Four Common Employee Motivation Techniques

by: Nichole Gunn October 26, 2010

Jan Kantor, columnist and business consultant, recently wrote for the Naples News. His topic was motivation: what it is, why it’s necessary, and how to instill it in employees.

Motivation, according to Kantor, is an internal drive, initiated by want or need. It propels the individual forward, to reach a goal or accomplish a particular task. He went on to explain that, there are four common motivators used in the workplace: money, fear, goal setting, and morale.

1. Money is the most obvious and widely used form of motivation; everyone needs it and usually wants to make more of it, even when basic needs are met. But, Kantor states that other factors come into play aside from money, such as comfort, enjoyment, and long-range plans. Depending on the individual situation, an employee may settle for less money in order to fulfill the other mentioned factors.

2. Fear if a powerful motivator, but it has the potential to backfire. Fear on any level, or situation, can easily lead to frustration, rebellion, mistrust, and hatred, among other affects. This motivational strategy was more common in earlier business days, and is disappearing in today’s savvy and politically correct business world.

3. Goat setting is yet another motivator. If an employee knows what the end goal is, and is prepared to accomplish, he is usually motivated to fulfill the objective. It’s important for managers to: (1) establish goals, (2) set realistic goals, (3) provide the employee with the skills necessary to accomplish the task.

4. Morale is another important element in motivation. Kantor notes, “High morale may not ensure high productivity in your employees, but it is usually a prerequisite for it. With high morale there is less turnover, lower rates of absenteeism and greater receptivity to management.”

Utilizing these motivational strategies, along with employee recognition programs, employee incentive programs, and engaging employees will lead to a motivated and productive staff. A report in Entrepreneur magazine examined the affect of managers asking employees for help, establishing focused and single mission objectives for teams, and recognizing employees’ efforts: the results showed implementing these strategies provides “the most success with engagement”.