Low Job Motivation at Home Depot


Job motivation is a crucial factor impacting an employee’s performance. It is associated with increased engagement with the tasks, willingness to learn new skills and improve professionally continuously, and creativity (Suwanti, 2019; Paais & Pattiruhu, 2020). Similarly, on a broader scale, when a company has numerous highly-motivated workers, its productivity and competitive advantage enhance. For these reasons, firm leaders constantly seek methods to keep their subordinates motivated.

The Home Depot – one of North America’s biggest home improvement retailers – has recently faced a problem of low employee motivation. The most common comments included such statements as ‘my job is so boring!’, ‘my boss micromanages me but never tells me how I’m doing,’ and ‘I am never allowed to provide any input’, among others. Such a condition raised deep concern among the company’s managers and revealed the necessity to understand the motivation phenomenon better. In this regard, the current paper summarizes the main information regarding The Home Depot and analyzes the antecedents and consequences of low job motivation.

Organization Summary

As mentioned earlier, The Home Depot is one of the major home improvement companies in the Western Hemisphere and in the world. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the company has employed nearly 500 thousand associates to work in 2317 retail stores across Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. (The Home Depot, n.d.). Today, the organization offers over 35,000 goods in its retail centers and approximately 1 million products online. It means that customers can find a wide variety of home improvement tools and materials in one place.

Such an expansion is quite rapid considering that the first store opened in 1978. Usually, this success is explained by the innovative business approach to home improvement appliances retail by The Home Depot’s founders, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank (The Home Depot, n.d.). They sought to create a one-stop shopping experience for professionals in the sphere of home repairs as well as for amateurs (Marcus et al., 2019). As for the latter, the company has been promoting the do-it-yourself (DIY) concept by, for instance, organizing free workshops where people could acquire new knowledge and skills (Corbett, 2020). Additionally, the founders proposed a new vision of the company structure in terms of power called an inverted pyramid (The Home Depot, n.d.). According to this paradigm, the company values the needs and opinions of customers and employees during the decision-making process more than those of top managers and CEO. This approach allows the company leaders to always be aware of the current demands of the market.

However, since the late 1970s, many other businesses have adopted the idea of big-box format stores, creating fierce competition in the sphere of home improvement retail. The Home Depot’s biggest rivals include Lowe’s, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Menard’s, True Value, and Amazon. Nevertheless, the former can still sustain an impressive competitive advantage due to the unique corporate culture and economies of scale. As a result, in 2021, the company could generate a revenue of 152.57 billion U.S. dollars (Yahoo! Finance, n.d.). However, the current problems with employee motivation can significantly affect the firm’s leadership position.

Antecedents and Consequences of Low Employee Motivation

The level of employee motivation depends on various personal, interpersonal, and corporate factors. The former encompasses problems in personal life, the fit between the task and individual work preferences, creativity, openness, curiosity, and career ambitions (Jain et al., 2019; Panait, 2020). For instance, if a highly creative employee is continuously asked to complete monotonous tasks, he or she will eventually become demotivated. Additionally, all people require self-actualization and thus appreciate responsibility, recognition, and the existence of opportunities for achievement and self-development (Jain et al., 2019). In contrast, interpersonal factors include an individual’s relationships with managers, colleagues, and clients. In this regard, disagreements and conflicts can negatively impact a person’s engagement with work. As for corporate factors, it was found that while strong company culture with high alignment between employees and the company’s values leads to higher motivation, weak cultures have the opposite effect (Thokozani & Maseko, 2017). Moreover, there is a high association between leadership style and employee motivation (Andersen et al., 2018). As such, more empowering leadership leads to a greater level of engagement.

Therefore, considering the results of previous studies and based on the employee survey results, the problems why Home Depot’s workers have low motivation can be identified. Firstly, the company assigns the wrong people with the wrong tasks as ‘being bored’ may indicate, for instance, that the work is non-challenging or monotonic. Secondly, the firm’s managers have problems with properly recognizing their subordinates’ achievements using tangible and intangible awards. Finally, The Home Depot workers lack motivation because they do not participate in decision-making. Low motivation levels can negatively affect employee and organizational performance (Paais & Pattiruhu, 2020). In particular, workers’ creativity levels and willingness to learn will be minimal (Suwanti, 2019). In addition, the speed and quality of work will diminish as well. Thus, the company would eventually have a less competitive advantage compared to competitors.


Overall, the current paper summarizes the information about The Home Depot company. It was shown that the latter is one of the biggest home improvement retailers in North America and in the world. The company has unique values and mission, which has allowed it to expand rapidly and maintain a leadership position in the market for many years. However, it was also argued that the firm currently experiences problems with employee motivation. In this respect, the paper presented an analysis of antecedents and consequences of low employee engagement in general, particularly in The Home Depot’s case.


Andersen, L. B., Bjørnholt, B., Bro, L. L., & Holm-Petersen, C. (2018). Leadership and motivation: A qualitative study of transformational leadership and public service motivation. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 84(4), 675-691.

Corbett, K. (2020). Did you know? Lowe’s and Home Depot offer DIY workshops to help you and your kids get creative. House Beautiful.

Jain, A., Gupta, B., & Bindal, M. (2019). A study of employee motivation in the organization. International Journal of Engineering and Management Research, 9(6), 65-68.

Marcus, B., Blank, A., & Andelman, B. (2019). Built from scratch: How a couple of regular guys grew the Home Depot from nothing to $30 billion. Crown Business.

Paais, M., & Pattiruhu, J. R. (2020). Effect of motivation, leadership, and organizational culture on satisfaction and employee performance. The Journal of Asian Finance, Economics, and Business, 7(8), 577-588.

Panait, C. A. (2020). Study of employee motivation in organizations. Global Economic Observer, 8(1), 114-119.

Suwanti, S. (2019). Intrinsic motivation, knowledge sharing, and employee creativity: A self-determination perspective. Education, 22(13.4), 53-57.

Thokozani, S. B. M., & Maseko, B. (2017). Strong vs. weak organizational culture: Assessing the impact on employee motivation. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 7(1), 2-5. Web.

The Home Depot. (n.d.). Built from all the right materials.

Yahoo! Finance. (n.d.). The Home Depot, Inc. (HD).

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