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The necessity to motivate your employees

June 2019

Marius Greyling, Pula Imvula
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What does it mean to be motivated? Motivation can be regarded as something in a person that drives him/her to act in a certain way even in the absence of any external driving forces. In this respect motivation can be linked to the will of a person. Normally a motivated person is someone who reacts positively especially within the workplace. To be motivated means to be treated well and be used well.

Is it necessary to have motivated employees? Or, what are the advantages of having a motivated workforce? A motivated employee is a productive employee, in other words he/she does the work or task in the correct way and within a reasonable and expected time without continuous supervision. This employee will take care of any tools needed and use the tools responsibly. 

  • Performance = Ability (can do the job) x Motivation (will put in an effort).
  • Ability = Aptitude (willingness) x Training x Resources (have the correct tools).
  • Motivation = Desire (have a desire to do the job) x Commitment (to do the job correct and in time).

From a financial perspective it is a necessity to have motivated employees. You will re-call the formula Profit/Loss = Income - Expenditures, which we have so far used frequently in our articles. Due to the ever-increasing cost/price squeeze that our farming businesses found themselves in, the proper managing of income and expenditures becomes even more important. Motivated employees will assist by being responsible and more productive.

By this time, you will have asked yourself the question – but how do I motivate my employees?

Have a good look at yourself as owner/manager. Do you portray a positive attitude towards your own business? What example do you set when using your resources? (tools for instance). Do you respect your employees and treat them accordingly? Do you apply high ethical standards when conducting your business? Do you tolerate poor performance? Do you show favouritism? Do you ever threaten your employees?

Motivation is a management component and begins and falls with the manager. It is quick and easy to demotivate people; it takes much more time and effort to motivate them and it differs from person to person. Important to remember, that building a motivated team is often more about not demotivating than creating motivation.

Generally demotivating factors, also referred to as treatment factors, are problems related to salary and other employment conditions, overdoing supervision, relation with supervisor, relations with fellow workers, relations with subordinates, company policies, rules and regulations, physical working conditions, status, job security, petty and senseless bureaucracy, public correction of an employee and, biasedness when applying discipline.

Motivating factors or utilisation factors can be recognition of achievement, the possibility of growth in skills and knowledge, promotion, increasing responsibility, challenges in the workplace, proper and respectful communication and the work itself.

Every person wishes to be treated well and be used well. Thus, the treatment and the utilisation factors are both of importance. In case the one group of factors is neglected, the other group on its own will not be strong enough to cause job satisfaction or better performance. If only a good wage is paid, and a neat house provided, but the employee is forced to work continuously, very boring, physically hard work, day in and day out, he/she will not be motivated. The opposite is also true. If someone is given very good training and a lot of responsibility but kept on a low wage and are continuously treated unkindly, he/she also will be poorly motivated.

The two groups of factors also differ regarding to their effect on the employee. The effect of treatment factors is of short duration. Consider wages for example. The employee is satisfied with the wage increase only for a short while – one or two months – at the most, then the effect and the motivation has worn off. It is like being hungry. You eat something, but you simply get hungry again very soon. The need for more money and for the other treatment factors will never be fully satisfied. These represent an ever-increasing level of expectations.

The treatment factors such as better housing, food, transport, or money, are not strong enough to make people work harder. They simply give a small upsurge in performance. 

Long term motivation, however, could be obtained by introducing those factors which cause someone to be interested in his/her work because he can use his skills, his knowledge or his talents. Also, because he can be trained and because enthusiastic attempts are recognised: This we call job enrichment.

Both sets of factors – the treatment as well as the utilisation factors should be tackled at the same time. If the utilisation factors are neglected, employees will only ask for more and more of the treatment factors which will increase costs for the business. 

Publication: June 2019

Section: Pula/Imvula