Incentives to Work

Most people are satisfied they have a job where they can clock in and out day after day and know they will be paid for a good day’s work. It is sufficient reason to get out of bed and enter the daily workforce. What does it mean to be motivated to go to work every day? Millions of people enter the workforce daily and go to work because they have bills to pay and responsibilities to keep. Their loved ones are hoping to one day win the lottery and turn in their time card for good.

Drag or Motivation

Lets’ face it, many people don’t enjoy their work and it is not because they can’t do the work they are given, but it is because they are not motivated, not appreciated, or feel that the environment in which they work is not appreciative of their efforts. In short, everyone wants to be appreciated. People are motivated by reward, whether they are big (a free two-day vacation in the Bahamas for two), or small ( a thank you note, a cup of coffee, or a bagel with cream cheese). Regardless of the reward, whether is it a lapel pin or being the recipient of acrylic awards, modern-day psychologists, who have developed this incentive theory from the beginning of the century, agree that we as human beings need an incentive.

Staying or Leaving

Unfortunately, some workers feel they have not been rewarded, are underappreciated, or are unrecognized for their contributions, efforts, and creative output at work. Many end up exiting a job. Most human resource managers are becoming more and more aware that these kind of events often are avoidable. This is one reason why managers, owners, executives, and mentors understand the vital role affirmation, signs of appreciation, and gratitude are effectively motivating employees, no matter what size of the organization. It is becoming a growing phenomenon that Fortune 500 companies are growing larger and larger so that it is almost impossible for one executive to know all employees by name. It is reported that persons like Henry Ford and Sam Walton were always out meeting their employees.

Theory of Incentives

Psychologists realized, in the early 1940s, that there are two types of factors that create self-esteem and drive for actualization in the workplace. First is motivation. Motivation can come in the form of internal or external motivation. Internally, a person can motivate himself with his own goals for the dream job of his life, hopes of saving for his yearly vacation, purchasing a new car with his tax returns, and many others. Motivation and incentive turn into actualization when the potential to carry out a goal can be actually manifested in a person’s life. In the same way, when a person perceives they will be rewarded greatly for a good deed done or a skill performed, they act with enthusiasm. On the other hand, when a person perceives there is no reward for work done, they may clam up or act sullen or pensive in their behavior. This is how powerful motivation and reward act upon human beings.

Reward Matters

This is part of the reason why Hollywood spends billions of dollars every year gratifying their favorite actors or giving them awards for different “best of” categories at the Academy Awards or the Golden Globe Awards. The same principle is applied to anywhere humans work. There is a need to be appreciated and feel accomplishment in what is being done. For each person, the reward perceived as great or small is different. There is a saying that it is the “thought that counts,” and there is a lot of truth in that when a person perceives they have been considered as being a positive element at work. There is a sense of well-being and self-esteem that runs parallel to the recognition. If the recognition is augmented with a small or large gift, the act of affirmation is experienced as positive motivation.

Feel Good Feeling

It is a good thing when employees feel good about their accomplishments at work and how they are recognized. Whether the recognition comes through the highest member of the organization or the person sitting in the next cubicle or kiosk, humans crave recognition as a means to experience self-esteem and motivation. Nothing can replace a sincere act of gratitude from one employee to another or a sign of gratitude from a manager to one of their employees.

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