Why do measurements motivate people to perform?

Test, measure and comprehensively analyze motivation

How can you Measure motivation, testing and analyze - and how can you Influences on employee motivation consider? What motivates my employees and what demotivates them? The answers in this chapter. In practice it is of course interesting how motivated the individual employees are. But this knowledge alone is not enough - the decisive question is of course: What to do specifically, where to start in order to motivate more? For this, motivation is importantfull to analyzeto learn more about the characteristics of the individual employees and their specific environment. The post are different Approaches to measuring, shows how executives find out what drives individual employees and how to test and measure the motivation of many employees across the board. ...

Measure motivation: Influences on employee motivation as access

It makes sense to look back at the chapter on the question “What motivates employees?” In order to understand how to Measure motivation can and what relevant properties Employee to have.
The influences on motivation can be divided into two important categories: external influences and inner influences. Motivation then arises from the interplay of influences in the environment and characteristics of the individual employees.

Motivating external influences in the environment of employees are, for example, the design of the work task (e.g. Christian, Garza and Slaughter, 2011; Bakker and Demerouti, 2007). Important internal influences on the work motivation of employees are, for example, emotions (e.g. Sonnentag et al., 2008; Bledlow et al., 2011).

Motivate employees effectively: Employee motivation with the power of psychology

Top author and expert Dipl. Psych. Prof. Dr. Florian Beckershows

  • which destroys the motivation of many employees every day
  • The Most Dangerous Mistakes About Employee Motivation
  • Proven practical tips from our projects that can be implemented immediately
  • the most effective keys to employee motivation from decades of research
  • an overarching framework model for motivation
  • concrete examples and questions for reflection

For more performance, Innovation, loyalty and satisfaction.

There are many other external and internal influences on employee motivation. The following table gives an overview of the most important influences on employee motivation.

external influences on motivation (environment)internal influences on motivation (person)
The most important influences on motivation in the area of ​​employees are:
  • the working environment in which employees work
  • the leadership that employees experience
  • Teams to which an employee belongs
  • the design of the work tasks
  • Goals that employees have (or don't have)
  • Incentives (in the form of rewards and punishments)
  • the company (organization) that shapes the above aspects with its culture
The main internal influences on motivation for individual employees are:
  • Emotions that the employee feels
  • Self-efficacy (the conviction that you can do something yourself and be competent)
  • Employee habits
  • the personality of the employee
  • Regenerative ability (the ability to recover from work and stress)
  • Optimism (the conviction that you have positive external framework conditions)
  • Self-regulation (the ability to suppress current motives in order to achieve long-term goals)
  • individual motives of the employee and their strengths

First, a section on how individual managers can learn more about what motivates their managers individual employees Experienced.

Understand and analyze the motivation of individual employees

Even with an employee, various influences are involved in the motivation to behave. Different people have very different influences on motivation. Differences in motives are often related to employee characteristics. Typically, for example, younger employees are more interested in further training opportunities, tasks in which they develop and feedback on their performance. Motives and motivation also change with national culture, gender and people's values.

In short: Employees go to work with the most varied of characteristics, have different environments there and incentives have a correspondingly different effect.

What does that mean for them Leadership practice? Only when it is possible to understand the motivation of the employees and the influences on them can behavior be steered in the desired direction. If this analysis of the individual employees does not take place, incentives often remain ineffective or the behavior of the employees runs in the wrong direction.

How can managers find out more about the motivation of individual employees and the influences on them? There are also the following for managers approaches:

