Motivation Techniques - Ways To Boost Employee Morale

motivation techniques

Motivation techniques are varied and dependent on the type of organization and the prevailing circumstances.

For example, what motivates a factory worker is different from what motivates an office employee. And what motivates the general manager of a business is different from what will motivate a middle level manager of a business.

What's the difference?

It is the social status of the people or the employees involved.

The hierarchy of human needs theory developed by Abraham Maslow explains this phenomenon in terms of the 'need level' of the different categories of employees.

The theory identifies the following hierarchy of needs.

  • Survival needs - these are basic needs: the need for food, clothing, and shelter
  • Security needs - the need for storage, banking, insurance (attempts to consolidate what the individual already possesses)
  • Status needs - the need to belong to a social class
  • Esteem needs - the need for recognition, achievement, responsibility
  • Self actualization - The desire to be what you want to be

    An individual, an employee, or a group of employees will be motivated depending on the level they are in the hierarchy.

    Consequently, the motivation techniques that would achieve the desired result will be dependent on the cadre of employees that the organization seeks to motivate.

    Below are some motivation techniques that have been applied with some level of success.

    The Motivation Techniques

    The first and most popular technique of motivation is the incentive based or target based technique.

    This involves paying employees a pre-determined amount of money when they exceed a particular target.

    For example, production staff may be given a target of say 400 tons per week. The incentive plan may be such that each employee receives say $100 if they exceed the plan by 10%, another $100 when they exceed by 20% and so on.

    The personal gain from exceeding the target usually spurs employees to do more . . . with an eye on the goal of enriching themselves when they do.

    This technique works well for employees who do jobs that have targets that are measurable and that directly impact on the company's profitability. This includes production or operations jobs and sales jobs where the quantity of items produced or sold have a direct impact on the level of profit the company makes. Hence, a part of this profit can be conveniently passed on to employees.

    Another motivation technique that works well for all cadre of employees is recognition of accomplishments at work through an award scheme.

    The employee award scheme usually celebrates exceptional performance in the workplace by publicly recognizing the good work of colleagues through a formal ceremony and award of gifts that make the occasion memorable for life.

    The award categories usually include:

  • Award for excellence
  • Award for heroism
  • Award for personal achievement
  • Award for teamwork
  • Award for safety
  • Award for productivity

    . . . and much more depending on the organization.

    The awards ceremony is held once or twice a year and is big deal. The friends and family of the awardees are usually invited. And the ceremony often impresses upon employees how important they are to the organization.

    Other motivation techniques may not be as elaborate. For example, getting employees involved in day-to-day decision making gives them a feeling of belonging . . . a sense of recognition that makes them passionate about coming to work.

    Another case to consider is one that has to do with non management staff.

    For example, a company found that absenteeism level among factory workers was high about the third week of the month . . . the week before salary was paid to staff. Investigations revealed that many factory workers were out of cash close to the end of the month and this affected their morale at work.

    The solution?

    The company decided to split their pay into two halves. The first part of the salary was paid on the 13th of the month and the second was paid on the 26th of the same month. This simple split helped employees manage their income better and ensured they had something to spend for the second half of the month.

    This was a simple but effective strategy. It cost the company nothing to implement but had a huge impact on productivity.

    So, whatever the motivation technique you choose to use, start by studying your people and their unique work environment. Then develop a morale booting technique that will work for your organization and your peculiar circumstances.

    Remember the hierarchy of human needs discussed above. And match the technique to choose to the level of employees in that hierarchy. That way, your efforts will be rewarded with results that will amaze you.

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