From Burnout to Bliss

From Burnout to Bliss
Written By: Clinical Psychologist
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 03-01-2024

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Building Sustainable Motivation

Employee motivation at work is thought to be a crucial catalyst for an organization s success since it encourages productive performance. Employers rely on their employees performance to meet their organization s goals. Yet, even when they are skilled, people who lack motivation perform poorly. Therefore, rather than just turning up at work, employers want their staff to work with total motivation.

As it explains the reasons behind individual behavior in companies, work motivation is still a key component of organizational psychology. As a result, research on the elements that promote motivation at work can advance the theoretical foundations of the individual and actual social situations that maximize people s wellbeing and performance.

"A set of energetic forces that originate both within and beyond an individual s being, to initiate work-related behavior, and to determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration" is how work motivation is defined. According to Nicolescu and Verboncu (2008), employee performance is influenced both directly and indirectly by work motivation. Furthermore, studies have suggested that good energy from the workplace may be viewed as a source of inspiration that helps workers recognize and fulfill their own potential. As a result, both individual self-actualization and organizational success are antecedents of work drive.

The term "motivation" refers to the process of encouraging, motivating, and enabling workers to give their all. Since motivation is a psychological concept, it cannot be imposed on workers. Employees naturally possess it since it is their willingness to perform the work.

The concept of Employee Motivation consists of the following: 

1. Motive: A motive is an internal feeling or desire that spurs someone to act in a way that advances their goals. Individual wants are the source of motivation. when a person starts to exhibit motivation. He becomes restless because he wants to achieve his goal. For instance, the desire to make money motivates someone to look for employment. People look for food in order to satiate their hunger.

2. Inspiration: In order to achieve the goal, everyone must be persuaded to give their all.

3. Incentives: The rewards or strategies employed to inspire employees inside an organization are known as motivators. Managers frequently employ incentives including raises, bonuses, promotions, respect, and recognition.

Features/Characteristics/Nature of Motivation

1. Motivation Is an Internal Feeling: Since motivation is an internal phenomenon, it cannot be imposed on workers. Human behavior is influenced by internal feelings such as need, desire, aspirations, and so forth. For instance, the yearning for a new home, acceptance and esteem, etc.

2. Motivation Generates Goal-Directed Behavior: People are motivated to act in a way that will help them reach their objectives. A motivated person doesn t require guidance or supervision. He will always carry out the desired tasks. For instance, if someone s goal is to advance, they will work diligently to do so.

3. Both positive and negative motivators are possible: Managers deploy a variety of motivators to encourage staff members. There are both positive and bad motivators. Positive motivators include things like promotions, pay raises, bonuses, respect, and recognition, to name a few. When an employee fails to improve his performance with positive motivators, the management will utilize negative motivators including warnings, memos, demotions, and suspensions from increments, among other things. A person may occasionally be motivated to behave in a desired way by their dread of negative motivators.

4. Motivation is a Difficult Process: The process of becoming motivated is challenging and complex. A manager needs to be aware of the many kinds of human wants in order to inspire employees. Human needs are quantifiable mental states that can be measured. If the management measures them correctly, then each person satisfies his needs in a unique way as well. Financial incentives satisfy some people, non-financial incentives satisfy others, while positive and negative motivators satisfy still others. Thus, generalizing about motivation is not conceivable.

5. Motivation is a Continuous and Dynamic Process: People are always evolving. Human wants are limitless and constantly evolving. When one need is met, another one arises, therefore managers must constantly motivate staff members.

Importance of Motivation

1. Positive attitudes can be changed from negative ones with motivation: employees who lack motivation will attempt to complete the bare minimum of tasks inside the company. However, the drive satisfies the need to give one s all on the job. Unless and until the employees use the organization s resources, none of them are useful. The most effective utilization of the resources is made by driven workers.

2. Motivation raises employee performance levels: Because motivated workers always strive for optimal resource utilization, motivation raises employee efficiency levels, which means workers begin completing tasks to the best of their abilities with the least amount of time and resources wasted. The ability to work and the willingness to work are connected by motivation, and wanting to work consistently increases efficiency.

3. Assists in Achieving the Organizational Goal: Motivated workers constantly strive to realize the organization s goal and give it their all because they understand that only by achieving the organization s goal will they be able to achieve their own. Every employee makes a contribution toward the common aim of goal accomplishment.

