Motivational Methods


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This paper surveys the methods that departmental managers may employ to instill motivation among the employees in the face of disorienting change such as downsizing. The paper will explore various ways in which managers can increase motivation among their employees in the wake of radical organizational changes. While it is true that there are numerous ways of motivating employees to work with zeal and zest, this paper will focus on three motivational methods that are all non-monetary. This paper will explore the motivational benefit of introducing autonomy among the workers, at individual and team level. Moreover, it will elaborate why and how setting goals can motivate employees. Finally, the paper will demonstrate how creating a system where employees can furnish the management with honest feedback will help motivate them.

Key words: motivation, setting goals, feedback, management, employee

Motivational Methods

When a company introduces such a significant change as downsizing, roles are bound to alternate, and employees may lose the motivation to work. Moreover, employees may be apprehensive about taking up new responsibilities in the new organizational set up. The loss of motivation that may accompany such changes may drastically reduce the productivity of employees. Therefore, a visionary leader must take preemptive measures to prevent the negative implications of loss of employee motivation.

Introducing Autonomy

One of the methods managers would use to motivate their workers is to give them a certain level of autonomy. Introducing autonomy among the workers empowers them to make use of their individual decision making skills. It harnesses the individual capabilities of decision making in each of the workers, and allows them a degree of freedom in choosing what is best for the department in their areas of expertise. Introducing autonomy also involves giving the workers new responsibilities and letting them know their areas of jurisdiction. The manager needs to create accurate mandates of the employees, sufficiently demarcating for them the limits of their power.

Employees respond variably to the introduction of autonomy in the company, and this response depends on their taste. Shifting the blame to the employees may be distasteful to some of them; they may be apprehensive about taking responsibility for decisions. However, it works pretty well for most employees as it puts them in a position of strength concerning the operations of the company (Re'em, 2011).

In implementing this motivational method, the manager needs to define what the employee should do. It is up to the employee to determine the way of performing things under his responsibility. To put it in perspective, the manager should think about the employee as a deputy manager, or, better still, a co-manager. This way, the manager has to give his employees freedom for performing the details of their work in their own style and manner. Rather, the manager should focus on the bigger picture, the general image of the company. Meanwhile, the employee is left to work out the finer brass tacks of his or her tasks and implement it without much fuss (Re'em, 2011).

Autonomy gives the employee a sense of responsibility and maturity in his or her work. The employee becomes aware of the fact that the management has entrusted him or her with a noble responsibility. This way, the employee will strive to earn the approval of the company concerning the decisions he or she makes. So, the employee is motivated to do more than just sitting around and fulfilling routine; the employee becomes an active member of the decision making process of the company (Podmoroff, 2005).

Setting Goals

Setting goals is one of the most effective methods of increasing motivation among employees. Employees working towards achieving a set out goal are more likely to produce desired results than employees who work without a clear goal in mind. When a company undertakes to institute radical changes in its operations, the likelihood of employees being disoriented is heightened. Consequently, productivity of the employees may be compromised. In the event of transformational upheavals in the company, the management is obliged to make arrangements, to stabilize the employees psychologically. An effective way of doing this is to engage the employees in goal-setting exercises.

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The employees are encouraged to set both short and long-term goals. Studies conducted among medical professionals revealed that personal achievement was regarded the top motivator, while remuneration and job attributes followed it (Lambrou, Kontodimopoulos, & Niakas, 2010). When the employees make noticeable progress towards achieving the set goals, they gain confidence and feel motivated to continue striving towards the highest mark. Setting goals and achieving them is one of the most far-reaching ways of instilling motivation in employees.

Setting goals has a rejuvenating effect. It sharpens the focus of employees and gives them a yardstick against which they can measure the extent of their success. Setting goals somewhat neutralizes the lethargy with which employees face tasks. The difference in commitment and exertion that is witnessed between an employee who works towards a definite goal and another employee who works with no clear goal is tangible.

The motivational advantage that comes with goal setting is twofold. First, working towards clear-cut goals, as already elaborated, eliminates lethargy. Secondly, when one achieves the goals that he (or she) has previously set, he acquires the drive to stretch his ability further. Setting goals is, thus, extremely crucial to the motivation of employees. It is human nature to feel refreshed and reinvigorated when one achieves his or her goals. Shrewd management plays on this fundamental human behavior. Therefore, there is a motivational aspect of setting goals.


Establishing a system where employees can furnish the management with honest feedback without fear of victimization would also serve to motivate employees. Employees work better in an environment where they can freely express their views without the fear that such views will engender an undesirable backlash. Moreover, the management should be willing to act on the suggestions of the employees to enable cooperation. Motivation among employees is boosted when they are confident that the opinions they express will evoke positive action by the management. Finding timely solutions to problems experienced by the employees creates a free environment of work, and this is the key factor in motivating employees to work in the best way they can.

Motivating employees by this method requires patience on the managements side. When given a chance, employees can be brutally honest about what they loathe about the company. At times, they may even exaggerate trivial issues, blowing them out of proportion. They may make unreasonable demands on the management and get ready to hold the management accountable if those demands are not met. This calls for the patience of the managers. It demands humility and suppression of anger. The management must be ready to meet the employees halfway on their demands, unreasonable as they may be (Lauby, 2005).

For all its disadvantages, this is an effective method of motivating employees. Employees will work much better in an environment where they know that their views matter. Giving the employees a voice instills a sense of belonging, which is so crucial to their motivation.


When a radical change is implemented in an organization, employees may become disoriented and demoralized, making their productivity deteriorate. It is, therefore, necessary to employ appropriate motivational method in order to psyche them up. Among the most effective non-monetary motivational methods are: introducing autonomy into the operations of the company; setting goals; providing employees with an opportunity to interact with the management and give honest feedback. Implemented prudently, these motivational methods are very effective.

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