4 ways to Influence Employee Motivation

4 Ways To Motivate Employees

Our workplace landscape

For anyone managing people in the workplace, in the past couple of years, they’ve experienced unprecedented challenges. As we navigate the new normal many HR and business leaders are focused on attracting and retaining talent and preventing the costly impact of excessive staff turnover.

Loyalty has come under fire and there’s unprecedented skilled-employee demand. People are seeking out better workplace conditions, remuneration, and professional growth opportunities at unprecedented rates.

How can we best ensure we become a workplace of choice?

By respecting individual employee needs and offering safe, purpose driven, and engaging work are no longer nice to haves for organisations. Rather, they’re critical elements to get right. If fact, organisational success and growth, and business profitability absolutely rely on it. So, first we have to take a step back and ask:

Why do individual employees behave the way they do? Why do they perform well or poorly in the workplace? 

These questions are the Holy Grail and the subject of much research dedicated to organisational behaviour. Let’s unpack these questions a little then. Let’s drill down into employee behaviour, and what motivates them, by considering two ideas.

MARS Model 

The MARS model is a useful starting point for which to understand the drivers of individual employee behaviour.
Understanding the four factors can help us to decode an individual’s voluntary behaviour. This directly correlates with their performance in your workplace.
Firstly, it’s crucial to understand that these 4 factors are influenced by an employees individual characteristics. They include: values, personality, perceptions, emotions and attitudes, and stress.
Here’s the 4 elements:
  1. Motivation – the forces within an employee that effect their direction (goal orientation), intensity (amount of effort) and persistence (sustained effort or commitment) of voluntary behaviour.
  2. Ability – both an employees natural aptitudes and the learned capabilities to successful complete their tasks.
  3. Role perceptions – employees understand the specific roles assigned to them, the relative importance of their role, and the preferred behaviours required to accomplish their tasks. 
  4. Situational factors – situations beyond the employee’s immediate control that constrain or facilitate their behaviour and performance.

These elements directly inform your workforce’s individual task performance, organisational citizenship, counterproductive work behaviours, joining and staying with the organisation, and work attendance and engagement.


Four-Drive Theory

Still relevant over a decade later, Harvard Business School’s Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria’s four-drive theory effectly explains human motivation (drive).
Let’s look at the 4-drive categories and consider how identifying and leveraging these can help business leaders improve workplace relationships and create more healthy, productive, and profitable operations.
The 4 Employee Drivers
  1. Drive to ACQUIRE – employees who seek, take, control, and retain objects and personal experiences. This extends to these individuals desiring relative status and recognition in society. To motivate these employees: offer and facilitate opportunities for them to progress professionally, and reach a higher position.
  2. Drive to BOND – employees who form relationships with others and develop mutual caring commitments. This explains why these individuals align themselves with internal social groups, which helps form their social identities. To motivate these employees: employees with this driver are crucial to the success of your organisation. Create opportunities for these employees to contribute to committees, innovative groups, or HR type initiatives.   
  3. Drive to LEARN – employees who value learning, are curious to know and understand themselves and the workplace environment. When faced with something inconsistent with or beyond their knowledge they experience tension and work to close that information gap. To Motivate these employees: negotiate a clear capability building plan for these employees. This will ensure they have opportunities to learn, develop and grow personally and professionally.
  4. Drive to DEFEND – employees focussed on protecting themselves physically and socially. Be aware, this drive is reactive and they will defend their relationships, acquisitions, relationships, and knowledge (opinions). To Motivate these employees: you need to manage them strategically, always have all the information when addressing something with them and aim to communicate your intentions clearly and concisely, so they’re not triggered to react. 

Here’s a video to recap if need be.

Leading with this information

The MARS model and Four-drive theory offers business leaders a reliable framework to explore any employee’s motivation drivers. Better understanding an employee’s personal characteristics and drive increases your emotional intelligence.

Being able to predict and design the desirable conditions that motivate employees will ensure they are more engaged, productive, and more likely to be loyal to your organisation.

The result of offering a workplace that values healthier workplace conditions, and professional growth opportunities are far more likely to attract and retain the best people. This means less dramas for everyone, a more productive and harmonious workplace, and guaranteed increased profitability.

How does your workplace stack up?

Whether your business has 50 or 2500 employees, it’s tricky to maintain staff wellbeing & performance. Getting this right will significantly minimise day-to-day operational disruptions and ensure optimal business profitability. 

Are you seeking an affordable, customised, solution that would safeguard your employee’s and business’ performance?

How can we help you?

We work closely with workplaces to best safeguard your workforce’s performance. We aim to ensure your organisation is better prepared for, able to respond more skilfully to, and recover more quickly from complex issues negatively affecting productivity.

Contact us, join our community, or stay connected via e-mail or our socials (below on this page) to receive free resources and the latest in workplace trends.

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