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People in the past probably worked only for remuneration. Their main purpose was to fulfill their limited rudimentary needs with the money they earned. Their approach to life was simple as compared to ours. However, the scenario has changed a lot. With the evolution of computers and internet technology, we have entered into the age of knowledge. Now we have realized that our aim to work is not just to make money but to prosper our overall career and our social status. Today's employers are more aware about the need to treat their employees with due respect to their individuality and their individual needs.
Moreover, in today's workplace there is a separate human resource department (HR Department), to analyze and address the motivating factors of the employees, so as to boost up their work performance. The motivation factors are characterized as intrinsic and extrinsic and are recognized and rewarded accordingly. Intrinsic sources of motivation include, the love towards work, the sense of accomplishment, the satisfaction gained from helping others, the feeling of worthiness, and so on. The workforce driven by these factors are praised for their work, and are given intrinsic rewards like autonomy in work, respect, recognition, etc. Fredrick Herzberg, the popular theorist in intrinsic motivation, concluded that the people's performance is boosted more by intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic sources of motivation include promotion, remuneration, bonus, pension, allowances, physical facilities (like apartments and cars), incentives, pleasant work environment, and the like. These factors are necessary factors for people to work. Administering them appropriately, such as timely pay, increase in pay on a regular basis such as yearly, and so on can also motivate people to improve their work performance. Some financial rewards, sales commission for instance, are directly tied up with performance level to boost performance of employees. Employees are motivated to perform their best in order to earn the most.
These are not the only factors that affect motivation. There are other factors that influence people's attitude towards work. For example, the personal relationships and family conditions often affect the workplace performance. How to motivate employees in such instances are also the concerns of today's human resource managers. Probably, a counselling session needs to be administered and delivered to help the employees get over with their personal issues and get them motivated back in their work.
Similarly, the motivation factors change with the age and/or the stage of career. One might find compensation and initial socialization sessions to be highly motivating while commencing their career. However, these factors will soon stop motivating them and they will seek other sources of motivation as they progress through their career. Similarly, the person in his late career might find the social status and prestige as the only real source of motivation because by then, she is already financially secure. Self-actualization, as the American psychologist Abraham Maslow postulated, might be their motivation source by that time.
Because highly motivated workforce is a precious asset of any business organization, employees are treated more fairly and humanely than ever in today's workplace. It is acceptable now, that people's sources of motivation vary, from person to person, and from one stage of career to another. For some intrinsic motivation are strong while for others only the extrinsic motivation counts. Irrespective of these differences, the workplace of today's organization is highly diverse and flexible enough to cater to the specific needs of its employees. In my opinion, remuneration is not the major motivator, but a necessary factor that compliments other motivating factors.