Describe ways in which knowledge of a theory of motivation can be used to improve performance in the workplace.

McClelland’s Needs theory can help to identify the dominant motivators of people. You can then use this information to improve performance in the workplace by setting goals, providing correct feedback and knowing how to motivate and reward team members.

Setting Goals –McClelland’s Needs theory can be used to identify and set appropriate goals to the right individuals. The willingness to work towards attainment of goal is main source of job motivation. Clear, particular and difficult goals are greater motivating factors than easy, general and vague goals. Knowing which category an individual belongs aids a manager in assigning the correct goals to keep individuals stimulated and happy in their work. So for a challenging goal which requires you to work on your own is more likely to be set to a person in the Achievement (nAch) group. The achiever will be more dedicated to achieving the goal, and will be more motivated to exert effort toward goal accomplishment. If the same goal was assigned to someone in the Affiliation (nAff) group this could have the opposite affect and act to demotivate the individual.  This emphasises the importance of knowledge of a theory of motivation for setting specific goals in achieving motivated behaviour in the work place.

Reward team members- By using the motivation theory learned you will gain a better understanding of your team members and get to know what drives their motivation. Learning how your team would like to be recognised, and how you can show your appreciation, is important to ensure any reward will be appropriate. The importance of rewarding your team not only builds trust, but it strengthens loyalty as well. It also has all the usual benefits for a business such as a lower staff turnover, improved staff morale and a more efficient productive workforce.

The most successful leaders are those who recognise and reward their team’s efforts. There are many ways a manager can reward their team, it may just be a simple “Thank You”, buying cakes or recognition to the organisation for their efforts. Using the motivation theory learned you will have identified what reward is suitable, as it is important that the reward is appropriate for your team. For example at the end of a big project you wish to reward your team by taking them down the pub for a few drinks, but the majority of the team don’t drink alcohol and dislike visiting pubs. This will have a negative effect upon your staff’s motivation, who would have preferred some cakes instead.

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