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Employee Motivation and Engagement Strategies

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Business Studies

Every organisation wants to maximise its employees' performance. But how can they do that? That's where employee motivation and engagement comes in. If the employee is motivated and engaged in their work, they are likely to perform better and bring more value to the organisation. But increasing employees' motivation and engagement is not a simple task-it rather requires a strategic approach to it.

Curious about employee motivation and engagement strategies? Read-on!

What are the employee motivation and engagement strategies?

Motivation is the employees' will to do something in terms of the level of energy, effort, creativity and commitment that they are willing to bring to the workplace. Motivation can be both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is when employees are motivated to work because it is enjoyable. While extrinsic motivation is when employees are motivated to achieve something because of the specific outcome such as promotion.

Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate to work for the organization and aim of achieving their goals. An employee is usually engaged in their role in the company if they have a sense of care towards it.

There are a few strategies aimed to maximise employee motivation and engagement.

The five-step strategy includes:

  1. Frequent and effective communication - Clear and effective communication is important in the organization. Ensuring that employees are aware and understand how their roles and responsibilities will contribute to the company's goal achievements, as well as suitable language is used to motivate and engage them.

  2. Ensuring employee participation - Employees must be active and participative in the workplace. This is the key to attaining organizational goals. Managers should build games and team building activities that can over time make employees feel more confident and participative.

  3. Coaching employees - This is an important step as by sharing various success stories, hiring an internal-external coach to motivate and engage employees will give them more will and encouragement to do well in their roles.

  4. Introducing creativity - It is important to make a change to employees daily routines and encourage them to think outside of the box and be creative. This way not only will employees be more motivated and engaged but employees may also discover innovations that will contribute to organizational success.

  5. Rewarding employees efforts and accomplishments - This technique is what will spark the employee's motivation and keep them engaged to do well in their role or a task. The reward will help employees perform better and aim to perform beyond set targets. The reward can be as simple as a voucher, gift card or certificate.

What is the difference between employee engagement and motivation?

Employee engagement and motivation are both important for employees to feel good in their workplace and create the most value for the organization. However, there are key differences between these two aspects:

Motivation - is a will to do something. It is the employee's motive to work hard to succeed in the workplace and feel that their work is meaningful. This can be shown in terms of the energy and creativity employees bring to the workplace through motivation and desire to succeed.

Engagement - is more of a feeling or belief. This is the employee's passion and commitment to the organization due to their appreciation and interest in the organization.

What are the employee engagement and motivation theories?

Various theories were developed to maximize employee motivation and engagement. In this section, the key motivation and engagement theories will be identified and explained.

Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs'

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is a motivation theory. This theory consists of a hierarchy involving five key steps from physiological needs (bottom of the hierarchy) to self-actualization (top of the hierarchy).

Employees feel engaged in the environment that is motivational for them to work in. Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory aims to achieve that by implementing step by step guidance of employee needs from the bottom to the top. Once the step at the bottom (see Figure 1 below) is attained, managers can aim to develop the work environment for employees at the higher ladder.

The employees may require more social interaction to be more motivated and engaged towards work. In this case, an employer must consider how to achieve the 'love and belonging' step. This can be done by incorporating more team activities or social events after work.

Motivating & Engaging Employees, what are the engagement and motivation theories, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, StudySmarterFigure 1. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, StudySmarter

Scientific management theory

Scientific management theory, also called Taylor's theory, was developed by famous theorist Fredric Taylor, who believed the main factor of employee engagement and motivation are monetary benefits.

Monetary benefits are identified as extrinsic motivation, as employees are motivated to achieve certain goals due to monetary rewards. Additionally, scientific management theory implements elements of the division of labour and specialisation in a particular role (see Figure 2 below). The scientific management theory is more suitable for increasing employee motivation rather than engagement.

Motivating & Engaging Employees, Scientific management theory, StudySmarterFigure 2. Scientific Management Theory, StudySmarter

Herzberg's 'motivation-hygiene' theory

Herzberg's theory is the motivation theory called Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory or Herzberg's two-factor theory.

