Employee Morale and Motivation

CoolAvenues Newswire | February 14,2014 12:58 pm IST

George Bernard Shaw once said "Set me anything to do as a task, and it is inconceivable the desire I have to do something else." This perhaps is the basic instinct in the human individual, the instinct of consciously or unconsciously deviating from the main job at hand.

So the fundamental problem facing employers is how to keep the employee morale high and motivating them enough to not only do their job but to also do it in such a way so as to benefit the company to the fullest.

Employee's morale:

Professor John F.Mee in his book "Personnel Handbook" has observed, "Good employee morale is the mental attitude of the individual, or of the group, which enables the employee to realize that the maximum satisfaction of his drivers coincides with the fulfillment of the objectives of the company. In other words, the employee identifies his objectives with those of the company, not merely subordinates his own desires to that of the company."

Simply put, therefore, employee morale is an attitude of mind or a state of mind of the employee, which has an impact on the individual and the company goals and purposes. Feelings, emotions and motives combine to provide certain attitude and behavior on the part of the individual, which in turn represents the employee morale.

Importance of employee morale:

If an employee has "Low Morale", it means that he has many frustrations or deep frustrations within him. This in turn means that his ability and desire to perform are both low and as such the company will not be able to get maximum benefit out of him and that employee tends to become a burden or a liability to the company.

On the other hand, if an employee has "High Morale" it means that he has lesser frustrations of that he is happy with the atmosphere hi is working in. This in turn results in his working more efficiently and thus the company gets some benefit out of him. Thus this type of an employee rather than being a burden to the company becomes an asset.


So the is where motivation comes into the picture. Motivation may be defined according to A.Maslow, as "The processes that account for an individual's intensity, direction and persistence of effort towards attaining a goal."

Motivating a person who already has a high morale is easy but the main question is how do you motivate someone who has a low or very low morale?


Over the years many techniques and programs have been put forward. Some of them have been discussed below:

1. Management By Objectives

2. Employee Recognition Programs
3. Employee Involvement Programs
4. Variable Pay Programs
5. Skill Based Pay Plans
6. Flexible Benefits


Let us take a brief study of each of these individual techniques or programs one by one:

1. Management By Objectives:

Management by objectives or MBO as it is known, as is a program that encompasses specific goals, participatively set, for an explicit time period, with feedback on goal progress.


The concept of MBO is not a new idea. In fact, it was originally conceived about 50 years ago as a means of using goals to motivate people rather than to control them. The basic appeal of an MBO program lies in its emphasis on converting overall organizational objectives into specific objectives for organizational units and individual members.

Thus the basic factors constituting MBO are: 

Goal Specification: The objectives must be concise statements of expected accomplishments like cutting departmental costs by 7%, etc…
Participate Decision-Making: The manager and the employee jointly choose the goals and agree on how they will be measured.
Explicit Time Period: Each objective has to have a specific time period in which it is to be completed like say 6 months, etc…
Performance Feedback: MBO seeks to give continuos feedback and progress towards goals.

2. Employee recognition programme:

In today's world, organizations are increasingly realising that recognition can be a potent motivation.

An Employee Recognition Program or ERP serve the fundamental purpose by paying attention to what the employees are doing and giving the credit to them where it is due. ERP may take numerous forms but the best ones use multiple sources and recognize both group and individual achievements.

ERPs may include, at the individual level, things like "Best Employee of the Month" Award, recognition for such categories like risk-taking, innovation, cost cutting and overall customer services. On the other hand, at the departmental level, recognition takes the form of team or department T-shirts, coffee mugs, banners or pictures, etc…

3. Employee Involvement Programs:

Employee Involvement is basically a participative process that uses the entire capacity of employees and is designed to encourage increased commitment to the organization's success. The underlying logic is that by involving workers in these decisions that affect them and by increasing their autonomy and control over their work lives, employees will become more motivated, more committed to the organisation, more productive, and more satisfied with their jobs. The four forms of EIP are:

Participative Management: A process by which subordinates share a significant degree of decision making power with their immediate supervisors.
Representative Participation: Workers participate in organization decision making through a small group of representative employees.
Quality Circle: A work group of employees who meet regularly to discuss quality problems, investigate causes, recommend solutions and take corrective actions.
Employee Stock Ownership Plans: A company established benefit plan in which employees acquire stock as part of their benefits.


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