dissatisfaction.
The workplace needs to have equipment maintained. For example in the surgery this may mean purchase of all necessary equipment and having this maintained by annual calibration and testing. Without the correct maintained equipment employees may not be able to carry out all aspects of their job correctly and safely and this would lead to dissatisfaction.
Policies and procedures need to be in place regulating how the organisation is going to be ran. Without these employees have no guide to what they should be doing and nothing to refer to which can lead to conflict if people have different ideas and can lead to anxiety and mistakes being made.
Staff need supervision and leadership, this can be to give feedback and appraise but also to support staff.
Ensuring that these factors are in place will not lead to motivation. But this forms a base for adding in these motivating factors.
Knowing this theory an organisation can create motivational factors to increase satisfaction and productivity in the workplace. This could be done by:
- Providing opportunities for development – providing training to staff is a way of increasing their skills and providing them with their own development. This in turn produces satisfaction. Staff being given time to train and opportunities to develop within the organisation can be very rewarding and does increase motivation. Having appraisals where future training is discussed and employees are asked about whether they would like these opportunities shows support. Organising training that is beneficial to the employee and giving them the time out to complete this is a very good way of increasing motivation. If you have an appraisal with a member of the reception team and they are interested in becoming a phlebotomist helping them to develop by providing this course and time to complete it benefits both the individual and the team. It will boost the confidence of the employee and show that they have your support and motivate them to work hard.
- Recognition is another key factor in motivating. If the team do well rewarding everyone will boost team morale. For example if the team achieve a target, sharing this with them and having a reward of a team lunch or a small bonus or even just thanking them and recognising their hard work gives a sense of achievement to employees and a feeling of being appreciated. This will also motivate staff to want to achieve again in future.
- Responsibility and involvement – Giving employees responsibilities can be rewarding and give them a sense of ownership over an area of work. This can boost confidence of staff. Involving staff in decision making and problem solving, listening to their ideas and recognising them. Using employee ideas and not being dismissive is another way of using motivators to increase performance. Employees feel valued if given responsibility and also if they are listened to. Being involved in discussions makes everyone feel part of the team and helps build relationships and reduce conflict, which both increase job satisfaction and motivation.
In my current workplace we do have some outdated policies and job descriptions which need updating to reflect current extra duties and tasks that staff have taken on over recent months. There are some salaries that are also below average that need to be reconsidered to ensure that employees are paid fairly and don’t feel undervalued. Once these last couple of hygiene factors are rectified I would like to work on some motivators. We are currently about to start our annual appraisals. I would like to find out who would like development opportunities and see if these can be accommodated. I also intend to increase staff meetings to ensure everyone is involved in changes and decision making and to let them know their opinions are valued. I am also keen to give some rewards for special suggestions and ideas to try and motivate staff to have input and reward positive thinking and creativity in the workplace.
- Explain how to use employee engagement to increase motivation levels
Employee engagement is very important in the workplace to both increase staff morale and increase motivation.
Listening to your staff is important. They need to be able to approach their manager or supervisor if for example they need help, or if they have noticed something in the workplace that isn’t right. As employees have different roles there may only be a handful or one member of your team involved in certain tasks. If there are errors occurring or improvements that could be made, engaging staff is a great way to pick up on this. Team meetings are a chance to have discussions about a variety of topics and issues this could range from involving the staff in future planning or involving them in current changes. Staff input and ideas can be invaluable to the workplace but allowing staff to have this input shows they are important and valued. This can motivate staff. Asking staff for feedback and having an open and honest blame free environment in the work place creates trust. High levels of trust and openness have a positive impact on motivation and satisfaction in the workplace.
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Positive relationships are important. A manager with an open door policy allows staff to feel they can approach them and give input or discuss their issues or problems. Supporting staff is very important as a manager to allow them to express ideas and also raise grievances or issues. Unsupported staff may feel that they cannot approach management which could mean that they cannot ask for confirmation or help with tasks. This could lead to anxiety, lack of confidence and errors being made. Without being able to approach managers they may not be able to raise concerns and this could cause conflict which again would reduce motivation. Good working relationship’s create a positive working environment and motivates employees. Employees may also be engaged through feedback of achievements and rewarding and recognising high levels of performance. Achievements should be communicated and shared with all employees allowing them to feel like part of the team and showing that they are appreciated.
In the GP Surgery where I am currently manager I do try and engage employees. I have an open door policy and they do feel they can come to me and ask for help. This helps them to understand what they should be doing which gives them confidence and reassurance and they are more motivated because of it. If they couldn’t come to me they may not be doing things correctly and this could reduce confidence. I try to encourage their input at meetings and ask for suggestions for improvements. I discuss changes in practice with them at an early stage to make them feel involved and valued. I have organised team activities, we have ran 5k for charity and this did involve staff in fundraising, organisation and then taking part and it was a good exercise to engage all staff and build relationships in the team.
- Thornfields training manual – Managing People with Confidence
- Cambridge Dictionary
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