Staff Motivation



No organisation or company can produce good results unless the staff are competent and efficient. However, these two criteria are nothing if the staff themselves are not motivated. In saying motivation, we mean a state of mind in which an individual is regularly able and encouraged to perform their tasks. It is not always easy to know what to do to incite and maintain this motivation. This is where our question arises. What factors into staff motivation? We can group them into two categories. 


Motivation in the workplace can take many forms. What works to motivate one individual might be ineffective for another. Understanding a wide range of motivation types can help employees find ways to stay motivated at work and aid managers who are seeking new methods to help their teams excel. Two categories are commonly used to describe motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic refers to motivation that comes from within yourself rather than from an outside source, whereas extrinsic comes from an exterior source. 

  • Satisfying employees’ material needs as a factor for motivation

There are several types of material needs that individuals seek to fulfil through their employment. The first, and most recognised of these is money. Effectively, money is the main element that attracts people to a post: it’s a way of getting food, securing housing, taking care of yourself, etc. But it is not the only physical factor that companies can use to motivate employees.


The working environment is another motivating factor. Some will put in more effort at work if the workplace is comfortable, safe, a well laid out and well managed space (high quality facilities). Looking beyond this, material needs are not the only ones that employees have to look after. But there are needs outside of strictly material ones that employees need to have met. There are more, they are just not obviously visible. Extrinsic benefits, on the other hand, must be handled with caution. As a boss, you need to know just how far you’re willing to go in order to encourage your staff to achieve organisational objectives.

  • Satisfying intangible needs as another factor

In other organizations, lots of employees are more motivated by the satisfaction of intrinsic needs, rather than money or comfort. These intrinsic needs come in several forms: 


  • Needs of personal development: some will be more motivated during tasks where they can learn and develop skills, rather than in tasks that bring bonuses, but don’t provide a learning opportunity.
  • Emotional needs: for some people, money isn’t the priority, instead it’s their symbolic worth within the company. What they require to give the best of themselves is to be valued (appreciated by colleagues, admiration from subordinates, notes of congratulation from the higher-ups, getting awards for their work, etc.) and to be encouraged (positive feedback, promotion to a higher position…)
  • The need to be independent and influential: there are employees who are more motivated when you delegate tasks to them which allow them to make decisions, lead a team, give orders by themselves;
  • The need for accomplishment: this is the case of employees whose work is their calling, who carry out projects that they always want to perform to the best of their ability. 



Certainly, individuals have several interests and motivations that they seek to fulfil in their profession. But each one has a principal motivation, which is a higher priority than the rest. Consequently, it is up to the manager to know which is the primary motivating factor of each member of their team. They must also know that needs can change for employees over time (today’s needs may not necessarily be the same in the future). Therefore, from time to time the manager must think about the needs of their coworkers, so that their satisfaction can make the company more productive. 


Arthur Bodi


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