The Consult of the individual employees according to the importance and importance of aspects of the work and the work environment is certainly the easiest, fastest and cheapest way. As a manager, why not just ask: “How did you feel while working on project xy? What did you particularly enjoy? Is there something that slowed down and disturbed? "
It's quick and easy, but it's also prone to errors. In a survey, employees are sometimes not honest (for example, they are reluctant to tell their superiors if they are not motivated by a job) or find it difficult to describe their own motives. Employees also often rate everything possible as very important (this is called aspiration inflation), but sometimes they do not mention very decisive content and motives at all - for example because the motives are socially stigmatized and taboo or because they are not aware of the motives themselves.
In Workshops With their team, managers can systematically tackle topics relevant to motivation together with their employees - such as the work environment, the team or the design of work tasks. The individual chapters in this text and the exercises contained therein offer a very good working structure. The topic of the workshops would be how the employees are currently experiencing the individual aspects and where they would like changes. The motives and characteristics of the employees are specifically reflected in these wishes.
Here, too, there is of course the risk that employees will not address certain topics, for example because they are reluctant to address things for which they fear social sanctions and do not want to "come out". A typical example are team standards. Who is going to publicly address that others have low performance standards and sanction them for working harder?
According to the motto "You should recognize them by their fruits!" observation allow conclusions to be drawn about motivation and other characteristics of people, their behavior and the results of the behavior. You usually notice quickly which activities an employee is particularly committed to, which radiates positive emotions - and vice versa, which apparently motivates them less. Managers can do a little here too testingby simply offering and assigning different tasks to employees and then observing the reactions and behavior. Aspects as simple as an employee who always moves very slowly to the workplace but very quickly away from it can provide valuable information. Other body language can also be a useful source of information about motives. Does an employee's pupil enlarge when a specific project is mentioned? Does he lean forward and open his arms that were previously folded when a career opportunity is addressed?
It is important here to base your analyzes on repeated events and to always be aware of the fact that behavior and its results have many causes, not just motivation (e.g. skills or the current situation of the employee).

Many of the approaches mentioned can simply take place on the side in everyday work or can also be integrated into formal instruments such as an annual employee appraisal. The following exercise takes up the approaches of questioning and observation.

You practice conversationsto find out the motives of employees. Use questions like:
  • When you think about your current activities - what do you particularly enjoy here, what are the downsides?
  • Where would you like to see yourself professionally in five years? What exactly is it that appeals to you about this job / position?

Also, ask regularly after completed projectswhich made the employees particularly happy. From what they name - but also from what they don't name - you can learn a lot about the motives of your employees. You practice, to listen carefully and Show interest.

Also, sharpen yours Observation. Pay close attention to how employees react when certain things happen or are spoken to. Of course, one-off reactions do not allow a reliable picture - but repeated observations, ideally combined with surveys. All signals of openness or closeness are particularly important in this context. Openness usually reveals a motivation - closeness symbolizes rejection.

Body language that signals openness / closeness:

  • open arms / crossed arms
  • open legs / crossed legs
  • Lean forward / lean back when something is spoken to
  • open facing eyes / looking away or closing eyes

In addition, the right hand can provide clues. This is controlled by the left hemisphere and often unconsciously reveals intentions and how positively someone sees something (e.g. Casasanto, 2011). Does the employee pull their right hand back when you mention an activity - or does the hand go a little forward and symbolically reach for the project on the table?

In the rule the procedure described here is completely sufficient: The manager knows the important influences on the work motivation from the table above in detail and takes these principles into account in leadership behavior. She also analyzes important differences in the motivation and motives of the individual employees survey and observation. In certain situations she also places one Workshop where the whole team an important topic (e.g. goals or the work environment) is discussed and approaches for optimization are developed.

In the next section on the question of how to measure work motivation in a standardized manner across many employees.

Measure work motivation among employees across the board

What is measured gets more attention and can then also be systematically manage. It is therefore understandable that in many companies employee motivation is an integral part of the information systems (e.g. dashboards, cockpits or scorecrads). To the Measure work motivation lie many approaches in front. They can be divided into three overarching groups:

Access through internal influences
Try some approaches Work motivation through internal influences (e.g. Shirom, 2003; Schaufeli and Bakker, 2003; May, Gilson and Harter, 2004; Rich, Lepine and Crawford, 2010). Emotions, absorption and experience of flow, physical states and cognitive aspects (such as the perceived importance of the activity and self-efficacy) play a role. The choice of aspects is relatively arbitrary in the present instruments. What these approaches have in common is the attempt to capture work motivation by capturing the characteristics and conditions of people who are related to it.
If low values ​​appear here, this gives important information in practice as to which employee characteristics one should focus more strongly on in order to increase motivation.
Access through external influences
Try other approaches Work motivation through external influences by collecting aspects in the environment that are related to it. This includes the Gallup Organization's international work motivation survey (Crabtree, 2013). The instrument used does not directly measure work motivation, but rather asks employees primarily about external influences on work motivation (Schaufeli, 2013). This includes, for example, questions about goals, resources for work, leadership, recognition and the team (Harter et al., 2006).
In practice, low values ​​provide useful information as to which aspects in the employee's environment can be addressed in order to increase motivation.
Of course, you can just as easily become an employee ask directly about their motivation to work, maybe even with just one question: "I am motivated to do the best possible job." The whole thing, e.g. on a scale from 1 "does not apply at all" to 5 "applies fully".

