What Does Motivation Mean?

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Motivation is that “fire in the belly” driving force that makes people do what it takes to get what they want. It is a psychological process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Motivation is the desire or need that compels people to act. A motivated workforce is vital to a business's success.

How Motivation Affects Businesses

Successful business owners learn what motivates their employees. Extrinsic motivation includes rewards such as money, social recognition, praise and award trophies. Sales awards are one of the most common extrinsic rewards. The sales team drives the revenue and growth of organizations. Extrinsic rewards also stimulate the competitive nature of sales professionals.

Intrinsic motivation comes from within. It is not dependent on external rewards or benefits. Individuals with this motivation do an activity for its own sake. Their reward is personal gratification and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Benefits of a Motivated Workforce

Motivation is a critical element in the employee experience. It is the collective energy that propels your team into action, and action into results. A vibrant, collaborative, motivated culture within your organization is a win-win strategy for success. Motivated workers go beyond job requirements because they want to.

Motivating your employees has a multitude of benefits. You can reduce absenteeism, increase employee retention and promote teamwork with effective motivation. Happy, motivated people give your business a competitive edge in the market.

Motivation is Inconsistent

Motivation can sometimes be elusive or nonexistent in otherwise motivated individuals. People may not bring their A game to work every day. Dynamic top performers might sometimes struggle to get back on track. True motivation must come from within, regardless of external rewards. Find the right balance of motivation to engage the hearts and minds of your staff every day.

Employee Motivation Workshops for Business Owners

A motivated workforce keeps the wheels of every business turning. Cultivate a bias toward motivation. Hold weekly interactive meetings with the entire staff. Ask for suggestions on how to improve the workplace. Be open-minded and have an open door policy.

Develop your people skills with an employee motivation workshop. Workshops fine-tune leadership, goal-setting and influencing skills. Learn about popular motivational models and use what you learn to customize a motivational program for your organization.

Different People, Different Motivations

Different people respond to different motivations. Provide your employees with both tangible and intangible motivations. Consider their generations and individual personalities.

For example, millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1997, make up the bulk of the U.S. workforce. Strengthening social connections is a strategic priority for organizations with a millennial workforce. They thrive on interaction with others and prefer working in teams. Motivate them with social events, day care programs and a fitness-oriented culture.

Ideas to Motivate Employees

Job advancement is an underlying motivation for most employees in any organization. “Getting ahead” has remained an ingrained ambition in our society for decades. With advancement comes prestige, more benefits and more money. However, monetary rewards alone are not motivating. Nurture your employees’ passion for excellence by offering learning resources and professional development. Give directors budgets to manage. Offer mid- to high-level managers speaking engagements at conferences and trade shows. Encourage your top performers to be entrepreneurial. Give them opportunities to shine.

Highlight the importance of creativity. Encourage employees to contribute their unique perspectives to ideas and strategic plans. Foster leadership skills across the board from entry-level employees to top-level management. Encourage employees to innovate in their jobs and share knowledge with others in the organization. Establish employee recognition programs that high achievers who enjoy the spotlight find especially appealing.

Incentives in your employee-motivation toolbox could include catered lunches at the office or a midday yoga break. Telecommuting, flexible hours and social activities such as pub nights are popular. Even in-office employee birthday celebrations are valuable motivations. Pet lovers appreciate being able to take their best friends to work. Invite creative suggestions from your employees. Listen to the feedback and make changes as necessary.

References

About the Author

Based in Ontario, Susan Dorling has written professionally since 2000, with hundreds of articles published in a variety of popular online venues including the Houston Chronicle, SF Gate and Work.chron on a diverse range of business topics. Self-employed for more than 35 years, she enjoys writing about entrepreneurship and small business.