Instilling employee motivation cannot be done in isolation and far too often the relationship between motivation in the workplace and company culture is trivialized.

Arguably, it is the less tangible aspect of company culture (the shared assumptions, norms and concerns of the people) that has a greater influence on employee motivation more so than the structures, systems and processes of the organisation. Laloux (2014) simply defines company culture as “how things get done, without people having to think about it.”

Weak or absent elements of company culture can negatively impact the two predominant factors that motivate people in the workplace. These factors are Intrinsic (Knowledge, growth, achievements, appreciation) and Extrinsic (salary, safety, promotion, environment). A research conducted by Mcgregor and Doshi (2015) measured employee motivation a scale of -100 to 100 and assessed how different elements affected that score. The results indicated that Intrinsic factors had a greater influence on employee motivation in the workplace. Thus comparing to traditional beliefs that extrinsic factors drive motivation in the workplace.

It found that companies who invested in Intrinsic factors, specifically, elements of community, role design, career progression and organistional identity; scored higher in employee motivation compared to those companies which placed little emphasis or omitted these elements from their culture. For example: A culture of poor career progression can decrease motivation by 20% while accommodating an excellent career ladder can increase employee motivation by 45%. These findings contrast with the extrinsic factors measured, which include elements of performance review and compensation that have a significantly lower impact on employee motivation even when it was invested in by companies.

It is evident that how well we work is a direct result of why we work. Companies that acknowledge its employees desire for self-development and invest in a culture that nurtures the individual will in turn increase employee motivation, job satisfaction, performance, employee retention amongst others.

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Laloux, F (2014). Reinventing organizations . Belgium: Nelson Parker. 225th

McGregor, L & Doshi N. (2015). How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation.  Available: Last accessed 3rd June 2018.