Importance of Motivation in Human Resource Development (HRD)

Motivation is one of the most important concepts in HRD. In most organizations, it is common to hear the refrain that a particular employee is not motivated and hence his or her performance has taken a backseat. This is the reason companies spend humungous amounts of money in arranging for training sessions and recreational events to motivate the employees. Motivation can be understood as the desire or drive that an individual has to get the work done. For instance, when faced with a task, it is the motivation to accomplish it that determines whether a particular individual would complete the task according to the requirements or not. Further, the absence of motivation leads to underperformance and loss of competitiveness resulting in loss of productive resources for the organization. It is for this reason that the HR managers stress on the employees having high levels of motivation to get the job done.

There are many theories of motivation and the ones being discussed here are the Herzberg’s hygiene theory, Maslow’s need hierarchy theory, and McGregor Theory X and Theory Y.

Herzberg’s Hygiene theory states that for employees to be motivated, certain conditions need to exist and the absence of these conditions or the hygiene factors demotivate the employees. The point that is being made in this theory is that the presence of hygiene factors is a precondition for performance and is not a determinant of performance. On the other hand, the absence of these factors actually demotivates the employee. Hence, the bottom line is that companies should have the basic conditions under which employees work fulfilled so that there is no drag on the performance.

Maslow’s need hierarchy theory postulates that individuals are motivated according to a hierarchy of needs which start from satiation of basic needs and then go on to need for recognition and finally, the need to actualize one’s vision and reach the highest stage of personality. The point that is being made in the theory is that individuals progress from one stage to the other depending on how well the needs at each stage are met. So, organizations have to ensure that employees’ needs are taken care of at each level so that by the time the employee reaches the top of the ladder, he or she is in a position to actualize them. Finally, McGregor’s theory of motivation alludes to the carrot and stick approach that is favored by many managers. This theory states that employees can be motivated by a dual pronged strategy of rewarding them for good work and punishing them for bad work. The opposites of these reactions mean that employees have a strong incentive to do well as opposed to doing badly.

Motivation of employees is indeed important for the health of the companies. Only when employees are motivated sufficiently can they give their best. Typically, companies focus on compensation and perks and benefits as a strategy to motivate employees. However, as we have seen in this article, employees are motivated by factors other than pay and hence, the HRD function must take cognizance of this fact and proceed accordingly. This means that the need for job satisfaction and fulfillment have to be taken care of as well for the employees to reach their potential.


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