The literature review discussed several relevant theories pertaining to motivation, morale, job satisfaction and employee retention. Self-Determination Theory posits that there are three innate psychological needs – autonomy, competence and relatedness – that must be satisfied for people to feel motivated and fulfilled. Relatedness Need Theory suggests that developing strong relationships and a sense of belonging is critical for well-being and engagement. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs proposes that fulfilling basic needs like safety and esteem is necessary before motivation can occur. Equity Theory looks at perceptions of fairness in the workplace.
The interviews conducted with employees across different departments and experience levels generally supported and aligned with these theories. In terms of autonomy, many interviewees expressed a desire for more control and input over their roles and how they do their work. Those who had greater flexibility and independence reported higher levels of motivation compared to those in more strictly controlled roles. This supported Self-Determination Theory which emphasizes the importance of autonomy.
In relation to relatedness and connection, interview responses suggested that developing strong bonds with coworkers and managers enhanced morale and satisfaction. Employees who felt isolated or lacked opportunities for collaboration were less engaged. Those who discussed work-related issues and had an encouraging working environment appeared happier. This echoed Relatedness Need Theory about the motivational impact of belongingness.
When asked about competency and growth, interviewees frequently discussed the impacts of training and developmental opportunities. Feeling capable and constantly improving skills were tied to greater motivation. A lack of challenges or chances to expand responsibilities diminished motivation for some. Maslow’s idea that competence must be fulfilled prior to higher-level motivation was supported.
Several interviewees expressed concerns regarding equitable compensation, workload distribution and recognition policies. Perceived unfairness damaged their job outlook even if other factors like autonomy were present. Those who felt respected and that contributions were acknowledged were more positive. This aligned with Equity Theory’s propositions about the role of fairness perceptions in the workplace.
Basic needs like pay, benefits, workload and safety also emerged as factors influencing morale according to many interview responses. Those satisfied with these basic necessities were readier to engage more deeply while deficiencies hindered motivation. This paralleled Maslow’s foundational Hierarchy of Needs model.
Areas where interviews diverged somewhat from expectations involved relationships with managers. While connection to coworkers aided motivation per the literature, some manager interactions did not foster relatedness as much as anticipated. Barriers here included inconsistent communication, lack of appreciation shown and too little trust granted. Positive supervisory bonds paralleled the theories as expected based on comments.
The literature guided expectations of theoretical drivers of motivation in useful ways. With some nuances, findings from staff interviews tended to corroborate the importance of autonomy, relatedness/connection, competence, fairness/equity and fulfillment of basic needs as presented in the reviewed motivation/retention theories of Self-Determination, Relatedness Needs, Maslow and Equity. This provided confidence that the selected literature provided a relevant lens for comprehending factors shaping employee engagement uncovered through discussion. The alignment reinforced utilization of these concepts as a framework for analysis and recommendations going forward.
There was considerable coherence between what the literature predicted would influence workplace motivation and job attitudes according to established theories, and the experiential perspective gleaned from interviewing employees across levels and functions. Most findings resonated well with propositions regarding the impact of autonomy, relatedness, competence, fairness and satiation of basic requirements. This convergence supports having selected literature addressing the right theoretical constructs and confirms its utility as a basis for interpreting and responding to motivation and retention issues raised through the research process.