Employee Motivation and Retention
Employee Motivation and Retention
Motivation refers to the intrinsic enthusiasm of an employee to achieve work-related tasks. It is
the internal drive that facilitates an individual’s decision to act (Crouse, 2005). A person’s motivation is
impacted by emotional, social, intellectual, and biological factors. Motivation is, therefore, a complex
intrinsic driving force that can be affected by external factors. Each employee has events, activities, goals,
and people that motivate them. Thus, there are aspects of motivation in the actions and consciousness of
an individual. Employers need to establish ways to motivate employees in their work environment.
Motivated employees tend to be more motivated to achieve desired goals. Employers are, therefore, faced
with the responsibility of creating a work environment that motivates employees, intrinsically and
extrinsically. Employee motivation includes a combination of fulfilling the expectations and needs of
workers regarding the workplace. The different combinations make employee motivation a challenging
task. It is vital that employers understand the importance of motivation in attaining their vision and
mission. Too often, employers lack the knowledge and skill to provide a work environment that motivates
employees (Martin, 2005). They fail to pay attention to the communication, involvement, employee
relations, and recognition that are significant to people. It appears to be the case with PwC who found that
four main reason for the exit of their employees. Employees cited limited career and promotion
opportunities, lack of support from supervisors, compensation and lack of challenging job duties as the
main reasons why they left the organization. Staff retention is a crucial element of an organization’s
achievement of its goals. High staff turnover is a clear indication that managers should take steps to
motivate and retain employees. This essay discusses the various measures the modern talent acquisition
professional or recruiter can employ to increase worker motivation and allow the employer to realize the
investment they made in the recruit fully.
Employees are more likely to perform best when their work environment is favorable for growth.
From their findings of 19,000 exit interviews, PwC found that majority of employees left because there
were limited career and promotion opportunities. In workplaces with abundant growth opportunities,
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employees tend to work more vigorously than in those with fewer opportunities. Even at a micro level,
the organization should be able to provide ample opportunities for employee growth. If career
advancement and financial growth opportunities are limited by competitive realities, the company needs
to take other measures to foster personal and professional growth (Fargus, 2000). Opportunities for
growth can take many forms and still be valuable to employees, and ultimately to management.
Employers can facilitate employee growth in terms of career growth, professional growth, and personal
growth. Talented people, in any given establishment, want to grow career wise. Employees naturally want
to succeed and an efficient manager is one that helps his team achieve career growth. Workers are often
motivated by bigger titles, increased responsibilities, larger office space, and other perks that come with
career advancement. Apart from the tangible benefits of growing in a company, employees seek to
broaden their knowledge and improve their skills. Researchers have established that progress is a strong
motivational power. It does not matter whether workers are gaining new skills or recording simple
workplace victories. All that matters are that the individuals are making progress and that is enough to
motivate them. Other softer elements of life also play a productive role in motivating staff members. An
employee should also be able to grow personally within the work environment. Friendships and good
relations within the workplace matter. Studies have demonstrated that fun work environments and peer
praise are active motivators. Employers should, therefore, consider the significance of these emotional
components in the motivation of their employees. Growth opportunities may vary but they can all be
valuable for employee motivation, and ultimately, achievement of organizational goals (Martin, 2005)
The supervisor-employee relationship is also a crucial aspect of employee motivation. While
most supervisors feel that they need to make the most of their employees and the time allocated for work,
they must also realize that productive relationships in the workplace are a priority and an advantage.
Establishing a positive relationship with workers is one of the best ways to improve their productivity.
Additionally, it also encourages the personal productivity and effectiveness of a manager. Taking the time
to develop relationships with employees and guide them in their duties facilitates the production of
quality work. Eventually, it reduces the effort required to monitor employees as they are intrinsically
motivated to do their best work. A cohesive department can only be built through favorable relationships
combined with sensitive and strong leadership (Crouse, 2005). A supervisor that does not create such
relationships with his team is likely to experience a lot of turmoil and fail to reach their potential as a
leader. The supervisor-employee relationship can be established in several ways. First, two-way
communication is the basis of any relationship. Employers should be able to communicate with their
supervisors and vice versa. There must be a free flow of ideas always as open dialogue promotes a
healthy relationship. Feedback is crucial in the development of a strong employee-supervisor relationship.
