Employee motivation is a complicated issue. Managers are sometimes faced with motivation issues that cannot be resolved by financial means. For example, a manager may realize that a clerical assistant is going to see an increased workload for a short period of time. Keeping this person motivated is important, but the manager may not have the budgetary means to provide the employee with financial motivators. In this case, it is important to remember that studies show that non-financial incentives weigh heavily into employee job satisfaction (Dessler, 2008).
There are two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is derived from the work be performed. Employees that feel a sense of accomplishment or achievement because of the job they do are said to be intrinsically motivated (George & Jones, 2008). Susan Heathfield (n.d.) points out that employees can be intrinsically motivated if they understand the importance of their role on the performance of the group or company. In the case of the clerical assistant, if he understands that successful completion of the extra workload will result in the company meeting a specific, the work becomes its own motivation.
Extrinsically motivated behavior is influenced by factors outside the work itself. These are the motivators that employees are most familiar with such as compensation and benefits. Managers that use extrinsic motivators try to influence employee behavior by promising a positive or negative consequence depending on the outcome of the employee’s performance (George & Jones, 2008). A simple non-financial form of extrinsic motivation that any manager can employee is recognition and praise. A study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found that two-thirds of respondents felt it was important that others appreciated their work (Dessler, 2008). Recognition and praise does not have to be elaborate and public, but it should be frequent.
Dessler, G. (2008). Human resource management (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
George, J. M., & Jones G. R. (2008). Understanding and managing organizational behavior (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Heathfield, S. M. (n.d.). You can make their day: Ten tips for the leader about employee motivation. Retrieved February 9, 2009.