Ross-Hooper

Did you miss the first two articles of this series? Don’t worry! You can find them here:

We have examined the older, more traditional theories and approaches to motivation, and the newer, more modern approaches to motivating employees in the workplace. In the last of this series on employee motivation we will explore ways to actively motivate employees that have been proven to work – because, well, they get employees to work.

Important Factors to Encourage Motivation

These are some of the contextual factors in the workplace that many employees find motivating.

Employee motivation in essence describes an employee’s intrinsic enthusiasm about work and their drive to accomplish work. As mentioned in previous posts in this series every employee is motivated about something in his or her life. Motivating employees about work is the combination of fulfilling the employee’s needs and expectations from work, and workplace factors that enable employee motivation – or not. These variables make motivating employees quite challenging. Information about motivating employees (people who work) is readily available (its literally everywhere), but it’s hard to apply and implement the ideas in many workplaces. Too many workplaces still act as if the employee should simply be grateful to have a job. Managers are sometimes on power trips, and employee policies and procedures are often formulated based on the assumption that managers can’t trust employees to do the right thing.

Communication is often not transparent and there are usually secret messages or hidden agendas; hence motivating employees in this work environment is quite tough, if not impossible.

Fortunately, most work environments are not this extreme. They each have their own set of problems, but managers appreciate and recognise that motivating employees will bring positive results for the organisation. These ten tips about motivating employees provide a basic understanding of employee motivation, and they also target key areas for success in motivating employees.

Ten Tips for Motivating Employees

Below are some tips about employee motivation and creating a work environment for motivating employees. This is the bottom line for motivating  employees.

  • One can’t motivate another person, one can only provide an environment at work that is conducive to and supportive of employees choosing to become motivated about issues related to work. One’s actions in the workplace either encourage motivated behaviour or they discourage employee motivation. In some workplaces, company policies and management behaviour actually stifle and squelch motivation. Actions and activities in the workplace that provide an environment supportive of motivating employees don’t have to be expensive. They don’t need to involve company financed events or company sponsored parties, gifts, or monetary awards. Activities and recognition that cost money are welcomed by employees as part of the motivation mix, but their impact on motivating employees is short term and will not over-ride the consequences of how people feel treated everyday in the workplace.
  • Much of the workplace environment that encourages employee motivation involves management time and commitment: genuine interest and caring, employee-oriented policies and procedures, and attention from both senior managers and line managers are all appreciated and valued by most people.
  • Clear direction plays a major role in motivating employees. When research is conducted about what supervisory behaviour makes a manager a ‘bad boss’, the lack of clear direction ranks first consistently. Employees want to know exactly what leaders and managers expect from them. When they have the reassurance of clear direction, motivating employees becomes easier because employers and employees have created a framework for their expected performance.
  • Motivation is prevalent in workplaces where people are treated as valued human beings. Trust, respect, civil conversation, and listening prevail in a workplace that fosters employee motivation.
  • Employee motivation is a constant challenge, as what motivates one employee is possibly not motivating for another. Research indicates that while treating employees nicely is a factor in motivation and happy employees are also a factor in employee motivation, more is needed for a successful organisation. After all, a workplace of happy employees is great, but it doesn’t guarantee quality products delivered on time, delighted customers, or profitability – all essential to providing those happy employees with jobs. Factors such as demanding goals, success measurements, and critical feedback ensure the organisation’s success.
  • Actively solicit information from the employees and from your coworkers about what motivates them. Employees know what they find motivating and they can tell employers if they ask. Following through on the information given is key as employees test employers constantly to see if their word is good. If asked, people expect to see something changed as a result of their response.If it doesn’t change, and employers don’t tell them why, they risk wasting all of their efforts in motivating employees. Responding to employee needs and complaints is key to ensuring employees are motivated.
  • Lastly motivation at work is a choice employees make. No matter how hard managers try or how supportive company policies are, there is a bottom line for motivating employees. Employees choose to exhibit motivated behaviour at work, and ultimately are in charge of motivating themselves.

