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Motivating Your Staff in a Time of Change

Want to Know What's Most Important About Motivating Employees?


Business people on the way to a meeting
Klaus Vedfelt/ Riser/ Getty Images

In today's turbulent, often chaotic, environment, commercial success depends on employees using their full talents. Yet in spite of the myriad of available theories and practices, managers often view motivation as something of a mystery. In part this is because individuals are motivated by different things and in different ways.

In addition, these are times when delayering and the flattening of hierarchies can create insecurity and lower staff morale. Moreover, more staff than ever before are working part time or on limited-term contracts, and these employees are often especially hard to motivate.

Definition of Employee Motivation

Twyla Dell writes of motivating employees, "The heart of motivation is to give people what they really want most from work. The more you are able to provide what they want, the more you should expect what you really want, namely: productivity, quality, and service." (An Honest Day's Work (1988))

Advantages of Employee Motivation

A positive motivation philosophy and practice should improve productivity, quality, and service. Motivation helps people:
  • achieve goals;

  • gain a positive perspective;

  • create the power to change;

  • build self-esteem and capability,

  • manage their own development and help others with theirs.

Disadvantages of Motivating Staff

There are no real disadvantages to successfully motivating employees, but there are many barriers to overcome.

Barriers may include unaware or absent managers, inadequate buildings, outdated equipment, and entrenched attitudes, for example:

  • "We don't get paid extra to work harder."

  • "We've always done it this way."

  • "Our bosses don't have a clue about what we do."

  • "It doesn't say that in my job description."

  • "I'm going to do as little as possible without getting fired."


Such views will take persuasion, perseverance, and the proof of experience to break down.

How do you motivate your employees? The Action Checklist for Motivating Employees is designed for managers with responsibilities for managing, motivating, and developing staff at a time when organizational structures and processes are undergoing continual change and can help your organization.

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