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Readers Respond: What Contributes to or Destroys Employee Motivation?

Responses: 13


Employee motivation describes an employee’s intrinsic enthusiasm about and drive to accomplish work. Every employee is motivated about something in his or her life. Enabling employee motivation in pursuit of work accomplishments is the challenge. Employee motivation is situational. Employee motivation depends upon the needs and wants that are intrinsic to the employee and the employee’s expectations and needs from work. And, it is the interaction of these employee needs and wants with your company's values, employee practices and policies, your expectations of the employee, the quality of your leadership and supervision, the health of your industry, the competitiveness of the job market, and the economy, that enables employee motivation in your workplace - or not.

These variables make employee motivation challenging. What, in your experience, facilitates and makes possible employee motivation at work - or not?

See More Reader Responses to various other questions.


Our team just switched reporting relationships again. We go through this every few months. Today I learned that the new managers have a baseball rating system. They discuss each person's performance and call them baseball names, such as rookie, MVP, minor-leaguer. I've never been so insulted. I can't get out fast enough.
—Guest Julie

Sr. Employee Relations Advisor

This is a good article concerning retention. I am forwarding to home e-mail.
—Guest Paula Hebert


One week I am told that I am doing poorly at the same job I have had for five years based on a few customer complaints. The following week I will receive a phone call on customer service excellence. The managers don't talk to each other, how am I supposed to know if what I am doing is the correct thing this time around or not?
—Guest lily funk

Motivating employees

I hold that an ambience that guarantees equity, equal playing field to all, an assurance that merit, and not nepotism, will be the key factor for promotion is essential. That will encourage loyalty, committement and dedication.
—Guest Dr.Y.P.Hathi

Divide and Rule

I work in a sales operation where, as of late, a certain female who has been producing rather average performance has suddenly risen to the top of the charts. Her/ our manager has recently taken an intrest in her personal life to the point where her personal problems allow him to come to the rescue. She now has a key to his front door (he kicked out the old girlfriend) and as discreet as they want to play it, the results have suddenly 'tilted' what was once a level playing field. It's obvious that the rest of us on the sales staff will never get top bonus now that this is going on.

Employee Motivation

Everything about motivation seems to depend on the manager. When the walk-about manager discovers during his "wardround" that some are doing their private jobs what should he/she do? Pat the employee on the back or invite the employee in for a "chat"? What manner of chat? "Tea or coffee" chat or what? And suppose this employee has friends at HR who always side with him/her on most issues?
—Guest theodore ikpa

Having Work that Counts

It is important that my work is valued. The pat on the back is great, but if I personally do not see the value of my work, it is difficult to keep motivated. When we see how each job affects the department and company overall by sharing in the success of the company, then you can be proud of even mundane jobs. Communicating the results of effort achieved individually, and within the team, and relating these to successful outcomes is a motivator for company loyalty.
—Guest Heather

Divide and Rule Destroys Motivation

One of the major challenges in organisations is when a manager or chief executive gets threatened by a junior employee's difference of opinion with them, especially in open, official forums. This usually leads to a situation where the manager feels his authority is being undermined and thus, will always find fault with that employee's views or work. It is critical that managers welcome each employee's contributions fairly and objectively for the benefit of both the employee and the employer's growth and development. Giving employees an equal opportunity and accepting that each of them is unique and has a special role to play in the development and success of the organisation can not be over-emphasised. Building trust among your employees as a manager enhances their performance as it brings about focus on the mandate and vision of the organisation.

Allocate your spare time

If your employees come from different cultures, we as supervisors/ managers should allocate our time even after office hours to hear their complaints, opinions, ideas, feedback, criticism, bad and good news, sometimes rumours, etc. Use your official room with open windows, to let everyone else, know that you are having a discussion, conversation, open-minded talk with your staffs. Sometimes, let them talk about their own personal matters, like family problems, just to listen without getting involved too much. Join with enthusiasm, company social activities, sports, etc. as they could be a breakthrough and entering point for starting communications. Once your staffs know another communication channel, they utilize it, and you can also motivate them to be more disciplined and work smart.
—Guest Paulus Gunawan

Great Supervisor

My supervisor is great! She's responsive, communicative and very objective. She recognises work well done and even when she gives criticism to the team, it's very objective; she does not get personal on work issues, but addresses the exact thing without destroying one's personality. This is commendable and very motivating at work even when other things are not okay, supervisor's objectivity and responsiveness is a key motivator.
—Guest Faith

Positive Feedback

Nothing makes me feel better than my efforts being noticed by my supervisors and peers. Feeling like you're really making a difference in a company encourages me to keep making an extra effort. I'd have to agree though about criticism being the biggest destroyer of motivation, although it's really the way the criticism is shared that makes it negative.


My boss criticizes everything I do. So, everything I do at work must be lousy because he never says I did a good job. Yes, I'm looking for another job before he crushes out all of my motivation.
—Guest Barb Guest

Supervisor Is Motivator

I like my supervisor and when she spends time with me, I feel much more motivated. I don't like everything about my job, so her attention makes the bad, boring parts better.
—Guest Annette M.
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