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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET

Motivation of Employees

In any organisation, there are various resources, viz. the 5Ms - Men, Machine, Material, Money and Methods. The distinguishing factor between men and the other resources is that men are a live resource, whereas the other resources are not live, but become alive in the hands of men. The human factor in organisations is the prime mover and makes organisations increase turnover, profits and performance. The positive result comes about only when the human factor is motivated.

Thus, managers are continually challenged to motivate their workforce, to do two things. The first challenge is to motivate employees to work towards helping the organisation achieve its goals. The second is to motivate employees to work towards achieving their own personal goals.

Therefore, all managers have to be good human resource managers, besides being specialists in their respective areas. They have also to facilitate their employees, in achieving organisational goals and also in the process help them achieve their personal goals. Over the years, various theories regarding motivating of employees have been propounded and managers can draw upon these theories. In this article, only two of these theories are being discussed in detail, because of their widespread applicability and in-depth understanding of human nature. The two theories are Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory.

Coming to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it is quite clear that while Maslow talked about a need hierarchy, in actual practice, all needs exist at the same time within people. However, one or two needs are dominant and critical to the employee. The manager of these employees needs to address these dominant needs, for getting the best performance from them.

While on the subject of needs, the most complex need is the Self- actualisation Need. The author of this article has a unique interpretation, regarding this need, which is as follows:

All religions preach that Man is made in the image of God. In other words, man has an iota of God in him. When we try to understand God, we realise, after due deliberation, that God is a perfect human being. This iota of God, which is within every human being, urges and motivates the human being, to strive towards perfection. It is this striving towards perfection, which is the road to self- actualisation. Social scientists have described it differently. They say that all human beings have potential and self-actualisation really means actualising their potential. Therefore, it is up to the manager, to develop his/her employees to the extent that all of them reach their potential. In fact, management experts are of the view that one of the manager’s key tasks is to develop his/her employees to the maximum and s/he is to be rewarded, based on the extent of this development.

Coming now to Herzberg, this social scientist has differentiated between what he terms as Hygiene Factors and Motivational Factors. Hygiene Factors form part of the environment and are extrinsic to the employees. On the other hand, Motivational Factors are involved in the job the employee does and, to that extent, they are intrinsic to the employees. Herzberg comes to an excellent conclusion by stating that the presence of Hygiene Factors does not create motivation, but their absence results in de- motivation. On the other hand, the Motivational Factors, if they are present, motivate the employees; whereas, if they are absent, they de-motivate the employees. Thus, managements in various organisations have to ensure that Hygiene Factors are present, so that there is no de-motivation, and incorporate Motivational Factors, so that there is positive motivation.

Herzberg elaborates on the various elements, which form a part of Hygiene and Motivational factors as under:

Besides the contribution of Maslow and Herzberg, other social scientists have provided us with a Model of Motivation, which is described below:

Work Motivation refers to the set of internal and external forces that cause an employee to choose a course of action and engage in certain behaviours. Ideally, these behaviours should be directed towards the achievement of organisational goals. Work motivation is a complex combination of psychological factors, within each person, and employers are greatly interested in them.

Human beings are motivated by needs and drives, for e.g. hunger, thirst and sex. These needs and drives create tension within and have to be satisfied. The satisfaction of these needs lies in the environment and requires effort on the part of the employee. Thereare goals, incentives, and opportunities for the satisfaction of these needs and drives.

Efforts together with the Ability of the employee result in Performance; and, better the Performance, the better is the reward. Receiving rewards results in need satisfaction; and then, the employee can look for satisfaction of other needs and drives.Both Maslow and Herzberg have given us an overview of these needs and wants and have provided us with the road map for satisfying them. However, human beings also want to get ahead in life and in their careers and require money, position and recognition for their satisfaction.

Money - An Effective Motivator

Besides the theories of motivation mentioned above, it must not be forgotten that human beings are motivated through money.

Maslow with his Hierarchy of Needs and Hertzberg with the Two Factor Theory have given a point of view, which misses the point of money being a prime motivator. Employees always look upon money as the motivation, which enables them to satisfy their various needs and drives. In other words, money is an enabler.

Money can be looked at from the view of Basic Pay and Allowances, Benefits and Perquisites (applicable to Senior Executives). This pay package contributes to providing satisfaction to the employee and his/her family. Then, there is the whole subject of Reward Management, which is based on Employee Performance. An employee could be rewarded with an Increment, a Merit Award, an Incentive or a Promotion, all of which can be converted into monetary value, which would motivate an employee to perform better.

If an employee is not satisfied with his/her compensation, in his/her current organisation, s/he looks for greener pastures, elsewhere. The other company attracts him/her with a larger pay package and better benefits.

So, all said and done, money is a prime motivator, despite what is propounded by the various theories on motivation.

There is a shortage of competent and committed employees and such employees, when recruited should not be allowed to leave easily. In this context, let us examine what strategies two well- known companies - Marico and Mastek - have followed to motivate their employees and also to retain them.

Mastek’s People Practices

Mastek continually involves its employees in various activities of the company, including Building Employee Engagement, Employee Learning Development and Satisfactory Surveys. This is done through constant interaction, with employees, through various communication programmes.

Besides, it is not only the employees, but also their families, who are involved i.e. wives and children, which builds lasting bonds with the organisation.

Moreover, Mastek have made special efforts to recognise employees, who have outperformed, through a system of giving awards, thereby developing a culture of out performance. In addition, special efforts have been made to encourage employees in the field of Learning and Development. One area that was perceived as most important was the acquiring of new technological skills as well as skills of project management. In addition, employees were also encouraged to develop soft skills, to improve their overall competence and interactive capability.

Last, but by no means the least, is the issue of keeping compensation levels in line with industry practices. This is necessary to keep employees motivated and retain them in the organisation.

Marico’s - HR Practices

Marico believes in a flat hierarchy. It has only five levels. This encourages empowerment and innovation. While the company does recruit from premier institutions, like B-Schools and IITs, it gives preference to encouraging internal promotion as well. Besides, it has a referral programme called ‘Tareef’, where employees are encouraged to refer candidates for vacancies in the organisation.

The organisation encourages the development of employees, including actualising their potential. This is done through a variety of training programmes as well as developing cross-functional skills. There is an integrated programme for developing a healthy mind and a healthy body. Moreover, financial guidance is also provided.

Last but not least, the organisation has a consistent programme for the development of leaders at all levels in the company.


In conclusion, in today’s competitive and globalised world, motivation has acquired a central position in most reputed organisations.

Attracting, motivating and retaining competent employees can make a difference between whether the company will survive and beat the competition.

Moreover, competent employees can engage in innovation, which could put the company in an unbeatable position, as regards growth and prosperity.

Authored by

Prof. Jairaj Kochavara


Tags: MET Institute of Management