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Managing People - Introduction to Motivation

Author: Jim Riley  Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012

People management - Motivation at work (introduction)

What is motivation?

Motivation is essentially about commitment to doing something.  In the context of a business, motivation can be said to be about

“The will to work”

However, motivation is about more than simply working hard or completing tasks. Entrepreneurs and staff can find motivation from a variety of sources.

Motivation can come from the enjoyment of the work itself and/or from the desire to achieve certain goals e.g. earn more money or achieve promotion. 

It can also come from the sense of satisfaction gained from completing something, or achieving a successful outcome after a difficult project or problem solved.

Why does motivation matter in business?  In short, people’s behaviour is determined by what motivates them. The performance of employees is a product of both their abilities (e.g. skills & experience) and motivation.  A talented employee who feels de-motivated is unlikely to perform well at work, whereas a motivated employee can often deliver far more than is expected from them!

Benefits of a well-motivated workforce

A well-motivated workforce can provide several advantages:

  • Better productivity (amount produced per employee).  This can lead to lower unit costs of production and so enable a firm to sell its product at a lower price
  • Lower levels of absenteeism as the employees are content with their working lives
  • Lower levels of staff turnover (the number of employees leaving the business).  This can lead to lower training and recruitment costs
  • Improved industrial relations with trade unions
  • Contented workers give the firm a good reputation as an employer so making it easier to recruit the best workers
  • Motivated employees are likely to improve product quality or the customer service associated with a product








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