Work motivation: theories, techniques, types, and benefits

Work motivation is one of the aspects you need to work on if you want to reduce employee turnover in...
27 December 2022

Work motivation is one of the aspects you need to work on if you want to reduce employee turnover in your company, increase productivity and retain talent. Many leaders admit that one of the most challenging tasks they face is keeping their teams motivated to work with conviction and passion. 

To understand why work motivation is important, you need to know the theories that address it, the techniques that will help you boost it, and the benefits it offers to your project.  

What is work motivation?

Work motivation is the ability of companies to stimulate and encourage their teams through incentives, incentives, and Human Resources strategies, which favor a relationship of belonging to the project based on respect, empathy, and satisfaction. 

Among the factors that influence the level of motivation of your employees you can find the following: 

  • The work environment. 
  • Working conditions. 
  • Remuneration.
  • Individual recognition and rewards. 
  • Responsibility and autonomy of individuals. 
  • Training and professional development.
  • Social benefits.

These elements are contrary to attitudes you should avoid, such as excessive control, lack of flexibility, low rewards concerning the employee’s responsibility, or inefficient management. 

Work motivation

Work motivators

Motivation plans in companies are based on different theories that can be divided into two main groups of work motivators. 

Content-focused theories

They study the elements that motivate people by analyzing their needs and the rewards they obtain

There are five main content-centered theories: 

  1. Human needs theory- Maslow’s hierarchy. 
  2. McGregor’s model.
  3. McClelland’s needs theory.
  4. Alderfer’s hierarchical model.
  5. Herzberg’s two-factor theory: environmental and motivational.

Perhaps the best known is Maslow’s Hierarchy, which establishes that the following needs condition people’s behavior: 

  • Physiological.
  • Security.
  • Social. 
  • Esteem. 
  • Self-realization. 

Process theories

They focus on the study of the motivation process, i.e., on how the thought towards motivation develops or what its origin is. 

Although they are based on an experimental tradition based on the works of Thorndike, Hull, Tolman, or Lewin, one of the most significant contributions is the study of motivation based on Skinner’s operant conditioning. 

Instead of insisting on the importance of cognitive psychological aspects, this American psychologist points out that the most relevant factors in motivation are environmental.

Qué es la motivación laboral

Types of work motivation

From the different theoretical analyses, 3 different types of work motivation can be extracted: 

  • Extrinsic motivation. It depends on external factors such as performance incentives or other professional benefits.  
  • Intrinsic motivation. It comes from the workers themselves and is related to their personal satisfaction beyond the material benefit. You can enhance it by providing the necessary tools for its development in the company. 
  • Transcendent motivation. It comes from the work that is carried out voluntarily for third parties. This is the case for companies collaborating with NGOs or participating in solidarity activities. 

How to improve motivation in the workplace? Work motivation techniques

Applying the techniques, we will discuss below will improve your employees’ experience while facilitating talent retention and boosting your image as an employer. 

Align your employees’ work expectations with their work objectives. 

You must get to know your employees beyond their job performance and build relationships based on trust, honesty, and mutual respect. 

For example, you can use a motivational interview to ask questions such as “What are your personal and professional goals, and how can I help you achieve them?” or “How would you like to contribute to the company?”. 

Define clear objectives and provide the necessary tools to achieve them.

Try to provide your employees with clear, achievable, and motivating objectives so that they understand them and see the positive impact of their work. In this way, each person’s work becomes more meaningful, and their commitment is reinforced.

Encourage autonomy 

Reinforce the autonomy of your teams and include them in decision-making on issues related to their tasks. Use active listening and thank them for their contributions. 

Communicate assertively

The way you communicate with your employees is one of the factors that most affect their level of commitment and satisfaction. 

Address them with authenticity, empathy, and respect, and show genuine concern for them.  

What is work motivation

Acknowledge your mistakes

If you make a mistake, embrace it and turn it into an opportunity to show your employees that the solutions and learning that matter, not the stigma of the error. 

Create a vision, values, and purpose together with your team 

Promote spaces for exchange and communication that reinforce the sense of belonging to a team. Integrate people in your project and strategic decisions.

Become an inspirational leader 

Boost your teams’ personal and professional development and help them achieve their goals. You can acquire the necessary skills through executive coaching.

Develop talent

Work with your teams on their career plans and offer spaces where your employees can develop their skills while improving their employee experience.  

Encourage work-life balance

Analyze what family reconciliation policies you can put in place so that your employees find a balance between their professional and personal facets. 

Offer a fair salary

Remunerate your employees relatively in line with their expectations and skills. The salary must allow the employee to have access to a dignified life. 

Work motivation techniques

Benefits of work motivation

Although we have been unpacking them throughout the article, in the following lines, we are going to compile the benefits offered to your company by the promotion of labor motivation:

  • Improves the work environment.
  • Increases commitment. 
  • Retains and attracts talent. 
  • Increases productivity. 
  • Efficient use of resources. 
  • Increases the value of the company. 
  • Boost innovation and competitiveness.

The motivation of your teams also depends on the digital environments in which they work remotely or in which they are trained. Our proctoring products offer respectful, secure and flexible remote monitoring solutions. 

Request a free demo to learn how we can help you assess, retain and engage talent practically. 


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