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Motivating Staff (article)2018-07-16T11:16:40+00:00


Motivating Staff with Effective Management

Everyone has range of performances within which they carry out their work. The range varies from an upper limit dedicated by ability, both intellectual and physical, and zero performance, which is the lower limit. Within that range is level of acceptability, below which is disciplinary time. Management’s responsibility for the performance of staff can be summarized into three main functions:

  • Motivating staff to perform at the upper limit of performance.
  • Couching staff so they develop their ability and increase their potential for high quality work.
  • Clarifying and enforcing the level of acceptability so that poor performers are given the opportunity to discuss and evaluate their performance.

Motivating Staff is a key management skill. Check out Global Training Institute's management courses.It is important to understand these as three separate functions. Motivation can only improve performance so far; then it becomes a matter of developing new or additional skills. An athletics coach cannot make an Olympic sprinter out of an overweight novice purely by motivation. He or she will have to teach sprinting techniques and use training programs to develop particular muscles and improve lung function.

Motivation is a process that arouses, sustains and regulates behavior toward a specific goal or end. Obviously this process is of interest to everyone. To the supervisor or manager, whose job it is to get others to perform tasks, it is vitally important. He or she has to become involved with the motivation of the employees so that the performance requirements of the organization can be met and the employees’ needs and expectations satisfied. It means knowing something about motivation theory and understanding how it can help him or her carry out his or her duties and responsibilities effectively.


The use of participation is frequently quoted as a means of stimulating motivation. There is no doubt that people are motivated by being involved in the actions and decisions that affect them. Participation is also recognition of the value of staff, since it provides a sense of accomplishment and ‘being needed’. A manager seeking to raise performance by increasing motivation could involve staff in the planning and inspection aspects of the work encouraging staff to participate in the design of the work planning schedules. Staff would be motivated to achieve the targets that they had helped establish.


An interesting approach to motivation is the recent development of ‘quality of work life programs’. Introduced as a concept by Davis and Cherns (1975), one of the main advocates in the UK has been Eric Trist. There are many case studies published in such companies as General Motors, Proctor and Gamble etc. Basically the approach is a very wide-ranging application of the principles of job enrichment.

The intention is to improve all aspects of work life, especially job design, work environment, leadership attitudes, work planning and industrial relations. It is an all-embracing systems approach, which usually starts with a joint management and staff group looking at the dignity, interests and productivity of jobs.


Management action is usually designed so that employees are highly motivated. By this it is usually implied that the staff meet the performance standards. Achievement of high performance may be through offering positive rewards. Equally, achievements may be through the employees having the perception that if they do not perform up to standard than something unpleasant may result. It may be reduced pay, less chance of promotion, or in current world employment climate, reduced job security or no job at all. Either way, it is important to identify opportunities for development and advancement and conduct regular performance reviews so that performance can be monitored.


The most direct use of money as a motivator is payment by results schemes whereby an employee’s pay is directly linked to the results. All such schemes are dependent upon the belief that people will work harder to obtain results. Whyte carried out extensive research on incentive pay schemes for production workers. He concluded that ‘money is not an almighty’ motivation and estimated that only 10% of production workers would ignore group pressure from workmates and produce as much as possible in response to an incentive scheme.


Staff must be fed the result of their involvement as quickly as possible. Herzberg said ‘a manager cannot motivate staff in a vacuum’. Feedback is essential if motivation is to grow. The feedback should be clear and frequent. Intrinsic feedback is inadequate in learning job skills and the trainer has to provide the relevant extrinsic feedback. Concurrent feedback is better than delayed feedback when developing job knowledge, skills and performance. Recognition, praise and encouragement create feelings of confidence, competence, development and progress that enhance the motivation to learn.

Khuram Munir

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