Motivation to Knowledge Workers

UntitledAyatakshee Sarkar

Allstate India

Senior Training Specialist


Motivation to Knowledge Workers

Peter Drucker, the modern management guru rightly said, “The most valuable asset of the 20th century company was its production equipment and the most valuable asset of the 21st century institution is the knowledge worker and its productivity”. So who are these knowledge workers and why is their productivity important in the socio-economic growth of a country? In my opinion, knowledge workers are a class of people in an organization whose main asset is knowledge. They are characterized as experts, creative and innovative professionals. Being a storehouse of tacit knowledge, they enable their organization to get the competitive edge, thus become the backbone of any industry.

In today’s scenario, major challenges are faced by any organization. In an IT organization these are hiring and retention. Adoption of appropriate motivational strategy plays a vital role in employee retention and engagement. In one study it was revealed that money is not the only motivating factor; it goes beyond tangible rewards as it deals with human behavior which is very complex.  An organization must lend thought to what motivates this class of employees to enhance productivity. Designing a proper motivation strategy is not the function of HR alone; it is an overall corporate strategy.

Below are some of the key points related to motivational study conducted globally:

  • Important motivational factors for knowledge workers are: meaningful work, full appreciation of the work done, promotion and job security.
  • Motivational variables differ from person to person; hence an organization must not assume what motivates employee ‘A’ will also work for employee ’B’. Regular dialogues and feedback is useful on an individual basis.
  • For global companies, motivation factors differ across employees based in different geographical locations.
  • Tangible rewards undermine the intrinsic motivation for interesting tasks; hence managers need to be innovative on this.

Overall, a study on motivational factors on knowledge workers becomes important due to following reasons:

  • Enhance productivity
  • Counter attrition
  • Retention and dissemination of tacit knowledge
  • Retention of intellectual property

If care is not taken in designing a proper motivational strategy, organizations may not only lose its knowledge workers but also the tacit knowledge which they carry with them, thus losing its competitive edge for sustainability.

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