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What makes employees tick?

by Kumar Parakala September 3, 2012

It is a current trend in the industry to declare hefty bonus packages and big pay packs. So how come most employees still harbor the attitude of “who cares?”
Organizations today are faced with a widening split between the actual state of an individual and the desired state by the organization. Effective motivation which is the driving force that initiates direct behavior is the missing element in the puzzle. After all, the human nature is complex and understanding and appreciation of work by the management team is a growing prerequisite to building effective employee motivation and passion for excellence.
Workplace dynamics has undergone drastic change in the last decade; modern business thrives on knowledge economy where the core assets lie in intelligence, expertise, understanding and skill of employees. Nurturing and building committed employees who treat their work with passion and dedication, rather than a routine job is one of the key managerial challenges. The ancient Pavlovian practice of a carrot-and-stick incentive is no longer relevant to business houses today.
Contrary to popular belief that money is one of the key motivating factors to driving employee performance, retention and attraction, it is the non-monetary elements like advancement in career, job security, scope of work undertaken and a sense of pride in the company that act as an impetus in building employee commitment and performance. After all, performance is directly linked to ability and the right form of motivation. The onus therefore lies on the manager in exhorting low performing individuals to the required standards by providing empowerment in their current jobs and motivating and coaching them to achieve the set goals.
Companies need to invest in building a strong people management centric culture. Effective training is crucial at the management level to ensure they undertake the task of rightly motivating their subordinates through motivation programs that are tailored according to the needs of the organization in accordance with the corporate governance of the company. Some of the key strategies that can be implemented in the organization can include, positive reinforcement of employees, effective discipline in adhering to organizational standards, treating employees with consideration, ensuring employee needs are met, setting achievable work related goals, restructuring jobs to maximize utilization, creating a reward system on job performance etc. After all, money may get the organization the best people through the front door, but lack of motivation will drive them away from the back!

Organizations have taken into account the changes in recent times and accordingly adapted and amended their managerial style to become less bureaucratic. Leadership and management practice has changed significantly and authority is pushed down the ranks to enable employee empowerment and accountability. However, the scope of decision making at the subordinate level is limited to the purview of their immediate jobs and not to the larger direction the company is taking, this is the reason most employees feel a sense of disconnect from their organizations as they fail to see how they are contributing to the larger scheme of things in the organization.
Drawing employee loyalty to the organization and understanding “what makes them tick” is essential in building and boosting employee morale and motivation. The ‘connect’ can be built by bridging the gap and encouraging employee participation in organizational goals, respecting their opinion, encouraging innovation and creativity and all levels. The consequence of adopting these practices is directly reflected in increased organizational profitability.
Extraordinary results can be achieved by ordinary people if keen attention is paid by the management to build and cultivate high performing employees through effective motivation techniques. After all, it is challenge enough to manage business in today’s high stake business environment without giving up our business edge by short changing on our most important asset- our people.