Motivation at work: what does it mean?

Motivation at work is what keeps us active, and above all, productive when completing our tasks. It boosts our commitment and makes us deliver our best skills to our company’s mission statements. It is the goal that drives us, motivates us, connects us to the task, and leads to higher performance. 

In this sense, motivation at work is an energy that keeps us connected to the task even when it is very tedious or difficult. How do we achieve this? Because we have a cause, something valuable to strive for, a powerful “what” for which we overcome whatever it takes. This is how we find the “how”, the “we go on”, the “how we move forward”.

What do we mean when we talk about motivation at work

That is what we mean when we talk about motivation at work: the hope, expectation, or satisfaction of some kind when we realize that being there will allow us to achieve something in the future, in the short, medium, or even very long term. 

For example, I am saving for a big trip around the world so, although I don’t like my job very much, thinking about my travel project and savoring in advance all that it will bring me keeps me focused on my task, helps me to get down to it because it is what will give me the means to be able to carry it out. Either I don’t like my job or I don’t find it very interesting, but the thought that by working here I will be able to pay for my studies or contribute to my family’s economy gives me enough satisfaction to do my best and to do as little lazing around as possible. 

In other words, motivation -of whatever kind, including work motivation– has to do with that cause that moves us in a particular direction that is valuable to us. We call this cause a motive, i.e. it is the driving force behind our behavior, which enables us to continue working even when conditions are not very favorable and are demotivating. 

Therefore, motivation at work is related to what drives us to achieve something we desire through work, or to satisfy a need through work: economic need, personal fulfillment, personal achievement, personal growth, compensation for some shortcoming or grievance of the past, time, company or fun (when all else fails, what motivates me is to share the task and time with my colleagues). Actually, in most cases, the barrier between the achievement of a goal and the satisfaction of a need is quite blurred. 

Thus, as employees, we must be aware of our motives for working, i.e., what drives us daily to give our best -or at least what we can deliver- in a given position, not to leave the company or to go beyond what is asked of us.

Mistakes when managing the work motivation of your employees 

When managing teams or designing a corporate social benefits strategy, we must bear in mind that the company’s workforce is not a monolithic whole. People are very similar to each other, but we are also very different in certain respects. 

That is why you must keep in mind four possible mistakes you can make when it comes to boosting your team’s motivation at work:

-Thinking that people are only motivated by money.

-Thinking that positive verbal reinforcement is enough for people.

-Thinking that the same reward will motivate all employees equally.

-Thinking that what motivates an employee during one season will always motivate them.

In reality, although we can consider there are universal incentives and motivators, we should not always entrust our reward policy to the same single card. Motivation at work is not the same for everyone, nor is it the same all the time for any given person.

When it comes to performing a particular job, the more motivating factors present, the better. This is what makes a particular job or company more attractive. It also greatly encourages inbound recruiting and increases the likelihood that talent will be retained. 

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