Motivation is the psychological process that gets employees going, keeps them going, and determines the direction and strength of the effort they apply. It’s what causes them to stop and apply our energies elsewhere.
Substantially, employees are motivated by the jobs they do and the context of these jobs. If there's motivation, performance is possible. Motivation and performance lead to business outcomes like turnover and profit.
TimelessTime consultants have trained thousands of managers in how to motivate their staff.
And each has managed the motivation and performance of hundreds of subordinates.
Fundamentally, managers sense the presence of motivation by assessing the performance of a worker.
But performance is not easy to measure. Performance is assessed by managers daily and more formally in performance appraisal and development review.
Many staff select in to a career. A lawyer wants to be a lawyer, a nurse wants to be a nurse.
In this case, their internal or implicit motives are in line with job activities. It’s therefore easier for a manager to motivate them. For others who take a job because they need the money, management must instil a sense of meaning through good job design and training.
Ultimately management must create a feeling of job satisfaction in all staff. Job satisfaction comes from task performance and feeds back to reinforce feelings of meaningfulness.
Meaningfulness reinforces motivation. To kick the process off, motivation requires management attention and effort.
Performance must be measured against job descriptions; and goals and expectations must be quantified.
If the employee is motivated, resulting performance then depends on the personal characteristics of the individual worker and the situation or environment they work in. Their personal characteristics include personality and general mental ability. And for adults, these are substantially unchangeable.
Personal characteristics also include skills and knowledge. These can be changed through training and experience. Performance can also be influenced by situational factors like company policies.
To secure performance, management must work on characteristics that can be changed.
Most employees who commit to their firm and engage with their job perform well in their job. Some employees will however need close management attention to correct poor performance. They need to be performance managed. This involves invoking a published company procedure. This is not unlike the disciplinary procedure BUT it has a positive bent since it aims to improve, not chastise.
Performance management uses the principles of motivation and performance measurement.
Corrective action must be actively managed to success. But in some cases, the employee must be managed out of the firm.
Link to Leadership
Managers cause staff to be motivated and to perform. They do this through the jobs they create, their own leadership, the work environment and the culture that they engender in the firm. The link between leadership approach and culture must be appropriate and differs in each firm.