4. Motivation Fosters a Supportive Work Environment: Motivation constantly enhances the relationships between superiors and subordinates. Employees always provide a helping hand to superiors when their needs are met or when they receive respect and recognition within the company. The organization is more coordinated and cooperative, and every employee operates as a team.

5. Motivation assists managers in implementing changes: Employees that are motivated are more open to accepting changes that align with shifts in the business environment. This is because they understand that if changes are not implemented, not only will the organization suffer, but employees will also have difficulty meeting their needs. Motivated workers are consistently helpful and cooperative.

6. Decrease in Employee Turnover: Employees are more confident to have their demands met by the organization itself thanks to motivation. Instead of leaving the company and making more money elsewhere, they always choose to stay and grow their income within the organization. Employee turnover is reduced when there is motivation since contented workers never quit.

As a psychological phenomenon, motivation is greatly influenced by the demands of the workforce. Understanding Maslow s Need Hierarchy Theory is essential to comprehending human wants.

The Need Hierarchy Theory of Maslow. Need or want is a key component of motivation since employees are only driven when their needs are met; if their needs are fully met, it is impossible to inspire more motivation in them. Maslow has provided the following hierarchy or sequence of needs:

1. Physiological Needs: These needs cover the necessities for sustaining and surviving human life. The three basic physiological demands are clothes, food, and shelter. The reason the employees are at the top of the hierarchy is because they create these demands in order to survive. When the employers provide monetary incentives, these demands can be met.

2. Safety and Security Needs: After one s immediate physiological demands are met, one begins to consider their future and wants to ensure that they will continue to meet their needs for safety and security in the future.

There are two categories under safety and security:

(a) Physical Safety. It denotes protection against disease, mishap, fire, etc.

(b) Economic Safety. Which translates to having enough money to cover future physiological demands and escape a physical security threat?

Individuals who require greater protection and security tend to be actively motivated by financial rewards.

3. Necessities of Society Resilience/Need for belonging: It denotes the necessity of love, affection, friendship, and company. People s social demands become more active once their physiological and safety needs are met. Managers encourage teamwork and host both official and informal get-togethers to help staff members build social networks.

4. Esteem Needs: These demands are associated with being respected and acknowledged. People begin to demand respect for themselves in a group setting once the first three criteria are met. Higher level employees are more likely to have this demand. Non-monetary incentives can be used to meet someone s requirements for self-esteem.

5. Needs for Self-Actualization: These needs deal with achieving your life s goals or realizing them. The employee s actualization requirement will be satisfied after he achieves his desired outcomes.

For instance, a soldier appears to recognize the desire for self-actualization when he heroically takes an enemy bullet.

Assumptions of Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory:

1. People s behavior is determined by their needs. By meeting their needs, humans might be driven or have their behavior altered.

2. In general, needs are met in accordance with the Hierarchy, beginning with physiological needs.

An incentive is a financial or non-financial compensation given to staff members in exchange for their more productive contributions. Extra money or something greater than the usual income or rate can be used as an incentive.

Because it pushes workers to increase their productivity and meet goals, incentives are an excellent stimulant or motivator. The two most typical categories of rewards are:

Financial or Monetary Incentives

Monetary incentives are rewards or incentives that can be valued in monetary terms. Employees with higher levels of physiological, social, and security needs are eligible for these incentives. The typical financial rewards are:

1. Salary and Perquisites: Annual pay increases on a regular basis and the provision of an allowance serve as effective incentives. Increases in salary and benefits are correlated with an employee s performance in certain organizations. To be eligible for a raise and allowance, employees must work as hard as they can.

2. Distribution of Profits: As a frequent incentive to motivate staff to work effectively, organizations give employees a portion of the profits. In most profit-sharing plans, the employers set a predetermined percentage of profit, and if earnings above that threshold, any excess profit is divided among the staff members. In order for them to receive a portion of the company s profits, it motivates staff members to work hard and boost profits.

3. Co-Partnership/Stock Option: Employees do not acquire ownership rights by sharing profits. Many businesses provide their staff with a profit-sharing plan and a management or participation share in order to incentivize them to work efficiently. Shares are issued as a co-partnership upon meeting a predetermined goal.

4. Bonus: A one-time additional payment given to staff members in recognition of exceptional work. Employees typically receive bonuses, which are additional payments made when they meet or surpass their goals. Bonuses are also awarded in the form of paid holidays, free international travel, gold, etc. Certain companies implement a bonus-giving program around holidays (such as Diwali, Christmas, and New Year s).

