HR Motivation Must be Universal

For the Human Resources department, HR motivation is a key goal and consideration when working with employees. Motivation, of course, in this sense, refers to giving employees good reasons to perform well and stick to their tasks within the organization. Thus, employee motivation is a major factor in getting things done in the workplace and improving overall organizational performance. Intuitively, we know that a motivated group of people will not only get more work done, but would also be happier and more driven than an unmotivated group. This is why human resources have come up with many different ways to motivate employees to, for instance, arrive on time or meet predetermined quotas.

One approach might be to rely on employees’ own, inherent motivation to perform well at their jobs. While this may work for a select few eager beavers, this is a rather unreliable approach in general. Different people would have different self-motivation levels, and leaving them to rely on these would not work in every case. Some people would be able to do good work with minimal supervision and external motivation, but some others would really benefit from some motivation from HR.

While it would seem that analysts have their jobs cut out for them in trying to fit different motivation approaches to different individuals, in practice, such complications are unnecessary. People do respond to the same stimuli, albeit in varying degrees. Pay bonuses, freebies, and other incentives have proven to work well and are thus, in effect, in many organizations. Productivity really does increase when employees think that they have something to gain by doing better than normal. The rewards should be well thought out such that greater performance is rewarded with equally greater bonuses. A good tip would be to make it more “cost-effective” to employees to really go for higher performance, making bonuses increase more quickly as performance rises.

Disincentives could also be effective, if they are tailored to the specific offenses. That is, if the punishment makes sense given the infraction, then they would work in dissuading employees from unwanted behavior. HR departments must be careful not to make punishments overly harsh, as this could have the unwanted effect of making HR unpopular or even hated. By finding a good balance between severity of punishments and the desired effects, however, disincentives can be used well.

A relatively common mistake that many human resource departments make is to not apply these incentive and disincentive schemes universally and transparently. That is, everyone should be clear about how incentives and disincentives are earned and given out. Everyone should know exactly what they need to do to get bonuses, and what they need not to do to avoid punishment. Sometimes, HR focuses on the low performers and unmotivated people, to the exclusion of those who are already performing well. Such an approach inevitably leads to resentment, as those who are doing good work feel that they are not being rewarded enough. This is why it is important in HR motivation to ensure that the same set of rewards and punishments are enforced across the board.

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