Herzberg's theory includes two factors which are motivation and hygiene. The motivation factors are aimed to motivate and engage employees in the workplace. On the other hand, hygiene factors are maintenance factors that employees expect to receive in every workplace.

The different combinations of motivation and hygiene factors influence employees level of motivation and engagement towards work (see Figure 3 below). These combinations are:

High hygiene and high motivation - This is the combination that will make employees highly engaged and motivated towards their work.

High hygiene and low motivation - This combination will mean that the employees will still be going to work in the company and achieve set targets to keep their job. However, employees will not be motivated to achieve targets beyond the set expectations.

Low hygiene and high motivation - This is not the best situation for employees to be in. Even though employees may be motivated, if the minimum working conditions are not met employees may look for another job with better working conditions.

Low hygiene and low motivation - This is the worst combination. This can result in high staff turnover and high work dissatisfaction.

Motivating & Engaging Employees, Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, StudySmarterFigure 3. Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory, StudySmarter

Motivating and engaging employees for better business

The motivation and engagement of employees is important aspect for any company, as motivated and engaged employees will bring more value to the organization.

The largest international cable company Virgin Media¹ is a great example of how investing in employee motivation and engagement positively influenced business performance. The Virgin media's CEO Richard Branson believed in a philosophy whereby invested employees lead to happy customers.

Virgin media engaged and motivated their employees by:

  • Creating a fun environment for employees to work in

  • Ensured that employees have access to everything they need for self-actualization

  • Invest in employee training so they can develop their careers

  • Love and belonging - made sure that employees feel that they belong to the organization

  • Conduct an annual employee survey to see which aspects the company should improve on to increase employee engagement and motivation

As a result, the investment in employees brought better results to the organization. Moreover, Virgin media saw that 82% of its workforce in 2012 were engaged and motivated towards their work.

Improving motivation & engagement - key takeaways

  • Employee engagement and motivation are both important aspects in the workplace. If an employee is motivated and engaged they are likely to bring more value to the organization.

  • The 5 step motivation and engagement strategy is created to maximize motivation and engagement aspects. The 5 steps are: Frequent and effective communication, ensuring employee participation, coaching employees, introducing creativity, rewarding employees efforts and accomplishments.

  • There are three key employee motivation and engagement theories. They are Maslow's hierarchy of needs, scientific management theory and Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory.

  • Businesses need to invest in employees as motivated and engaged employees bring more value to the organization.

  • The difference between employee engagement and motivation is that motivation is an employee's drive to achieve something due to rewards or finding work meaningful. While engagement is an individual's passion and commitment that may occur due to the appreciation of the organisation.


SOURCES:

1. CareersHelp, Motivating and engaging employees for better business, 2021

Employee Motivation and Engagement Strategies

There are different ways the employer can keep their employees engaged and motivated. They can use different strategies such as 5 step employee engagement and motivation strategy or theories such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. 

Employee engagement is the individual passion and appreciation employees have for the organization because of its values. If they have high levels of engagement they will be more likely to be motivated to achieve organizational goals. 

Engagement is more of a feeling or belief while motivation is a will to do something. In practice, employee engagement is an individual commitment and appreciation to the organization. While motivation is when an employee is motivated to do something because they can achieve something or find it enjoyable and meaningful.

When employees are engaged and motivated in their workplace they are likely to stay loyal to it. Meaning that in an organisation in which employees are engaged and motivated, the staff turnover will be lower.

Final Employee Motivation and Engagement Strategies Quiz

Question

What is the meaning of Taylor’s scientific management theory?

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Answer

The scientific management theory is created to give managers guidance on how to manage and motivate employees. Taylor’s theory stresses that employees should be assigned to perform one specific task, scientific methods are used to find one best way to perform a task, managers directly supervise employees and employees are paid based on their performance. The main motivation factor for employees is monetary gains.

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Who is a key theorist of the scientific management theory?

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Answer

The key thinker of this theory is Fredrick Taylor.

