Friday, January 7, 2011


Dilep Misra
Executive & Personal Coach


Many times we come across persons who have the ability but lack willingness for doing work. Many organizations are facing this kind of problem. It makes some employers wonder, why employees fail to exhibit their skill and talent at work place when they have skilled manpower, best equipment and latest technology. The answer to this is lack of “MOTIVATION”.

Motivation is a force which comes from one’s within, which energizes, arouses and sustains an individual’s inclination to do the required activity. This satisfies his motive and fulfills his needs, expectations, aspirations and goals. The motives which stimulate an individual to perform his best are personal and highly subjective; they keep on changing as per his need and want. It is mistaken to assume that people always work for the pay cheque only. This is so only till the need for his basic survival gets fulfilled. Beyond that an employee looks for a sense of achievement recognition, security and self respect.

Everyone needs to be motivated, without which life becomes meaningless. Do you want motivation? Motivate your colleagues, subordinates and people around you first. Seeing them performing, you will automatically get motivated. Studies have shown that most of the managers are egocentric and strongly believe that, to get the work done, the operatives should be dealt with firm hand. This result in dividing the employees in to two major groups: one is highly suppressed and de-motivated and the other group rebellious agitated and also de-motivated. The management must realize that the best of an employee can be derived through motivation only.

Every lazy employee also has an energetic, intelligent, healthy counterpart within himself. Once we motivate him he will certainly continue to perform his best. Many organizations have understood this. This works magically and helps in improving the top & bottom line of the business.

The most accepted way of motivating an employee practiced is the “Financial Incentive” system. This was started long back when the economic condition of the people was bad and sufficient industrialization was absent. As the year passed, the demand for skilled and experienced employee increased. Employees started drawing more salary. The basic instinct of the employees got satisfied and hence their needs and wants got changed.

Some organizations pioneered the reward system as an alternate motivating factor. In this the employees were rewarded for their valuable contribution to the organization like giving suggestions, meeting targets in time or for doing extra ordinary work in their related areas. Many times even after putting so much effort the employees are not motivated due to (I) fast changing behavior of employees (II) Ill intention of the employer (III) Lack of honesty in the implementation. Several times it is observed that Mr. X has been rewarded for doing work “W” which was never done by him. This causes antagonism in the mind of other employees and start doubting the very intention of the employer.

Naming employees of the month or quarter, department of the month or quarter, although not a new concept is extremely effective. Reward at both individual and team level. This sends out two messages. First group spirit is important, second we must learn to work together and serve each other as internal customers.

Make exceptional employees highly visible by putting their photos on bulletin boards, display cases or company newsletters, display letters to the employees from satisfied customers and even display the recognition letter from the company president/ Chairman. This generates excitement and attention. Announce rewards at special events, parties and picnics. Give certificates, Prizes for doing excellent work.

Many times it has been noticed that reward and recognition system practices for motivating employees are not linked with the actual service behavior desired. Often behavior “A” of an employee is rewarded but behavior “B” is expected. In such cases the behavior rewarded gets repeated and often become permanent behavior. The desired behavior “B” is never achieved. Remember to be realistic in your expectations. Do not confuse employee by giving mixed messages.

Rewards must be fair and equitable and everybody should be given equal opportunity to get the rewards giving two employees a reward of unequal value for the same performance de-motivates them. Always use praise/ Appreciation for your employees, which works as a motivation tool. We know that all of us need & expect some kind of appreciation for the good work we do. One should always appreciate or praise a person for the good work done by him.

We do not give enough verbal recognition and praise to our colleagues and sub-ordinates. Rather, we first point out the mistakes of the subordinates and give them negative strokes. The most important rule to remember in praising employee is that, we must be honest and sincere in our praise else it will be flattery. Do not with-hold the praise till the desired result is obtained. If there is no immediate recognition for the sincere attempts / efforts made by the subordinate, they will get de-motivated soon. Praise for each & every small improvements or attempts for improvements.

The new concept of motivating an employee is to make him feel that he is one of the business partners of the organization by offering him equity shares of the company. You make him realize and feel that he is working for his own company.

Empowerment of employees is also a new motivating factor widely practiced in the organization. Here the power is de-centralized and the responsibility is shared among the employees. The work is delegated and total freedom offered when employees use their own creativity in arriving at a decision and when the assigned activity is successfully completed; the persons derive a sense of self satisfaction. With proper delegation of work and shared responsibility employees get motivated.

Employees should be associates in the decision making process and developmental exercise then they will look at the difficulties from the management’s point of view. The resistance to implementation of the plans and program reduces after the employees realize the good intention behind doing so. Everybody feel as if they are part of the family. The motivation level of employees also goes up and leads to increase in productivity. In case of Total Employees Involvement (TEI) inter-functional committees are formed. Where employees from related department become member. The committee meets every week to decide its future plans and progress. Each member of the committee is given responsibility for their part of related work. The members of the committee jointly resolve the problems. The best committee award is given every year for the best performance. Manufacturing system Engineering (MSE) is one of such committee. Here the employee self esteem is taken care of and they get motivated. People are made to feel that they are important. The concept of total employee involvement is picking up very fast with the organizations. Here everything is decided on merit and with the concurrence of the committee members.

In today’s fast changing world, we need more achiever type employees to sustain the accelerated our organization’s growth rate. Achievers are hard working, highly performance & growth oriented people. The organization gains maximum from these types of employees. It is difficult to retain such people. Only pay cheques do not motivate them, they look forward for more responsibility and challenging work. Try to make the work more challenging and exciting. Involve the employees in the decision making process. They are the best person in their field to suggest improvements. Once the process of continuous improvement starts, monotony will go away and employees will start enjoying their work. Start emphasizing more on team work. Implement ideas like suggestion schemes, small group activity and Quality circle with true spirit. Establish an effective communication channel with employee. This will reduce rumors, which helps in de-motivating employees in the organization.

Identify the training needs in the organization and start effective training programs for employees. Do not hold training classes for the sake of training. Training should be for development of the participants. Care must be taken and help rendered to the employees to put their training knowledge in to practice. After the training generally the participants are found fully charged and at this point if proper guidance & help is not offered to sustain the change, participants slowly get de-motivated again.

Now everybody has understood and realized that human resource is the most important asset for an organization. The future prospect of an organization depends upon how best the employees are motivated. Unless we take care of the human resource available to us it will be difficult to continue in the future. The more progressive Organizations have already realized this and started working upon creating a well knit, highly motivated work force. It is easy to get a person but difficult to retain or make him work.

With the above in mind, I’m sure all of us will appreciate the following sentiment:

“If you want to plan for a year plant a corn,
 If you want to plan for three years plant a tree,
 But if you want to plan for ten years plant Men”
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