The study of motivation in the workplace has always aroused enormous interest because it plays a determining role in performance, along with the skills and knowledge that employees possess.
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The evaluation of the motivations of the employee at present
Today more than ever, the people who make up a company are the main asset of organizations. In this sense, it does not seem easy to think of a company that enjoys high levels of customer satisfaction if it does not have highly motivated employees, satisfied and committed to their work, who face each task willing to give the best of themselves and keep your dedication and effort until the end.
This makes it necessary for organizations to incorporate different management practices for the motivations, interests, and preferences of the professionals that make up their staff and even the candidates to occupy a position in them.
Measuring motivation toward work
Traditionally, the instruments for measuring the level of employee motivation have been framed in climate studies aimed at knowing the level of employee satisfaction to identify focal points for action and improvement of organizational procedures, practices, and strategies. However, analyzing the motivations of employees and candidates has immense potential that may not be fully exploited.
The interest in knowing the motivational profile of the individual towards work has a place both in the evaluation of candidates within a selection process, as well as in the internal assessment of employees, whether for promotion, development, performance appraisals, etc.
The profile of motivations of the candidate
Identifying a candidate’s profile of motivations and aspirations can help predict to what extent he will fit into a given position, given the characteristics, functions, environment, and associated conditions.
Seen in another way, the profile of the candidate’s motivations will allow us to know under what conditions, in what position, or in what type of circumstances said candidate will be willing, a priori, to work with enthusiasm, dedication, and care to obtain the best results. Results.
The employee’s motivation profile
Regarding internal evaluation, the profile of motivations and interests of the employees provides valuable information with a view to addressing practices aimed at improving different aspects that positively impact their satisfaction and performance, from the configuration or redesign of jobs to the customization of the reward system.
It is also very useful to identify suitable profiles in vertical or horizontal promotion processes, and especially in performance assessment processes, intending to design more individualized and effective improvement actions in those cases in which the low performance of an employee is caused by the mismatch between their motivations and the characteristics, opportunities, environment, etc. from his post.
Models for the Evaluation of individual motivations
In general terms, motivation refers to the effort people are willing to initiate and maintain in their jobs.
Contrary to the widespread belief that individuals work mainly to earn a salary that allows them to live comfortably, the interests that motivate people to put effort into their work are many and varied, as are the reasons. They generate demotivation.
For example, some people may become demotivated and stop trying at work when they perceive that they will not be able to do it well, others when they do not find a clear connection between their performance and what they receive in return, others when they do not find clear opportunities to continue growing and even others when they stop enjoying a good work environment.
For this reason, the development of evaluation tools must be considered from a sufficiently broad perspective of motivation, which allows gathering information from different sources of motivation, whether found in the person, in the context, or in the interaction between the two.
What are the main sources of motivation?
The first step requires reviewing the existing literature on the study of motivation in the context of work to outline a theoretical model that supports the evaluation design and methodology and, finally, explains the results derived from it.
In summary, it is worth mentioning the different theories on which we have relied and that serve to explain motivation from different perspectives:
- Person-based theories.
- Theories that focus on the context, and
- Theories that explain motivation through the interaction between the person and the context.
Person-Based Models of Motivation
Among these, Maslow’s Theory of the Hierarchy of Needs (1943) stands out, where concepts such as self-realization or development are introduced in the set of needs that people seek to satisfy through work.
Context-Based Models of Motivation
The well-known Job Characteristics Model of Hackman and Oldham (1980) is framed here, in which it is established that characteristics of the job itself (context), such as the variety or importance of the task itself, generate satisfaction in the employee. In this case, the source of motivation and reward is external, and the individual has no control over it.
Motivation models based on person-context interaction
Theories based on person-context interaction introduce a more cognitive dimension to try to explain motivation. We find in this group the Equity Theory of Adams (1965), who explains motivation through the expectations that the person has about the reward that they will obtain for their effort, or also the theories that are based on the person’s perception of self-efficacy about the task (Bandura, 1977).
Work motivation and interest assessment test
Many developed evaluation tests on motivations, interests, and preferences toward work facilitate objective decision-making in different HR processes, such as selection, assessment, and internal promotion or development.
The test designed on interests and motivations towards work explores the person’s position concerning 16 motivators from four dimensions of different nature.
This categorization arises from integrating different theoretical models on motivation and, of course, from their adaptation to the workplace. The four dimensions evaluated are the following:
- Staff. Needs, aspirations, or expectations of a personal nature that a person wishes to satisfy through work, for example, to achieve “power.”
- Context. The person has expectations regarding rewards or stimuli that he can obtain through the environment, for example, “salary.”
- Relations. Affiliative needs of a social nature that the person wishes to satisfy or enjoy through interaction with different agents in a work context.
- Job characteristics (such as “do a variety of work”) that are a source of motivation in themselves.
The evaluation of motivations, interests, and preferences at work, as a complement to the measurement of more conventional variables such as intelligence, personality, or transversal skills, provides a complete vision of the person that allows, to a large extent, explain their suitability concerning the performance of a specific position.