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What are the key principles of Taylor’s theory?

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Answer

There are four principles of Taylor’s scientific management theory. That includes: 1)Scientific methods are used to discover the most efficient way to perform a task 2) Clear division of responsibilities 3) Performance-based pay 4) Rigid hierarchy and strict surveillance of employees.

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Question

How is Taylor’s scientific management theory is beneficial for businesses and employees?

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Answer

The key benefits of this theory for the company and employees are that per-unit costs are reduced due to the large scale production. Better quality products are produced as employees are each specialised to perform a specific task and wages are higher for the hardworking employees.

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What are the key advantages of scientific management theory?


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Answer

 The key advantages of Taylor’s theory are:

  • Increased production, 

  • managers are being in control of their workforce, 

  • The cost of production is reduced,

  • The performance-based payment system 

  • Reduced inaccuracy. 

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How is being in control identified as an advantage?

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Answer

This is an advantage for managers as they can have control of employees and be exactly aware of their work performance. For managers, it makes it easier to monitor employees.

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What are the key disadvantages of Taylor’s scientific management theory?

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Answer

The key disadvantages of Taylor’s scientific management theory are: 

  • This management approach is a costly method 
  • Control of employees may reduce their creativity and motivation towards work.
  • Workers are alienated
  • Unemployment increases as workers can be easily replaced by new technologies 
  • Employees are deskilled

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 Who is the main critic of Taylor’s theory?

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Answer

 Harry Braverman

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What are the critiques of Taylor’s theory?

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Answer

 The critiques of this theory are:

  • Deskilling of employees, 
  • Separation of conception,
  • Execution, monopoly over knowledge. 

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Question

What type of business follows a scientific management theory?

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Answer

The scientific management theory is usually implemented in businesses that follow a bureaucratic management structure. Examples of industries include manufacturing plants, car industries, some hospitals and fast food chains.

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 How does Mcdonald’s use Taylor’s theory in daily operations?

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Answer

Mcdonald’s is a real-life example of an industry that follows scientific management theory in its daily functions. That includes workers being divided into separate tasks to make a burger. For example, one worker grills meat, another puts condiments, packs and other workers are responsible for serving customers and handling payments.

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Question

What is the meaning of Herzberg’s theory?

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Answer

 Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory consists of both motivation and hygiene factors. The motivation factors are there for employees to be engaged and motivated to work. While hygiene is an essential factor that employees expect to receive in every workplace.

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Question

What are the key differences between Taylor’s and Herzberg’s theories?

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Answer

The key differences between Taylor’s and Herzberg theories are:

  •  Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory stated that employees are motivated by other things than money and Taylor’s theory states that employees are motivated only by monetary gains.
  • Herzberg’s theory concentrates on investing in employee motivation and engagement while Taylor’s theory raises importance in investing in new technology and scientific methodology. 
  • Herzberg’s theory concentrates that employees tasks are adjusted that they bring motivation and engagement to employees. While Taylor’s theory focuses on controlling employees and assigning them to specialised tasks.



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Question

 What is Maslow's theory?

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Answer

Maslow's theory is a motivation theory. This theory is called the hierarchy of needs theory.

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Question

What are the levels of needs in Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory?

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Answer

Maslow's theory includes five levels which are:

  • Psychological needs (bottom)
  • Safety
  • Love and belonging 
  • Esteem
  • Self-actualization (top)

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Question

What categories does each level of needs fall into?

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Answer

Each level of needs falls into one of three different categories. Which are Basic needs - Physiological and safety needs. Psychological needs - Love and belonging and esteem needs. Self-fulfilment - self-actualization.

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Question

 What level may not be achieved by all human beings?

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Answer

The level of self-actualization may not be achieved by everyone as it is not an essential need as not everyone will be able to be aware of their true potential and ability to achieve their ideal self.

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Question

In a business context, how does Maslow's theory want to motivate employees?

