Motivated employees can be the difference between success and failure to a business. Unfortunately, it is impossible to motivate an individual. It is possible to create conditions under which the individual can become self-motivated. This paper aims to explore different intrinsic motivators that may help people to buy in and take ownership of the organization’s needs as well as their own. “Intrinsic motivation involves people doing an activity because they find it interesting and derive spontaneous satisfaction from the activity itself” (Gagne, & Deci, 2005, p. 331-362).
Creating a Motivating Environment There are many reasons for managers to create a motivating environment some of which are increased productivity, improved employee morale, more loyal workforce, and better creativity. The employees are the most valuable asset of any organization in order for the company to run effectively. Motivated employees can be the difference between success and failure to a business. Different employees are motivated in different ways according to their needs. This paper shares thoughts about the intrinsic motivators’ recognition, empowerment, fun, goal setting, and feedback.
These are just a few of the ways in which management can create conditions to help employees become self-motivated. Good leaders will use different types of intrinsic motivation to challenge and reward their employees with greater corporate opportunities. Recognition Recognizing people is one of the most powerful motivators that leadership can do to get the most out of his employees. Thank an employee for going out of his way to take care of a customer, and he will do it again. Acknowledge a team member for taking the initiative of creative problem-solving, and he ill take on that initiative again. Focus on the behavior of the individuals, and they will repeat those behaviors. Employees want to feel as if they are part of something larger than themselves, something meaningful. They want their work to matter. “Eliciting superior performance from people requires building an awareness that they matter, they are contributing, they are making a difference” (Helgesen, 2006, p. 63-65). No two employees are the same, and different people with different personalities need different types of recognition.
Leadership should learn about their employees’ personal lives. Get to know every employee by walking around and talking to each person. Listen to the advice of employees and act on it. Even if it is a bad idea, it is better to have them come up with idea than not to give one. Employees believe they are valued and respected if leadership genuinely cares and listens to them. In return the employees will be more likely to follow the example and be respectful of everyone else. Doing these things will help give insight into how to “personalize” recognition and find what works for each individual.
With the right recognition, employees will show more concern about quality, they will be more willing to pitch in when things get difficult, morale will go up, absenteeism will go down, and leadership will get easier. An example of a CEO who genuinely cares about his employees is Herbert D. Kelleher from Southwest airlines. He believes that the employees come first, and he treats them as if they are the most important customer. Kelleher once said: “I feel that you have to be with your employees through all their difficulties that you have to be interested in them personally.
They may be disappointed in their country. Even their family might not be working out the way they wish it would. But I want them to know that Southwest will always be there for them” (Labich, & Hadjian, 1994, p. 44-52). This is the type of leadership that employees most want to work for. Leadership who interacts effectively with others, and believes in the employees. People must believe in their capabilities, and they can believe in themselves more if someone he or she respects is a fellow believer in the individual. Empowerment Empower your team members.
Employees need to understand clearly the organization’s values, policies, procedures, and their role in achieving the desired outcomes. Explain the company’s mission in a simple, straightforward way. Once they have been trained let them have the freedom to make decisions, or to get the job done without breathing down their neck. Leaders need to be approachable to guide the employee with any problems, or questions he may have and also be there to encourage and provide information. They should also be there to correct the employee but in a respectful way not demeaning, or in front of peers.
Empowering employees allows them to develop their own potential while benefitting the organization at the same time. Employees should be encouraged to take calculated risks, design creative ideas, and implement plans into action. “Empowerment gives employees the feeling of belonging, allowing them to feel pride in their work and take ownership of tasks that may otherwise be mundane” (Velury, 2005, p. 45). The creativity that the employees bring to the organization by empowering them can benefit the company as well as themselves. They will have a greater sense of purpose in their jobs and lives.
They will use their talents to help make the organization successful today and into the future. There are many ways to empower individuals. New Belgium Brewery provides financial training to their employees to help them understand the business of doing business. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh believes it is his responsibility to provide the opportunity for his employees to create his or her own purpose. One way he does this is by letting the employees create core values, its employee handbook, and the environment in which employees work (Jabez LeBret, 2012).