5. Commission: One typical perk provided to staff members in the sales department is commission. In addition to their base pay, salespeople typically receive commission on each transaction. Salespeople s pay is strongly correlated with the amount of work they do. A higher commission is derived from more orders.

6. Suggestion System: If an employee s suggested improvement benefits the organization, the employee receives compensation. For instance, if a worker proposes a production method that saves money and the company is able to lower costs using that method, the worker will receive more compensation for their recommendation.

The gain or benefit that the organization receives from the proposal determines how much of a reward or payment is offered to the employee under the suggestion system. It s a great way to maintain employees high levels of initiative.

7. Wage Incentives and Productivity: Different wage rate plans exist. which, for instance, provide higher salaries for more productivity—efficient workers receive higher pay than inefficient workers under the differential piece wages system? Workers labor efficiently in order to receive higher income.

8. Retirement Benefits: In order to encourage employees, some organizations provide retirement benefits like pensions, provident funds, gratuities, etc. These rewards are appropriate for workers that require security and safety.

9. Bonuses/Extra Benefits/Requirements: It alludes to certain advantages like access to healthcare, free public schooling for kids, and housing, among others. These perks come with no compensation attached. These additional rewards are correlated with employee performance.

Non-financial/non-monetary incentives

Employees that require more self-actualization and self-esteem than money will only be satisfied with non-monetary incentives. Money is not the only motivator.

Non-monetary incentives are those that aren t able to be valued in monetary terms. Individuals with high employment positions or ranks typically find non-monetary incentives satisfactory. The typical methods or approaches for non-cash rewards are:

1. Status: Status describes a person s position, power, duty, status, and recognition in their line of work. Managers can instill a sense of self-actualization and respect in their staff by granting them a greater status or rank inside the company.

2. The relationship between superiors and subordinates is referred to as the organizational climate. These are the attributes that characterize an organization. A member s behavior is directly influenced by these qualities. A manager that adopts a positive attitude improves the atmosphere in the organization, whereas a bad approach could ruin it. When there is a positive work environment, employees are always motivated.

3. Progression in Career: Managers are required to give staff members opportunities for advancement. Employees strive to increase their proficiency and effectiveness whenever there are prospects for advancement, with the expectation of receiving high-level promotions. One of the main stimulants or motivators that drives people to give their best work is promotion.

4. Employment Enrichment/Assignment of Difficult Jobs: Workers become disinterested in their usual tasks. They like working at professions that are varied and provide them the chance to demonstrate their abilities. Employees are satisfied and motivated when they are given interesting, challenging, and autonomous work. A stimulating, difficult, and interesting work in and of itself is a great motivator.

5. Recognition of Employees: Giving special attention or respect to subordinates involves satisfying their egos. This is known as recognition. Self-gratification serves as an excellent motivator. When subordinates demonstrate great work or favorable attitudes, the superior must acknowledge them in front of other staff members or in public. Anytime a subordinate acts negatively or makes a mistake, it should be discussed privately by calling the employee in the cabin.

Employee appreciation can take many different forms, such as praising an employee for excellent work, showcasing their accomplishments, awarding certificates of achievement, giving them presents, and more.

6. Job Security: A lifetime tie between an organization and its employees is what is meant by job security. Providing a permanent or confirmation letter equates to job security. Security and safety requirements are met by job security, however there may be drawbacks. Employees lose interest in their jobs once they are secured. For instance, government workers don t work effectively because they don t worry about losing their jobs. There must be restrictions on who is granted job security.

7. Employee participation: This refers to the process of include employees in decision-making, particularly when those decisions affect their jobs. When decisions are made in consultation with them, employees follow them more honestly. For instance, if an employee s target production is set after speaking with him, he will work harder to meet the target.

8. Autonomy/Employee Empowerment: This refers to granting subordinates greater independence. Employee confidence grows as a result of this empowerment. When given independence, people demonstrate their ability to perform to the best by using positive skill.



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  3. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-268.
  4. Harrington, E. (2020). Recover: How to overcome burnout and build resilience in your work and life. HarperCollins.
  5. Kernis, M. H., & Goldman, J. A. (2016). Meaning in life: From theory to practice. Routledge.
  6. Neff, K. D. (2016). Self-compassion: The proven power of being kind to yourself. HarperCollins.
  7. Pink, D. H. (2011). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. Penguin Random House.
  8. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Guilford Press.
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  10. Young, B. (2018). The flip side of burnout: How to find meaning and motivation when your job leaves you drained. HarperCollins.

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