Employees can make or break an organization, even though top management may be at the helm. Considering the vital impact each employee has on an organization’s success, it is of paramount importance for managers to research and analyze the drives, characteristics, needs, personalities and individual contributions of their employees. While each employee may have unique motivation and skills, basic needs are identical, as depicted by the hierarchy of needs theory. This theory suggests that levels of need determine motivation.

Basic Need

The external motivator factors include the basic needs as charted by Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. As a manager, you can approach these basic requirements by offering a job that helps the employee to afford food, clothing and shelter in a safe, risk-free, secure job. This allows the employee the opportunity to fulfill his basic needs and provide amenities and facilities to satisfy other hierarchical needs. Workers will then be psychologically and physically motivated to work for organizational goals after meeting these basic needs.

Work Environment

To motivate your employees, you can offer jobs that match their individual profile, giving them work that is challenging and offering opportunities for improvement. This motivational tactic helps to keep employees happily engaged and energized. Employees are positively motivated when they feel that they are using their potential to contribute effectively to organizational goals. When you provide an environment that is conducive for employees to enjoy a sense of achievement and obtain peer recognition for a job well done, they often willingly accept more responsibilities.


Inner drives motivate individuals to be in their present position. Maslow targeted the inner or intrinsic motivations that at a particular stage supersede the extrinsic factors. Managers must understand these intrinsic factors if they want to recruit and retain the best employees. Managers, therefore, will do well to follow clear-cut policies of undiscriminating fair play and integrity when dealing with all employees. They can motivate their employees by literally “keeping the door open” and having constructive and positive two-way communications. This strategy leads to an amicable atmosphere that is free from employee-relations issues and results in high productivity and profits.


Sometimes employees may face financial difficulties or may be suffering from social concerns such as gambling, alcoholism and drug abuse. You can motivate your employee in this situation by referring her to an employee assistant program. EAPs provide resources to employees who are experiencing personal difficulties that may affect work activities. Although EAPs are associated to the organization in that they assist all employees who need and require it, they are external programs. Assistance obtained from these programs is confidential, and employees need not concern themselves that their employer would be privy to their private affairs. Once the employee obtains help for his personal affairs, he can return his attention to working more industriously.