The mutual reward theory states that the employee and supervisor relationship is improved when there is
a good reward exchange between them. For instance, the manager may give the employee personal
recognition, involvement in decision making, and the freedom to work under minimum supervision. The
employee may, in return, provide cooperation with co-workers, dependability, and high personal
productivity (Beck, 2004). With such an exchange, workers are happy with their job and the manager
enjoys a better reputation because of his ability to support and direct employees.
PwC’s former employees also acknowledged that compensation was one of the determining
factors for their exit from the company. Although higher pay on its own is not sufficient to motivate
employees, it plays a significant role in increasing job satisfaction. Employers can utilize varied strategies
of compensation to improve employee motivation. Majority of employees are given a base salary to
guarantee their continued participation (Martin, 2005). However, this base salary alone only motivates
employees to work at the bare minimum required to maintain their job. Employers who wish for workers
to perform at higher levels of productivity should also provide them with opportunities to earn additional
pay. One of the ways through which employees can motivate employees is through incentive plans.
Through these, employees are rewarded for the attainment of specific goals. The incentive motivates
employees to achieve beyond their goals and provides them with the opportunity to grow their earnings.
EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION AND RETENTION 5
Employees’ salary should be paid monthly or bi-monthly, as per company policy, and incentives should
be paid as soon as workers meet their goals. Another way to attract and maintain highly talented
employees and motivate them is pay competitive rates. Employers should stay informed concerning what
other companies in the industry are paying employees in similar positions and match or counter them.
Salaries should also be modified depending on the geographic location of employees. Employee salaries
should mirror the local cost of living, to avoid penalizing employees who reside in expensive cities
(Fargus, 2000). Merit increases should be used to reward top performers. Companies usually misallocate
funds budgeted for annual merit increases by providing the same merit increases to all employees.
Nonetheless, the organization’s priority should be to motivate and retain its top employees. Thus, bigger
salaries should be given to top performers and modest increases to workers whose performance is only
satisfactory. Employees who fail to meet performance expectations should not be given any increases.
Non-financial rewards such as recognition should also be afforded to employees to increase motivation.
The firm can, for example, consider an annual trip to recompense staff members who have attained
specific annual goals.
Lastly, employees that left PwC claim that they did so because of boring job duties or lack of a
challenge. Each employee wants to believe and feel like their duties make a difference. Workers who feel
like their work does not contribute to anything or has no meaning, they are likely not to be motivated to
complete their tasks (Beck, 2004). An employer should make sure that their staff members’ activities
have a direct involvement in the achievement of organizational goals. Tasks that are strategically
designed to contribute to the firm’s objectives will motivate and energize workers to perform at their
optimal ability. For instance, the employee charged with answering the company’s phones may feel that
their job is menial and, thus, fail to give their best. However, if they are made to understand that
transferring calls to other departments or specking cordially to clients contributes to customer satisfaction,
they will feel more productive and motivated. Also, to retain star employees, employers must find ways to
make their duties more challenging (Martin, 2005). Workers are often searching for challenging tasks that
EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION AND RETENTION 6
foster their personal and professional growth. Therefore, by providing challenging tasks and encouraging
employees to take on greater responsibilities, the firm increases employees’ motivation. The most
important thing for organizations to realize is that employee motivation is significant for company growth
because inspired workers are more productive and willing to contribute to the achievement of company
EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION AND RETENTION 7
Beck, R. C. (2004). Motivation: Theories and principles. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson
Crouse, N. (2005). Motivation is an inside job: How to really get your employees to deliver the results
you need. New York: iUniverse.
Fargus, P. (2000). Measuring and improving employee motivation. London: Financial Times
Martin, J. (2005). Organizational behaviour and management. London: Thomson Learning.