So, what exactly is “motivation”?
Motivation is a psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction. Or it is an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need. We can also describe motivation as the primal force that drives employees to excel or to do better. Most of the theories of motivation are based on the concept of workplace or employee motivation.
The traditional ‘stick and carrots’ theory of Sigmond Freud assumed people to be generally lazy and not wanting to work. In order to get them to work, they must be rewarded, coerced or punished. But it is not money alone that motivates people, their behavior is linked to their attitudes and different factors prevalent at work
It has also been proved that the person starts from satisfying his basic physiological needs first and moves up to satisfying his higher need such as esteem and self actualization. But it is quite obvious that people may or may not follow this hierarchy in terms of satisfaction of their needs. People are different and so are their requirements. Not all humans are driven by same set of needs though they may be at the same economic or social level
In our careers, everyone is motivated by something—it could be money for some, or it could be position and power for others. Some people are happy with a pay rise while others look at accompaniments such as good atmosphere, relaxed attitude, flexible timing etc.
Human resource people use a combination of many such rewards or incentives to keep their employees happy. Depending upon the level of the employee, the incentive schemes are put in place. Almost all organizations have such schemes in place. No organization can afford to have unmotivated employees – loss of motivation is dangerous for employers as it directly affects the productivity and quality of work. It is important for HR personnel to understand what will work for which type of person. Though it is impossible to satisfy each and every individual, companies should employ incentive schemes for groups depending upon the type of work they are doing. Going for a scheme that covers all employees is not a good idea as the playing rules are different for each department and the goals and objectives are separate. We cannot really compare the work of a software engineer and a shop floor workman. Putting them under the same umbrella is bound to create problems.
Keeping employees happy and motivated is one of the key challenges of Human resource people. Actually, sometimes it is more important for an employee to be recognized for his good work rather than be awarded. Little gestures of recognition and understanding can ago a long way in producing self motivated employees. Different techniques such as offering monetary rewards for achieving high productivity and quality, awarding certificates for exemplary work, providing a fun filled picnics or get together on achieving the given targets are used to keep motivation at higher levels.
Self motivated employees are generally seen at the top ranks of an organization. These employees are already heavily compensated for their efforts and are recognized persons in their fields, thus the ordinary forms of motivation do not work for them. At their levels, they are self motivated and work for the love of the work and not for any rewards and recognition. Similarly, freelancers and business owners are supposedly self motivated as they work for themselves setting their own goals and targets and try to better their own performance again and again.
But whether it is self motivated freelancers or HR induced motivated employees of an organization, it is obvious that no one can work without a bit of motivation to take them one step further.