Any writer (anywhere) needs to find his own motivation. That's one thing.
The only reason people are "supposed to" follow anyone else on HubPages is that the person believes that the Hubber writes the kind of stuff the potential follower may be interested in reading. Voting up well written Hubs is what people are supposed to do. Everyone is encouraged to comment on Hubs they read, but only if the comment is meaningful and adds something to the discussion in the Hub. Since not all Hubs really call for much additional discussion, sometimes voting up is all a Hubber-reader may do.
As someone who is an "old" Hubber, I know I've been building up the people I follow for four years now. I'm pretty slow to follow yet more people because there's no way I could ever read a lot of what they have for Hubs. It may be worth mentioning that I don't just read the Hubs of the people I follow. I read any number of them, and if I do I've used up my "reading time" without even getting around to people I follow.
Some people may want, need, or expect encouragement from HubPages. Not all even think in terms of looking for encouragement. (I know I left a site because the site didn't even seem to recognized that some people just want to write their stuff and not get tips on writing, or support, from other members.) It just depends on what someone, himself, expects/wants from a site. Some people have been writing for ages and don't even think in terms of looking for encouragement in the form of followers.
On the other hand, this site has a very, very, supportive community. People are always willing to help answer questions, and they aim to support one another in ways other than just following. Lots of people share what works well for them. Lots are willing to try to help others. I think new people just need to start slow, do their thing, be a little involved in the community, and let things happen naturally. For help, go to the HP Help section but also the forums in "Need Help". Read some Hubs that interest you, and comment if you have something to offer. It won't take long before you don't feel new and "worthless".