Motivation of Employees: it’s Meaning, Features and Process!

The word motivation has been derived from the latin word ‘movers’ which means to move. Motivation maybe regarded as something which prompts, compels and energises an individual to act or behave in a particular manner at a particular time for attaining some specific goals.

Motivation is the driving force that inspires people to put their efforts willingly for the achievement of organisational goals. It is the inner state within an individual that automatically drives him towards goal oriented activities. It is a psychological phenomenon which energises, activities and stimulates the internal feeling of the employees to accomplish desired goals.


Arousal of such a feeling in the mind of an individual drives him automatically to attain the expected goals of an organisation. It cannot be forced on employees. It comes instinctively from the employees as it is their voluntary willingness to do the work.

Meaning of Motive, Motivation and Motivators:

(i) Motive:

A motive can be defined as an inner thought that directs or stimulates an individual to action. Needs of an individual give rise to such motives. For example, the need for water causes thirst on account of which a man searches for water. Some other motives are hunger, security, thirst, recognition etc.

(ii) Motivation:

Motivation is referred to as a process of inducing people to act towards achievement of the desired goals. It is concerned with satisfying the needs of people.

(iii) Motivators:

The term motivators refer to the techniques used by the managers to motivate the people. Important motivators used are promotion, recognition, praise, bonus, pay etc. to inspire the people in an organisation to contribute their best efforts.


Definitions of Motivation:

“Motivation means a process of stimulating people to action to accomplish desired goals”. William G. Scout

“Motivation refers to the way in which urges, drives, desires, aspirations, strivings or needs direct, control and explain the behaviour of human beings.” Mc Farland

“Motivation is the complex forces starting and keeping a person at work in an organisation. Motivation is something which moves the person to action and continues him in the course of action already initiated.” Dubin


“Motivation is a process which begins with a physiological or psychological need or deficiency which triggers behaviour or a drive that is aimed at a goal or incentive”. Fred Luthans

Features of Motivation:

On the basis of the ideas given by different scholars, following are the main features of motivation:

1. Internal Feeling:

Motivation is an inner feeling consisting of the urges, needs, desires, aspirations etc. of an individual which influence human behaviour. For example, an individual may have need for having a car, comfortable house, reputation in the society etc.

2. Goal Directed Behaviour:

Motivation results in behaviour directed towards goals. For example, if an employee wants high pay, he will try to improve his performance.

3. Both Positive and Negative:


Motivation can be both positive and negative but the main aim of both is to inspire the people to work in the required manner. Examples of positive motivators are promotion, bonus, respect, recognition etc. whereas negative motivators are warning, demotion, stopping increments etc.

4. Complex Process

Motivation is a complex process. All individuals do not have same needs, desires and reactions. A particular motivator may not obviously satisfy the internal feelings of all the individuals.

Motivation Process:

Human needs give rise to the process of motivation. An ‘unsatisfied need’ of an individual gives rise to ‘tension’ which further inspires him/ her to ‘drive’ i.e. to take action. These actions lead to ‘search behavior’ to fulfill such needs.

At last when the ‘need is satisfied’, the person ‘gets rid of the tension’. After satisfaction of present need, he again ‘determines future needs’. As human needs are unlimited, fulfillment of one need gives rise to another, that is why motivation is regarded as a continuous process.


For example:

Anil did not have breakfast in the morning, so by 2 p.m. he felt very hungry and started searching for some food to eat. After walking for some time, he found a restaurant where he had his meal and felt satisfied. He was no longer stressed and therefore was able to review his action plan for rest of the day calmly. After some time he again started searching for the dinner, i.e., determination of future needs.

Importance of Motivation:

Motivation is an important factor in determining the efficiency of an organisation. With its help a desire is born in the minds of the employees to successfully achieve the organisational objectives.

The importance of motivation can be derived from its following benefits:

1. Helps in Satisfying Needs of the Employees:


Motivation helps in satisfying the needs of the employees. Thus, they are inspired to contribute their maximum efforts for achieving organisational goals. A satisfied employee can always turnout expected performance.

2. Changes the Negative Attitude to Positive Attitude:

Motivation changes the negative attitude of employee to positive attitude for the attainment of organisational goals. For example, if a worker is not rewarded properly he may develop negative attitude towards his work. By giving suitable reward, positive encouragement and praise, his negative attitude can be changed into positive one.

3. Reduces Labour Turnover:

Good motivation helps in retaining the talented employees in the organisation. It reduces the rate of labour turnover and hence saves the cost of new recruitment and training.

4. Reduces Absenteeism:

Through sound motivational system, the rate of absenteeism in an organisation is reduced. Generally in an organisation, the workers are absent due to bad working conditions, poor relations with supervisor or colleagues, inadequate rewards etc. All these deficiencies are covered by motivation.

5. Helps in Introducing Changes:


Through motivation, new techniques etc. can easily be introduced in an organisation without much resistance from the employees. Motivated employees know that such changes will bring in additional reward to them too.