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Employee Motivation

Employee Motivation

By Dave Gannaway

The focus and main areas of employee motivation are theory and practice. There is of course a place for theory and study, but observing the volume of it available within the many pages on the web, I have assumed there is quite enough speculation!

Many psychologists such as Maslow, Hertzberg, and Vroom have formulated theories both simple and complex, and yet all seem to be a variation of the same theme. It may be just my practical mind but they all seem to be making capital out of the obvious.

For me, I have my background in the business world; the only qualification that carries any weight is experience. When you have walked the walk and learnt the lessons from the shop-floor up, then you are in good shape to relate your findings to others.

Employee motivation is not something any employer or manager can do alone. One man cannot motivate another directly. One can crack whips, set targets or goals, and make demands, but none of these alone can motivate. It may drive people harder to produce a little more, but that is not motivation and it is seldom sustained.

All motivation is self motivation. Generating conditions and situations that engender employees to motivate themselves is how effective employee motivation works. Wise and successful employers know that.

It sounds corny but the old cliché “Treat others how you would like to be treated,” works every time. Employees are people just like the boss. When he forgets that and labels them with a number, he has lost touch! The most effective lesson any employer or manager can learn is to remember people’s names, talk with them, and be interested in knowing them as people just like you. Take note of this and you will understand more about motivating employees than by reading all the theories put together!

With that approach employees will look forward to you, the boss or manager, talking with them. They feel good that they are important enough that you remember their name. They begin to see you as a person too and begin to see themselves as an important part of the company. In this strategy, through rapport and harmony, motivation is generated naturally. Enthusiasm and the desire to go the extra mile work from both sides of the coin — passion in the work and an eagerness to please are just two of the natural spin-offs.

I don’t think any strategy such as this needs any physiological thesis to quantify it; just a little common sense will do nicely!

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