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Answer

Maslow's theory will motivate employees as employees will be motivated to work and earn money to achieve basic needs. Later employees will be motivated to make social connections at work and gain respect from co-workers as they get promoted in their job, etc. Later, some employees can realize their true potential of achieving senior roles. These factors will motivate employees towards working hard. 

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What are the key strengths of Maslow's theory?

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Answer

The key strengths of Maslow's theory are that theory is simple to understand, acknowledges human nature and is relevant in all fields.

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What are the key weaknesses of Maslow's theory?

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The weaknesses of Maslow's theory are that theory fails to acknowledge that humans come from different cultural and social backgrounds and that people can be motivated by intrinsic rewards. Additionally, that the achievement of needs cannot be measured empirically.

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Why is Maslow's theory simple to understand for the majority?

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Answer

 Maslow's theory is easy to understand as the majority of individuals can emphasize with this theory. For example, low-skilled workers may be concerned about earning a salary to satisfy basic needs such as food and shelter. While senior executives will be aiming to achieve their ideal self by attaining self-actualization needs.

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Question

What are the key differences between Maslow's and Herzberg's theories?

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Answer

The key differences between Herzberg's and Maslow's motivation theories are: That Maslow's theory focuses on achieving human needs while Herzberg's focuses on reward, recognition and employment conditions. Moreover, Maslow's theory is organized from basic to higher needs. While Herzberg's theory does not have a specific structure and only focuses on the higher needs. Maslow's theory believes that satisfaction comes from the fulfilment of needs while Herzberg's theory acknowledges factors that cause satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

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Question

 What is the difference of how Maslow's and Herzberg's theory is presented?

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Answer

The difference in how theories are presented is that Maslow's theory is presented in the hierarchical order. Basic needs are at the bottom and higher-level needs are at the top of the hierarchy. Herzberg's motivation theory has two categories of motivation and hygiene factors, which are not presented in any specific order.

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Question

 What are the two ways to call Herzberg’s theory?

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Answer

Herzberg’s theory has two different names. Firstly, it can be called Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory. Secondly, it can also be named Herzberg’s two-factor theory.

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Question

 What are the hygiene factors of Herzberg’s theory?


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Answer

 Hygiene factors are maintenance factors that do not necessarily add additional motivation to employees but these factors prevent employees from being dissatisfied. Example of these factors is salary, working conditions, policies, supervision, etc.

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Question

 Why in Herzberg’s theory motivation factors are important?


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Answer

 Motivation factors are important as these factors add motivation and engagement to employees. According to Herzberg’s these factors will engage employees and motivate them to work harder. Example of these factors includes a sense of achievement, responsibility, interest in work etc. 



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Question

 In Herzberg’s theory is salary a motivation factor?


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Answer

The answer is no, salary is a hygiene factor. In Herzberg’s theory salary is not directly related to employees’ motivation however the absence of appropriate salary can cause employees’ dissatisfaction.

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Question

What is the example of the implementation of hygiene factors in the workplace?


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Answer

An example of hygiene factor implementation in the workplace is when a company removes or improves poor company policies, improves working conditions, introduces competitive or higher salaries, provides job security etc.

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Why should the workplace implement motivation factors?


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Answer

The workplace should implement motivation factors as these factors will engage and motivate employees towards work and make them want to work harder. These factors include growth and development opportunities for employees, making work interesting and engaging etc.

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Question

 What are the key advantages of Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory?


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Answer

The key advantages of Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory are direct focus on employee motivation, the company’s ability to solve problems faced by employees and monetary benefits considered as a secondary source of motivation.



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Question

How is considering monetary benefits not as a primary motivation factor an advantage?


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Answer

Other theories or managers may have a belief that monetary factors are the ones that increase employees’ motivation. However, according to Herzberg’s theory monetary benefits do not directly motivate employees and instead prevent workers’ dissatisfaction. Therefore, only focusing on implementing monetary benefits as a primary motivation factor may not be successful. Herzberg found that motivation factors other than monetary benefits such as promotion, recognition, interest in work and advancement are the ones that increase employee motivation and engagement.