What is to be made of these approaches? In addition, the tips for practice.

Work motivation can be measured across the board using different approaches. This usually takes place via online surveys. Which of these really make sense?

  • The present instruments that Work motivation through internal influences and capture states are not satisfying. Depending on the instrument, the selection of the states seems rather arbitrary, some influences are included, others are absent. Therefore, depending on the instrument, there are large differences in the content that is queried. In addition, the instruments contain too many questions - if you just want to tap into the motivation to work. This puts a strain on the employees without adding much value compared to a single direct question.
    As a rule, motivation is closely related to internal influences. It can therefore be assumed that the measurement with this approach (provided that the relevant aspects are comprehensively queried) is mostly valid, i.e. that work motivation is actually measured. An exception are leadership styles that are built around external pressure via rewards, punishments and control (extrinsic motivation). These can lead to high extrinsic motivation, which is associated with unfavorable internal states - e.g. low self-efficacy, negative emotions, low absorption and devotion to work.
    These approaches will only be used if you want to tap into the characteristics of certain internal influences on motivation in the company (such as emotions, self-efficacy, optimism, flow experience ...). In that case, however, the existing published instruments should be further developed, as they have so far contained too limited a selection of the important aspects.
  • The present instruments that Work motivation through external influences capture are also not satisfying. The selection of the surveyed aspects is arbitrary and the instruments usually do not contain important topics. The same applies here: If you only want to measure work motivation, then these instruments are too extensive. Employees are confronted with an inappropriately large number of questions. There is also another risk: The approach does not measure the actual motivation of the employees, but whether and how much is done for external motivation. That's a big difference. It can be that employees are motivated by favorable internal influences even under poor conditions. Conversely, it is also possible that employees are not motivated under what are actually good conditions.
    These approaches are therefore only useful if you really want to determine the characteristics of certain external influences on motivation in the company (such as task design, psychologically optimized goals, leadership styles ...). For this purpose, the existing published instruments should be expanded, as they all have large gaps in important aspects.
  • If it is only a matter of measuring work motivation - without immediately gaining starting points in order to act - then you should in practice use direct questions. With the question “I am motivated to do the best possible job.” There are good experiences. A five-point scale has proven itself as a possible answer - from 1 “does not apply at all” to 5 “fully applies”. This question shows well how motivation is at work. And it hardly burdens the employees, it's just a question. The whole thing can then perhaps even answer a corresponding sample of employees from the comfort of their mobile phone every week. If there is a noticeable deviation in a group of employees or in an area, then you can investigate more intensively there (and only there). This means that you always have the relevant information on the level of motivation promptly without annoying employees excessively.

With a corresponding measurement, the motivation of the employees is known. But what to do to to gain concrete starting pointsto increase motivation? Here it is important to know the specific influences on the motivation of the target group. In addition, the following practical tips.

Work motivation is measured. How do you get to now concrete measures? That’s what a approach proven, in which several things interlock systematically.
  1. First, it is important that Work motivation to be recorded quantitatively. The previous section showed how to do this. It makes sense to ask a single question, which is regularly answered by an appropriate sample of employees. One possibility is to collect this monthly.
  2. In addition, the individual Influences on work motivation to map (specifically the external influences as well as the internal influences). This one Actual state of the influences is raised much less often because there are many more questions. Once a year or every two years is sufficient in most cases. The contents listed in the table above are exactly what should be collected here. For all these external influences on work motivation (e.g. work environment, leadership and work tasks) and internal influences on work motivation (e.g. emotions, self-efficacy and self-regulation), it is necessary to build up correspondingly valid questions.
  3. At the same time, one should not only let the employees indicate how they are currently experiencing the individual influences (actual state), but also let them indicate whether and in which direction they would like change (Target state of the influences). From these wishes of the employees and the current situation, you get a very good picture of the most important fields of action for more work motivation.
  4. If the data set is large enough, then one is recommended statisticalDriver analysisthat relates the current state of the influences to the direct question of work motivation. If there are even hard performance data available that can be statistically related to the influences queried at team or department level, then that's all the better. In addition to the information provided by the employees, statistical information on important motivational drivers can also be obtained.

The last section gives references for further deepening.

Measuring and testing motivation: literature

Current literature tips for measuring employee motivation.

The next chapters deal with motivational theories, which are particularly influential. It starts with a chapter on McClelland's theory of motivation (McClelland, 1961) as an example of a well-founded, empirically derived content theory of motivation.