Misty103 is a pen name for a psychology graduate who enjoys writing about and sharing psychology knowledge.
In my previous job as an after school, counselor the director and assistant director often tried different ways to motivate the staff. One workplace initiative that was intended to improve workforce motivation was including the after school staff in the annual teacher appreciation week. During that week the teachers would typically receive gifts and fun activities from the school district and, in an attempt to improve morale, the director worked to get the after school staff included and participating in the program. The week was designed to help increase staff motivation by showing appreciation from the school district. This appreciation was shown through gifts of sweets, tumbler cups, and new work shirts; additionally sometimes the week would also include activities like counselor vs counselor sports matches. The staff all embraced their inclusion in this week and it served to improve the motivational levels of the staff.
Environmental factors can have a large influence on workplace motivation. Maslow’s (1954) Hierarchy of Needs theory is based upon the proposed classification of basic needs, which include: physiological, safety and security, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. The bottom most tiers of Maslow’s theory represent some environmental factors which can influence motivation. An individual’s feelings of safety and security are one of the environmental factors which can greatly affect his or her motivational levels (Maslow, 1954). For example, if a person works in an environment that they feel is dirty, unsafe, and/or in which they are at risk of losing their job, then their motivation will likely be low. Whereas a person who feels secure in their job, has a clean work environment, and feels safe at work will likely have a higher level of motivation.
Creating a ‘Fun’ Workplace
It has been found that incorporating fun in the workplace can have an influence on motivation, morale, and productivity. Hazelton (2014) noted that positive emotions contribute to productivity and that positive emotions tend to be generated by fun working experiences. Hazelton (2014) also found that having a fun workplace filled with positive emotions could assist in generating creativity, resilience, and good relationships, which in turn can improve productivity. Motivation, morale, and productivity can be improved in some workplaces through the use of competitions that offer monetary and nonmonetary prizes (Hammermann & Mohnen, 2014). Such competitions can assist in creating a fun work environment, which can act as a cleansing tool that can bring together groups of employees (Bruce, 2012).
Change Resistance or Acceptance
When it comes to change in the workplace, there are three main responses employees have: resistance, acceptance, or indifference (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). In many cases the response of the employees depend primarily on the change itself, their perception of the change, and the method in which they learn about the change (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). For example, if a person just learned that their entire workplace was being relocated to a new building from a fellow employee who was disgruntled by the news, then their perception might be more change resistant than if they had been notified directly by their manager. Once an employee becomes aware of a change, they typically go through a set of change management context stages: discovery, denial, resistance, and acceptance (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). These stages can differ between individuals as not all people will reach the acceptance stage and some people might not care enough about the change to experience any of the stages besides discovery and acceptance.
Motivational Approaches to Change Resistance
Change resistance can be mitigated, controlled, and/or reduced with the use of motivational approaches. The discovery phase should be handled carefully as employees should not just find out about changes by word of mouth, but instead through a specialized communication plan (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). The denial phase should be handled by providing employees with detailed information about the change, a method of which they can communicate difficulties with the change, and a way for the employees to get all their questions answered (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). The resistance stage should be handled be assisting the employees in envisioning the positive ways in which the change can benefit them or the lack of ways in which it will impact their daily work lives. The acceptance stage should be reached once the change has been implemented and some form of positive action should be taken towards the employees whom the change effected to help celebrate its implementation and assist in giving it a positive feel (Laframboise, Nelson, & Schmaltz, 2003). These strategies, if utilized correctly for each of the change management context stages, can assist in helping to keep employees motivated during the process and helping them to become motivated about the change.
Bruce, A. (2012). Chapter 5. In A manager’s guide to motivating employees (Second ed., pp. 53-72). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hammermann, A., & Mohnen, A. (2014). The pric(z)e of hard work: Different incentive effects of non-monetary and monetary prizes. Journal of Economic Psychology, 43, 1–15.
Hazelton, S. (2014). Positive emotions boost employee engagement: Making work fun brings individual and organizational success. Human Resource Management International Digest, 22(1), 34–37.
Laframboise, D., Nelson, R. L., & Schmaltz, J. (2003). Managing resistance to change in workplace accommodation projects. Journal of Facilities Management, 1(4), 306.
Maslow, A. H. (1954) Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.