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Question

What are the key disadvantages of Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory?


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Answer

The key disadvantages of Herzberg’s theory are: Herzberg’s theory does not consider differences in people’s social and cultural backgrounds and external factors are not considered. Additionally, Herzberg’s theory does not consider that employee job satisfaction and work efficiency are not directly related. 



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Question

 In Herzberg’s theory, how is not consideration of external factors a disadvantage?


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Answer

Herzberg’s theory does not consider that external factors can impact employees’ satisfaction and dissatisfaction at work. For example, if competitor organisations provide higher salaries for employees than your business it may cause employees to be dissatisfied and unmotivated towards work.

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Question

What do incentives mean?

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Answer

Incentives are rewards and techniques that are used to motivate employees to encourage certain behaviours that are beneficial to the businesses 

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What are different incentives?

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Answer

The different incentive kinds are identified as Financial and Non-financial incentives.

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Question

How long are the Long term incentive plans (LTIPs)?

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Answer

The long term incentive plans usually last from 2 to 5 years.

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Question

What are the examples of LTIPs?


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Answer

The common examples of LTIPs are retirement and stock option plans.

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Question

What is the example of compensation incentives?

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Answer

 An example of a compensation incentive is when the sales manager uses bonuses to encourage employees to sell more company’s products or services. 

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Question

What kind of roles do people who receive commission-based incentives usually have? 

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Answer

Usually in sales or similar roles where employees are focused on maximising the sold units of companies products and services.

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Question

Why is it important to evaluate incentives?

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Answer

Evaluation of incentives is an important process as it can assist business managers in choosing the best-fitted incentive packages for the employees.

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Do all employees receive benefits or only the highest achieving ones?

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Answer

All employees will receive benefits as soon as their start working for the company. These benefits can be in a form of private insurance plans or free meals provided by the company.

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What are the common types of benefits?

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Answer

The common type of benefits are:

  • Pension plans
  • Private health insurance plans
  • Free meals at work
  • Paid sick days or vacation
  • Flexible remote or work from home options 


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Question

What are the key differences between incentives and benefits?

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Answer

The key differences between incentives and benefits are:

  • Incentives are communicated to employees on the job when specific targets are set. While the benefits are mentioned in the job advertisements and employees will receive them as soon as they start their job. 
  • Only the best-achieving employees will receive incentives therefore they are motivated to work harder. On the other hand, all employees will receive employment benefits and this is to motivate talents to join the organisation and stay loyal to it.


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Question

Are bonuses forward or backwards-looking?

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Answer

Bonuses are backwards-looking.

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Question

 If employees have worked hard are they definite to receive bonuses?

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Answer

The answer is no because bonuses are only decided by managers regarding the employees’ past performances. If the company has the means and managers believe that employees worked hard enough to receive a bonus, bonuses will be issued to employees.


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Question

What are the key differences between incentives and bonuses?

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Answer

The key differences are:

  • Bonuses are unexpected and backwards-looking while incentives are forward-looking and communicated to employees.
  •  Bonuses cannot be an incentive while incentives can be forward-looking bonuses. 
  • Bonuses usually come in cash or another monetary form while incentives can include both financial and non-financial rewards. 
  • Bonuses are there to share the company’s profits with the best-achieving employees while incentives are there to encourage employees motivation and loyalty.


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Question

What are the key types of financial incentives?

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Answer

The key types of financial incentives include:

  • Piece rate system,
  • Commissions,
  • Salary schemes,
  • Performance-related pay,
  • Profit-sharing.

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Question

What is meant by financial incentives?

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Answer

Financial incentives are the monetary rewards usually offered by businesses to employees once they achieve the set targets or goals.

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What is meant by non-financial incentives?

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Answer

Non-financial incentives are aimed at improving employees’ performance by offering them non-monetary motivational methods.

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Question

What are the key types of non-financial incentives?

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Answer

The key types of non-financial incentives include:

  • Job enlargement (Job rotation, job enrichment)
  • Empowering employees
  • Working in teams.

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