The ability to empower, or create an environment in which someone can feel empowered is a crucial skill in leadership. It is important to be surrounded with innovative and good thinkers. Employees must trust their leadership to allow them to succeed and fail. Employees need to feel valued at their company. Empowered employees feel a strong sense of inclusion resulting in a happier workforce that contributes more value to the organization. . Fun workplace Use fun activities to reduce stress in the workplace. Create a place where people can enjoy themselves.
Employees need to find some humor in the things that go on in the office every day. Laughter is an excellent stress reliever, has positive effects, and is infectious. Fun at work creates an environment for energetic, hardworking, outgoing, friendly, competent people. Fun also brings out the creativity side to them, which often times are effective in fostering positive attitudes and increased productivity. Even just imagining fun activities can help others accomplish goals and objectives. Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington is a company that believes in having fun at work.
They have what they call a FISH! philosophy that includes four principles: play, make their day, be there, and choose your attitude. In the article Rejuvenate your Practice by Mark A. Greenawald and Stephen P. Bogdewic they explain this philosophy as “Our fishmonger friends in Seattle contend that when these four elements are combined and lived daily, you and those around you not only will experience deeper meaning and more energy in your work, but will be more effective in what you do. We call this the “new CPR” (continuous process improvement)” (p. 55-63).
Implementing this philosophy allowed employees’ innovative and creative thinking to flourish resulting in visitors coming from around the world to see firsthand the famous crew of fishmongers throwing fish and having fun with customers. Having fun in the workplace must be done appropriately and should not be used to take the job less seriously. It also should not be offensive to any employee. It should be used to engage the employees in stronger employee commitment, lower employee turnover and absenteeism, and to build team spirit in the sense of you are all working toward a common goal.
Bringing fun to the workplace can mean purchasing a ping pong table and allowing employees to play at their lunchtime, or it can be a simple thing such as the boss leaving a note on your desk saying how much you are appreciated. Its little things like this that brings laughter and a sense of camaraderie to the workplace. Happy and laughing employees are good, productive, and loyal employees. Goal Setting and Feedback “Goal setting and feedback are considered the most robust and useful motivational concepts and practices in organizations” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2000, p. 30). “Goal setting is the process of motivating employees and clarifying their role perceptions by establishing performance objectives” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2000, p. 144). Organizational goals can be used as a tool giving employees’ direction and helping them achieve success. Goals are what constitute jobs, what needs to be achieved, and the level of achievement needed. “They need to be specific, relevant, and challenging” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2000, p. 182). Organization goals do not have to come from the supervisors.
Some individuals would rather set their own departmental goals and as long as they further the organization’s mission may have benefits. Participation in goal-setting and in decision-making makes the employee feel ownership in the organization and enables him or her to make better decisions on how to spend his or her time. It also means less time for ongoing supervision. “Feedback is information that lets us know whether we have achieved the goal or are properly directing our effort toward it” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2000, p. 46). Praise and acknowledgement for met goals by the supervisor is necessary. Managers need to provide examples of how the employee performed well. “Evaluations provide clear feedback about job performance, so employees know where they stand and are motivated to improve” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2000, p. 170). Feedback gives employees the opportunity to change behavior but if they do not know what they are doing well they cannot perform to their potential. It needs to be tailored to the individual and should be done in private.
Managers also need to encourage the employees to talk with leadership if an issue arises. Conclusion Creating a motivating environment using intrinsic techniques is important for high job satisfaction and can help an organization’s performance. This is important to get the best performance from employees. Intrinsic motivation is an internal process, driven by our intrinsic values and beliefs. There are many techniques used for intrinsic motivation and because no two people are the same managers need to tailor their strategies toward each individual.
If managers are not able to create a motivating environment using intrinsic rewards the employees eventually will burnout. As Aguayo puts it “tap the real source of improvement, your people, by keeping them alive, encouraging their growth and continual education, and nourishing intrinsic motivation” (Aguayo, 1990, p. 211)
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