LRMG Performance Agency

Motivation, and how you can support your employees

Posted in Article on February 29, 2016 by: Marius Henneke

Any undertaking to study and further yourself requires determination and an inexhaustible supply of motivation, especially when you’re no longer a full-time student and you have other more pressing priorities.

Knowing how motivation functions and how you can support your employees in their skills development and/or further learning endeavours can go a long way to demystifying motivation for your employees and instead make it a practical, useful tool instead of something they know they should have but just can’t seem to find.


LRMG Performance Agency is no stranger to motivation. In enabling individuals and organisations to perform at their best, they’ve learnt a thing or two about motivation and the practical engagement of it. Marius Henneke of LRMG’s PET (Performance Enabling Technology) business unit is one of the leaders at the forefront of LRMG’s learning technology. 


“Motivation comes in two flavours,” says Henneke, “namely intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic type comes from inside and compels someone to pursue a goal or set of goals. Extrinsic motivation in turn is external to a person like monetary compensation on the positive side, or disciplinary action on the negative side.” Henneke points out that extrinsic motivation may not have the desired effect on individual performance: it may result in poor performance if external factors are perceived as inadequate, but does little to improve performance. Giving someone a huge raise, for example, is seen more as a reward than as an incentive to perform at higher levels. It appears to be established that external, shall we say, "encouragement" has little effect on the "good" kind of motivation.


But if intrinsic motivation is more effective than extrinsic, what role does an organisation that wants to encourage its employees to higher performance play? “Intrinsic motivation comprises three separate elements, namely a person's perception of autonomy, relatedness and competence,” says Henneke.


They work as follows:


Autonomy: this is a person's perception of being able to work autonomously, in other words how empowered a person feels to do something on their own (no-one looking over their shoulder). Higher autonomy correlates with higher motivation.


Relatedness: this is a person's perception of how important the activity is to other people, in a work environment presumably people like co-workers and superiors. Higher perception of relatedness again correlates with higher motivation.


Competence: this is a person's perception of their own ability to perform the activity. And predictably the more confident people are in their ability to perform a task, the higher their motivation levels.


“To encourage intrinsic motivation, a company has options,” argues Henneke.


For example, companies can


  • Let up on micro-management of their employees to increase their perception of autonomy.
  • Draw attention and get buy-in from employees for the tasks that they consider most important, thus improving the perception of relatedness. Here company executives can particularly play a dramatic role to boost motivation.
  • Provide learning opportunities like formal training, but perhaps more importantly, opportunities for on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring to improve perceptions of competence. Recognition of past successes and effort will undoubtedly also contribute.


Says Henneke: “Many of these concepts are probably critical for a company to become a ‘learning organisation’, but small gestures from team members, team leaders and managers can clearly make a big difference to employees' motivational levels, even if policies still need to catch up.”


“The good news is therefore that a good balance of adequate external motivation, and an environment that encourages internal motivation, is achievable. On the employee engagement side, it has been shown that higher motivation also leads to better employee wellness and satisfaction.”


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To learn more about what Marius Henneke’s Performance Enabling Technology team can do for you, visit our page on the LRMG website.

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