Motivation in the Workplace
Generally speaking, motivation is what energizes, maintains, and controls behavior. As such, it is clear why it plays an important role in the workplace. But empirically measuring that role is another matter; it is challenging to capture an individual's drive in quantitative metrics in order to ascertain the degree to which higher motivation is responsible for higher productivity. However, it is widely accepted that motivated employees generate higher value and lead to more substantial levels of achievement. The management of motivation is therefore a critical element of success in any business; with an increase in productivity, an organization can achieve higher levels of output.
Research has shown that motivated employees will:
- Always look for a "better" way to complete a task
- Be more quality-oriented
- Work with higher productivity and efficiency
In summary, motivated employees will retain a high level of innovation while producing higher-quality work more efficiently. There is no downside—i.e., the opportunity cost of motivating employees is essentially zero, assuming it does not require additional capital to coach managers to act as effective motivators.
Salary is often enough to keep employees working for an organization, but it's not always necessarily enough to push them to fulfill their full potential. Herzberg's theory emphasizes that while salary is enough to avoid dissatisfaction, it is not necessarily enough to propel employees to increase their productivity and achievement. In fact, the output of employees whose motivation comes solely from salary and benefits tends to decline over time. To increase employees' efficiency and work quality, managers must turn to understanding and responding to individuals' internal and external motivations. External motives include work environment (e.g., cramped cubicle vs. airy, open office); internal motivations include thoughts and emotions (e.g., boredom with performing the same task over and over vs. excitement at being given a wide variety of project types).