What is employee motivation?

Employee motivation is a staff member’s enthusiasm and eagerness to contribute quality work to their company. Genuine employee motivation involves a balance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation includes external rewards, such as a bonus, positive feedback, or a promotion. Intrinsic motivation refers to the employee’s inherent desire to succeed or grow, regardless of external factors. A combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation can fuel consistent, high-quality work.

Why should HR care about employee motivation?

Employee motivation is a prerequisite for employee engagement, retention, productivity, and high-performance. Moreover, a motivated workforce is a reflection of the company’s overall success.

HR leaders play a crucial role in impacting the level of employee motivation in an organization. While HR professionals cannot control an employee’s intrinsic motivation, they can facilitate external circumstances to stimulate this motivation. 

What can HR leaders do to boost employee motivation?

These practices can help strengthen employee motivation:

  • Build a community. Positive work relationships and a tight-knit community impart employees with a sense of belonging. Employees are more likely to want to channel their energy into hard work when they feel a deep connection to their colleagues and the work community at large. 
  • Foster employee freedom. Handing the reins to employees (when appropriate) builds trust. Allowing employees greater responsibility conveys that the company values their skills and knowledge. Moreover, giving employees the freedom and the opportunity to take ownership over their work (under the right circumstances) can empower employees, nurturing pride in their work and their intrinsic desire to provide high-caliber service.  
  • Promote learning and career growth. Enabling employees to determine their career path through varied educational enrichment options infuses deeper meaning into the employee’s work experience. Managers and HR professionals can partner with employees to guide them through a learning process that enhances their career, increases their value, and grabs their interest.    
  • Make communication a priority. Effective communication keeps every member of the workforce informed. Employees can focus on achieving goals when they know precisely what their managers expect of them. A quality HRIS can contribute to better communication, facilitating seamless collaboration and clear understanding between employees of all tiers.
  • Develop continuous, helpful feedback. Performance reviews should frequently occur so employees can receive constructive, applicable feedback. Allowing employees to give their input as well exhibits their significance within the organization.  
  • Encourage employee wellbeing. Avoiding burnout and prioritizing employee wellbeing is essential for maintaining motivation. Ensuring safety in the workplace and nurturing a culture that welcomes employees to express their ideas is fundamental to shaping a positive employee experience.  

How can employee motivation improve company culture?

The well-being of each employee can affect coworkers and the work community at large. Thus, developing an organization that fosters internal and external motivation thereby nurtures a healthy company culture of happy individuals.