Let us start off defining what is employee motivation. Employee motivation is typically understood as the act of employees performing at their highest levels with a sense of motivation towards their job. Motivation in itself, as defined in wikipedia “is a term ¬†that refers to a process that elicits, controls, and sustains certain behaviors.” Hence in order to reach proper motivation, we need to reach a process that allows a consistent behavior of willingness to perform jobs with high levels of commitment.
Now what really allows getting there? According to wikipedia, “At lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, such as physiological needs, money is a motivator, however it tends to have a motivating effect on staff that lasts only for a short period (in accordance with Herzberg’s two-factor model of motivation). At higher levels of the hierarchy, praise, respect, recognition, empowerment and a sense of belonging are far more powerful motivators than money, as both Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation”. So in essence several factors play a role in motivating employees, and not only a single factor.
We will attempt through a series of articles to tackle the different potential motivational tools, and discuss the best ways to implement them for attaining the best outcome.
In this article in particular, we will tackle employee motivation from the perspective of praise and recognition. In fact, praise and recognition are at times considered top motivators for employees. In a study conducted by The Gallup Organization, with an analysis conducted over 10,000 business units and 30 industries, employees receiving praise and recognition had increased productivity, more engagement among colleagues, have higher loyalty and satisfaction results from customers, so in essence more motivated employees.
There are of course ways to properly give away praise and recognition to reach the right motivation levels. Following are key approaches to get to this purpose:
In order for employees to feel motivated, they need to explicitly know what is required from them in order to accomplish it. Avoid vagueness at work objectives. You also want to make sure you do not get employees who complain about accomplishing and feeling neglected at your recognition events. Employees have a tendency to always feel they should be the ones recognized; so make sure to make it clear what is the basis for praise and recognition, and why it was selected as such. Do provide regular feedback to employees to put them on the right track.
Do not delay praise and recognition. The sooner you acknowledge an employee’s accomplishment, the more strengthened the link will show between his/her accomplishment, and will lead to higher motivation levels.
When you are appraising an employee, do not criticize him as well. Make sure the employee enjoys this moment, he/she deserves it. At the end of the day he/she did something amazing worthy of praise and recognition. Avoid criticism, and if you need to do that do it at a later timing.
It needs to be heartfelt and you truly realize the importance of the accomplishment. If it’s not, then probably it’s not worth recognition. Now if the employee has done something amazing, and you don’t feel that, you need to do a checkup yourself!
As there are different ways of showing praise and recognition, the formal public way would be the best approach. Not to undermine the informal way, which should be a day-to-day habit for managers, but formal appreciation has the higher effect. It definitely doesn’t have to be a monetary value (we will discuss monetary motivation in following posts). Mentioning the employee name in public is an important praise and recognition method.. Having employee of the month sessions, a company meeting to praise and recognize employee accomplishments surely have a great impact on employee motivation.
In short, what this article aimed at describing is that employee motivation is something that can be accomplished through praise and recognition, and that feeling valued at the organization would have a great impact on high levels of employee motivation, as well as the best approaches to reach that.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Another approach you can check here is the¬†Impact of Compensation on Employee Performance