Motivating Employees in the Workplace: Methods & Importance

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  • 0:00 Why is Motivation Important?
  • 0:26 Methods of Motivation
  • 3:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Motivation is a key task all managers must master. In this lesson, you'll learn about the primary methods of motivating employees and why it's important to do so. You'll be given an opportunity to reinforce your knowledge with a short quiz after the lesson.

Why Is Motivation Important?

Understanding motivation is important for both managers and employees. It's vitally important for managers to understand what motivates an employee because it's one of the most effective tools to increase employee productivity. Employees need to know what motivates them so they choose the types of positions that provide the best motivation for their particular needs.

Methods of Motivation

Theories of motivation abound across disciplines, but all of them can probably be reduced to two elemental methods of motivation. You can be motivated by intrinsic factors or by extrinsic factors. In reality, you are probably motivated by a blend of both, but we will describe each type independently for clarity.

Extrinsic Motivation

You are extrinsically motivated when you are influenced to act by a factor external to yourself. The classic external motivators are rewards and punishments. External factors are often out of your control.

For example, let's say you are an insurance salesperson. If you exceed your production goals, you will receive a bonus. On the other hand, if you fail to meet your minimum production goal by a significant amount, you may be fired. The possibility of a reward (the bonus) or a punishment (getting fired) are factors that influence your work behavior but come from outside of you. Moreover, the conditions for receiving an award or punishment are not in your control, but in the control of an outside force, your employer.

Intrinsic Motivation

You are intrinsically motivated when forces inside you rather than outside you influence your behavior. Intrinsic motivation can occur when you find a work task satisfying and are competent at performing the task. Management techniques used to facilitate intrinsic motivation includes such things as acknowledging employee perspectives, offering choices, encouraging initiative, and giving meaningful feedback.

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