Keeping Your Employees Motivated from a Business Perspective

0 comments, 07/03/2015, by , in General

Happy BusinessmanOne of the biggest mistakes many directors and business owners make is to try to keep their employees motivated on a personal level. This never works as the employee begins viewing his superiors as friends and not as ‘the boss.’ The way to keep your employees motivated should always be from a business perspective so that everything is geared towards company success as well as employee satisfaction.

Two-Sided Approach to Employee Motivation

According to a renowned news organisation in the US, the Harvard Business Review, keeping employees motivated should be approached from two directions:

  • Understanding their personal drives and ambitions.
  • Meeting those drives from an organisational perspective.

Once a director/manager understands what the basic motivations are, that is to say what drives an employee, they can begin to meet those needs in order to keep their employees motivated.

What Motivates an Employee? The Four Psychological Drives

If you can finally figure out what motivates an employee, you should be able to address those ‘needs’ in order to kindle a fire for optimal performance. These emotional drives are basically the drive to:

  • Acquire
  • Bond
  • Understand
  • Defend

From a psychological perspective, everyone is driven by the need to acquire not only those goods that meet our daily needs, but those which are scarce as well. We are also social creatures and have the need to bond with others like ourselves, to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is part of our nature to have an understanding of the world going on around us, and this includes the work environment as it is an important segment of our lives.

Finally, we are driven to defend that which we feel is ours. If an employee feels that his or her job is in jeopardy, the drive to defend kicks in. For some that means fighting for what they feel is rightfully theirs whilst others will just give up the fight – the fight or flight response.

Meeting Those Drives from an Organisational Perspective

Now that the four basic drives are understood, how can you, as an employer, respond so that you motivate your employees to excel? Here are some suggestions which might help you become a supreme motivator!


Employees who are driven by the need to acquire respond quite well to bonuses and rewards. The more financial incentives and personal opportunities for advancement you can offer, the better your chances will be of motivating an employee driven by this need.

Teamwork & Socialisation

Someone who feels the need to belong to a group, something larger than themselves, will often thrive as part of a group. Motivate these types of personalities by placing them within a key group, stressing the importance of their work in terms of the whole organisation.

Job Parameters

Those who have the intrinsic need to understand the meaning behind their jobs would perform well when given jobs that are not only meaningful but challenging to them. Give them a hand in trying to make sense of what they are doing, why it is important and how to make it better for all involved. Help them to understand their role within the company.

Company Response to the Defence Mechanism

How you, as an employer, responds to an employee’s defence mechanism is super important. You don’t want to let the employee make his or her own rules simply to keep them from being defensive however you don’t want them to take flight either. It is suggested that you develop a strategy for hearing what the employee has to say, why they are feeling defensive and to address these issues on a one-on-one basis.

Even so, there must be company guidelines to follow so your employees should be led to understand why things are the way they are. There is no need to get defensive as these are the same rules everyone follows.

Once you have learned the art of responding to the emotional needs of employees on an individual basis, you can motivate them to do their best at all times and in all situations. It just takes a bit of basic psychology to get a handle on it.

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