Ways to motivate the workforce :
A recent college graduate wants to join a multinational company.
A young person, who recently entered the market and has a decent experience in industry, is looking for a better job.
What is the first thing that the people in above cases will consider while making the decision to apply for a firm. Simple, how much is the pay.
Money is the most basic thing that an organisation provides to its workers in return for their services. Bigger the firm, greater the pay scale. Also, in general, more money is related to a better lifestyle and who does not wants to live a lavish life. Most people do. Therefore money is an important motivating factor, especially for the new workforce, though it can still be effective for the old employees.
Not only the initial salary, but also the the rise in that salary is a motivating factor. Rise is always associated with growth. If a person thinks that they are developing or growing in a certain positive way, they will be motivated to pursue that path. The pay rise gives them this illusion. It could be a direct regular increment in the salary or it could be in terms of bonus or gifts such as vehicles, house etc.
This is quite true for a short term but in a long run, money alone cannot act as a motivator. If other motivational factors are not present money will only help to counter the frustration caused by the workload and with time the quality of output will decrease.
Suppose you are playing a game of cricket and it is your turn to bat. You are a good player by the general standards and have a decent experience in playing. You have your own style of playing. Now, you are partnered up with a player who is constantly advising you to play particular shots even though they do not suit your style and you can’t change your playstyle mid-game. You will be frustrated every time he opens his mouth. Now consider that he is forcing you to do this, cause if you don’t he will send you out of the team. Unacceptable, right?
Similar situation may occur in working places where the partner will be none other than your own boss or project manager heading the team. If the leader has entrusted the staff with a particular work then certain level of autonomy should be provided to them. Restrictions, especially the unnecessary ones, no matter how trivial, will act as psychological inhibitors and will affect their motivation of achieving the desired goal even though they are otherwise capable of doing so. They should not feel intimidated or like they are being held captive, but their general attitude must be like nobody’s controlling them. This will give them enough creative and mental freedom so as to utilize their knowledge and experience to the absolute maximum. They will have a personal attachment to the project, a responsibility towards the goal and will give it their best because they think it is a representation of their personal and professional self. Thus, it will lead to self motivation.
But again, hierarchical restrictions should be maintained in certain ways. An army would not be able to achieve anything if the soldiers are not listening to the commander. The leader is obviously above them, but they are also free to voice their opinion, no matter how ridiculous it may be. Remember, there is a difference between a feeling of autonomy and the amount of autonomy actually provided.
Consider a person named Mr. X . He graduated from a college last year. Couple of months back, a certain firm released job listings for various positions. He applied for one, was interviewed and finally got selected. He was really excited to begin working there, as early as possible, because the pay was quite high. So much that even after two years of working in the industry he might not be able to reach that level. But at last, when he finally began working there, he was not sure that he will be able to continue his job. Why? It was because the city in which his office was situated, would reach record temperatures during summers. To make the situation worse, there were frequent power outages along with consistently non working supply of water. The office was unhygienic as it was not cleaned everyday. The dust on the furniture was visible. Outside of the office building was littered with the waste material thrown by the locals and passerbys, which affected the freshness of the air. Inside of the office was not properly lit and ventilated. Also to make the situation worse, the city was considered one of the most polluted in the country. Just after some time, he started developing health problems.
Would you be willing to work in such an environment? Can a worker, in such condition, be expected to remain motivated?
The most logical and rational answer will be a no. It is extremely necessary to maintain a proper level of hygiene in the office environment. The working place should be properly cleaned, well ventilated and should have a sufficient open and well lit space. There should be proper availability of food and water and if required, subsidised canteens can be opened within the office. Nice and clean toilets should be there. The company can even take the initiative to provide proper medical checkups and facilities to the employees. These small efforts might go a long way in building the coherence between the staff and employer and help them keep motivated.
Nowadays there are many architects and startups who will plan the office space in accordance with the fact that it might make working there comfortable, in the best way possible. From the color of the paint to the positioning of the computers, everything is used and placed in such a way that it keeps the worker psychologically at ease, thus increasing the motivation and efficiency.
The way an institution functions can also affect the motivation level of the workers. The work culture has a far greater effect than most things. A rigid work culture might become too harsh draining the staff of the energy and treating them as machines whereas a fully flexible one will provide ambiguity in the results. Therefore it is required to maintain a balance between the two approaches.
Goal setting and proper project planning are also required. If a task is too big, it might lead to frustration as the results are not instantly visible, thus leading to a decreased motivational level in the team. To counter this, the task should be divided into smaller achievable goals which can be carried out more effectively. This approach makes the progress visible thus maintaining the high of the staff. The work assigned to each individual should also be clear in his/her mind. If they don’t know what is required of them, the final output will have to bear the consequences, thus affecting the performance of the company. Along with this, there should be proper brainstorming sessions and pre scheduled updates. These activities will lead to dynamic teamwork and better improvising the creativity, thus proving as a effective strategy in ever changing market. Planned updates will help them understand if they are going wrong somewhere in their approach and therefore, will be able to correct it immediately.
There should be enough scheduled amount of breaks in between so that the employees might not overexert themselves. Excessive workload should not be assigned to a particular worker and division of the labour should be proper otherwise it will lead to a team of fatigued individual who just want to complete their office time and go to their houses for rest.
Transparency within the hierarchical order can also determine the how motivated a team will be. If the workers think that their seniors are hiding certain things about the project from them, there could be trust issues which can have a lasting negative impact. Also, no particular individual within a team should be favoured and everyone must be treated with the same level of respect. Otherwise it may lead to a feeling of being superior and inferior among the workforce, which in turn will be reflected in their teamwork. This will decrease the motivation and excitement for work.
Acknowledging the extraordinary efforts that a certain team member has put in the project can have a great impact on the mental institution and motivational level of that employee. It will also help boosting the morale of the other workers who will work hard to achieve that same level of respect. It could be in terms of verbal recognition of efforts or a written email to the employee. But the acknowledgement should not be vague, it must be specific about what that individual had done and how it is reflected in the results, thus providing a proper guidance to the team on how they should be doing things.