Motivation is the reason behind a specific behavior particularly human behavior. Reasons for motivation may vary such as basic needs, an object, goal, state of being or ideal. Motivation for behaving in a certain way could also be due to morality

The importance of a well-motivated workforce

A motivated workforce is beneficial to a business because it:

  • improves efficiency and productivity
  • reduces wastage
  • easier for business to achieve its set goals and target
  • lower rate of absenteeism
  • lower level of staff turnover which leads to lower recruitment and training costs.

Why do people work?

  • Money – People need money to buy food, water and other items they need to live.
  • Social needs – People just like us likes to feel part of a team, socialise and make friends.
  • Esteem needs – Feeling important, feeling that they are contributing to a business.
  • Job satisfaction – enjoyment from the work and achievements they have accomplished.
  • Security – Feeling of having a secure job with a stable income. (not likely to lose job etc…)


maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Abraham Maslow’s theory states that the more levels of needs achieved by the worker, the higher motivated they will become. This also means that each level of motivation must be achieved before an employee can move to the next level of motivation.

Maslow theory’s implication for business

  1. satisfying worker needs is not just about money, other things are involved such as teamwork.
  2. Helping people feel satisfied at work requires firm to provide opportunities for fulfilment at all levels.
  3. Work is important as it brings out purpose and meaning out of people’s lives


  • Difficult for managers to determine which needs their employees need
  • Every employee is different, what motives Mr John might not motivate Mr Moses.


Taylor believed that managers could identify the best way to complete a job through scientific procedure of observation, experiment and calculation. He therefore recommended the following:

  1. Managers should study task that worker carry out and identify the quickest way of doing each task.
  2. The skill of each worker should be matched to the task that needs to be carried out.
  3. All workers should be supervised and controlled
  4. Financial reward should be set aside for those who are efficient and produces more output.


  • It assumes there is a best approach to organise production
  • Workers are part of the process of production and little or no contribution is needed from them.
  • The approach suggests that managers should be in charge always which would always lead to conflict.
  • The theory fits well with the secondary sector jobs and does not consider jobs where output are not easily measured.
  • Employees can be motivated by other factors not just money


Two Factor Theory

Hygiene factors leads to demotivation of staff while motivators helps meet the human need to grow psychologically.

To motivate the workforce, the business must make sure the hygiene factors are being met; a fair salary scale, safe, healthy and pleasant working conditions.

Jobs must be designed to be meaningful an interesting. Businesses should endeavor to train their workers to do their jobs well.

Methods of motivation

Ways to motivate employees

  • Financial rewards
  • Non-financial rewards
  • Job satisfaction

Financial Rewards

Time Rate: Payment for a period of time such as amount per hour e.g. $10 per hour. The main advantage of time rate is that they encourage workers to produce higher quality work than piece rate as there is no focus on quantity produced.

A major demerit of time rate is that good and bad workers get paid the same, Recording every employee’s working hours may be complicated, costs business to hire an employee to calculate each workers’ wage.

Piece Rate:  This system pays worker for every unit of output produced. This provides direct incentive to work harder without considering other needs of the worker.

Demerits of piece rate is that speed becomes the more important than quality, workers that make slow high-quality products will get paid less.

Salaries: Employees are paid an agreed sum monthly which ensures greater flexibility. Managers only need to calculate salaries once a month which uses less time.

Additional Payments (Money added to salaries)

  • Commission: Sales staff are often paid a small percentage of the selling price of the product they are selling e.g. If a car salesman sells a car, the salesman might get 20% of the selling price of the car which is added to his salary.
  • Profit sharing: Employees receive share of the company’s profit. This benefits the company because employees will want the company to have a higher profit.
  • Bonus: Money paid to workers when they work well usually at the end of the year.
  • Performance related pay: Employee’s pay is linked to the effectiveness of their work. This is often used with jobs where output cannot be easily measured.
  • Share ownership: Employees are given some of the company’s shares. This makes them work hard as prices of shares may increase if the business is doing well. This also makes the employee feel that they are part of the company.

Non-Financial Rewards

Non-financial rewards given to employees are also called perks or fringe benefits.

Some examples include

  • Health care paid by company
  • Company cars
  • Free trips / company holidays
  • Employee of the month
  • Free meals
  • Discount on company’s products
  • Free housing
  • Children’s education fees paid by company

Job Satisfaction

  • Pay
  • Promotion
  • Working conditions
  • The work itself
  • Status of the job

Ways to improve job satisfaction

  • Job Rotation: Workers swap roles to do different tasks. This stops the employee from getting bored.
  • Job Enlargement: More extra tasks are given to the worker so they have a variety of things to do. However, these tasks should not be more difficult. e.g. supermarket cashier now adds price label on items.
  • Job Enrichment: Adding tasks that require more skill and responsibility. e.g. receptionist employed to greet clients now deal with telephone enquiries.
  • Team Work: Working in teams make employees more interested in the tasks since they can organise themselves. It also gives team responsibilities and rewards for achieving targets.