Motivation through ROWE

A Results-Only Work Environment (or ROWE) is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. In a ROWE, people focus on results and only results – increasing the organisation’s performance and effectiveness while creating the right climate and culture for people to manage all the demands in their lives – including work.

With ROWE:
  • Teamwork, morale and engagement soar, which leads to fewer workers feeling overworked, stressed out or guilty.
  • People are where they need to be, when they need to be – there is no need for schedules.
  • There is diminished judgment on how people spend their time, so people at all levels stop wasting the company’s time and money.

ROWE recognises that life is an individual experience and that no two lives are identical — and leverages this to achieve better performance from each individual. ROWE is not Flexitime, telecommuting, job‐sharing, or allowing employees to work from home a couple of days per week. In a Results-Only system, employees and volunteers can do whatever they want whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. Employees are more motivated by the autonomy and personal accountability which results in healthier, more productive employees who see their work as part of a more holistic life.
ROWE for Business

Successfully adopting a Results‐Only Work Environment will position the company to attract and retain talent that will show up energised, disciplined, flexible and focused, and essentially ready to deliver all results necessary to drive the business. A ROWE workforce is more efficient, productive and loyal to the organisation while also feeling satisfied, fulfilled, and in control of their personal and professional lives. A Results-Only Work Environment is all about productivity (usually), but more importantly, the workforce will respond to the business as if it were their own, and can diminish time-wasting monitoring of employees by superiors – who need to do their own job.

ROWE business results:
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Talent retention and attraction
  • Optimization of space and resources
  • Elimination of wasteful processes

Concluding remarks

One could infer that regular and continual motivating of employees can be beneficial to all levels of system within an organisation; and can lead to less time-wastage and a more productive and innovative workplace. However, one must remain cognisant of the manner in which motivational techniques are presented, utilised and implemented; and moreover should remain abreast of the latest trends and methods of best motivating employees to be engaged, happy and productive. Notably since healthy, motivated and engaged employees boost performance and essentially bolster organisational effectiveness.

Did you miss the first two articles of this series? Don’t worry! You can find them here:

References:

  • Adams, J. S. (1965). Inequity in social exchange. In L. Berkowitz (ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology. New York: Academic Press.
  • Bedeian, A. G. (1993). Management (3rd ed.). New York: Dryden Press.
  • Bowen, B. E., & Radhakrishna, R. B. (1991). Job satisfaction of agricultural education faculty: A constant phenomena. Journal of Agricultural Education, 32 (2). 16-22.
  • Buford, J. A., Jr., Bedeian, A. G., & Lindner, J. R. (1995). Management in Extension (3rd ed.). Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Extension.
  • Buford, J. A., Jr. (1990). Extension management in the information age. Journal of Extension, 28 (1).
  • Buford, J. A., Jr. (1993). Be your own boss. Journal of Extension, 31 (1).
  • Chesney, C. E. (1992). Work force 2000: is Extension agriculture ready? Journal of Extension, 30 (2).
  • Conlin, M. (2010) Smashing the Clock. Bloomberg Business Week. October, 2010. [Accessed 19thDecember: http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-12-10/smashing-the-clock ]
  • Harpaz, I. (1990). The importance of work goals: an international perspective. Journal of International Business Studies, 21. 75-93.
  • Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. (1959). The motivation to work. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Higgins, J. M. (1994). The management challenge (2nd ed.). New York: Macmillan.
  • Huffington Post. (2013) Is ROWE The Future Of Work? Or An Unworkable Fantasy? [Accessed 19 December 2013: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/rowe-future-work_n_3084426.html]
  • Kovach, K. A. (1987). What motivates employees? Workers and supervisors give different answers.Business Horizons, 30. 58-65.
  • Kreitner, R. (1995). Management (6th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, July 1943. 370-396.
  • Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Rivergate Books
  • Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and Human Behavior. New York: Free Press.
  • Smith, G. P. (1994). Motivation. In W. Tracey (ed.), Human resources management and development handbook (2nd ed.).
  • Smith, K. L. (1990). The future of leaders in Extension. Journal of Extension, 28 (1).
  • Terpstra, D. E. (1979). Theories of motivation: borrowing the best. Personnel Journal, 58. 376.
  • Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley