The Basics of Workplace Motivation

So what is motivation? It is a set of energetic forces that help to determine the direction, intensity and persistence of an employee’s effort. Performance is a huge part of motivation.

Different people are motivated differently. There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is resulted when an external force stems the motivation. Some obvious extrinsic types of motivation include pay, bonuses, awards, and praise for good work. Intrinsic types of motivations, the ones coming from the employee itself include enjoyment, sense of satisfaction and learning. Intrinsic motivation is more powerful and long lasting.

Why is motivation important in the workplace?

Motivation has a strong positive effect of job performance. Employees feel higher levels of equity in the workplace and are more likely to show commitment to the organization they work in. Many organizations are switching from the typical cubicle offices to more open spaced offices. World’s most successful companies like Google and Facebook have collaborative environments were employees are encouraged to work in teams and share their ideas. A former Facebook executive Don Faul said:


“You get zero credit for your title… It’s all about the quality

of the work, the power of your conviction, and the ability

to influence people.”[1]


Having a title at work is not so necessary anymore. You might be the manager, but are you producing quality work? If all employees, including the “managers” are treated equally, more creative freedom would be encouraged and overall motivation would increase.

How can YOU motivate your employees?

  1. Goal Setting

One of the motivation theories includes setting goals. One way Microsoft encourages goal commitment is establishing SMART goals

Specific goals

Measurable goals

Achievable goals

Results-based goals

Time-sensitive goals

Managers play an important role in goal setting. They should always support and encourage goal achievement, providing the necessary resources to employees and also feedback on performance.

  1. Leadership and Trust

Managers should show to their employees that they could be trusted. True leaders are able to guide their employees to achieve their best interest. Telling your employees to do unrealistic tasks and being harsh would only demotivate them. Being more open-minded and offering employees to express their opinions regarding certain things can be highly beneficial to the organization. There are the three main criteria used by people to evaluate their trustworthiness:

            Competence: what skills does that person have?

Character: does that person have the same values as you?

Benevolence: does that person have your best interest at heart?

  1. Stability

People generally like consistency, therefore as a manager it is important to provide stability to your employees. Safety and security motivate people to stay in an organization and keep growing. Companies need to be prepared for any economic downturns that may occur in order to avoid lay-offs.

  1. Career Advancement

Employees should be given the opportunity to speak up and show their creativity. They should have the freedom to express themselves and show what they have to offer for the company. Those who perform well should be rewarded. If some employees are rewarded and promoted, it will motivate other employees to work hard as well to achieve those benefits.

  1. Happiness

The most important thing to achieve in a workplace is happiness. If everyone is happy and looks forward to come to work, then motivation will occur naturally. Having a good employee dynamic in the office space can bring a lot of benefits in terms of overall performance and organizational commitment.




[1] Gillett, Rachel. “8 Reasons Why Working at Facebook Is Better than Working at Google.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 2015. Web. 06 Mar. 2016.


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