Employee motivation is an important aspect of the modern-day work environment since employees play a crucial role in the realization of company goals. It follows that several theories have been floated in a bid to explain factors that may influence their productivity at these stations of work.
The hierarchy of needs as proposed by Maslow is regarded among the most common theories of motivation that have been advanced. This presumption applies solely to individuals, making it irrelevant to organizational behavior and the work environment. He proposed that human needs fall under five categories, and can be arranged from those of basic survival to those of actualization (Maslow, 1975). It follows that the complete satisfaction of one level of wants is what makes the next level needs relevant.
Physiological desires form the lowest level of needs. This includes the basics that are mandatory for a suitable workplace environment. Proper working conditions, subsidized housing and catering, and an attractive wage package comprise the needs in this cadre. These conditions are common for all job opportunities, which makes it a necessity to satisfy them before embarking on the next level. Safety needs rank higher than physiological needs. Employees with private insurance cover, safe working conditions, and a good pension scheme tend to work harder than their counterparts without these privileges.
Employees need a social life too. Employers should cater to this by organizing social gatherings for them. These employees are motivated further since can communicate as openly as they wish. This fosters team spirit and trust among the employees. Receiving positive feedback regularly and promotions that include job titles constitutes the esteem needs. Having an employees photograph in company sheets also motivates at this level. This is the second-highest level in the hierarchy, hence is reserved for highly motivated employees. The last among these needs is the actualization needs. This can be realized if the employee handles impossible assignments, or is given discretion over integral assignments at the workplace.
According to this theory, employees have three factors which they need to satisfy as they seek motivation (McClelland, 1987). Foremost, many employees are driven by the motive to achieve power, hence a sense of control. This gives them some influence at the workplace, hence a say when making important decisions, including policy. As a result, employees strive to work their way up the ladder in a bid to secure their position in these influential sittings.
Another factor that motivates them to work tirelessly is the sense of affiliation that results from succeeding at the workplace. This is because success implies many associates at the office. This creates a feeling of acceptance and appreciation by colleagues, who often enjoy associating with successful members of staff.
Lastly, the feeling of achievement is another motive that motivates employees to labor industriously. The knowledge that a person’s effort will be recognized and appreciated by the management and staff mates often spurs concerted efforts. In addition, the thrill of taking audacious risks and striving the extra mile also acts as a motivator, especially to those in advanced positions at the workstation. They believe that success, after such a risk is taken, provides the ultimate satisfaction and gives them an edge over their colleagues, hence the bragging rights.
This was another theorist who advanced a theory of motivation that was based on Maslow’s conjecture of needs. He proposed two methods by which people should be treated for them to have low levels of dissatisfaction. This automatically translates to high motivation levels, hence sustained productivity by the workforce. He proposed several maintenance factors, which would reduce customer dissatisfaction upon implementation.
It is important to have company policies and a functional administrative body in place. This will instill discipline into the workforce and create a sense of direction for the employees in the organization. Exemplary interpersonal relations should be fostered, to create a cohesive unit and promote team spirit among the workforce. The organization should provide proper working conditions for the employees and ensure that high standards are maintained through high-quality supervision of the existing employees.
In addition to this, employees should be assured of their job security; since this is the only method by which they can ascertain that their future interests are taken care of. This should be coupled with an ample salary package and a status that befits the job title that is held by the employee. This way, the employee can cater to personal needs and provide for the family.
It should be noted that the five factors which are discussed under this category affect higher levels of motivation. This implies that they retain their impartiality in the event they are not activated. Foremost, the sense of pride that accompanies achievement ranks among the motivation factors. This brings about recognition for personal efforts put in by employees; hence apportion credit where it is due.
A sense of responsibility is brought about by the knowledge that one is charged with tasks, thereby acting as another motivator. This fact, in addition, to the job itself also acts as the source of motivation for the employees, since they have deadlines that they have to honor. Most importantly, the advancement that comes as a result of task completion also acts as a motivator. This is because a proper reward and recognition for employee efforts arise from this act.
Motivational strategies used about Herzberg’s theory
The motivational theory that has been adopted by this enterprise fits into Herzberg’s theory since the factors they have given prominence incorporate a blend of the hygiene and motivational factors that are proposed in his theory. As part of its motivational strategy, the company develops and maintains an excellent relationship with its employees. This is a maintenance factor that creates a sense of togetherness and fosters team spirit among the entire team. The company also creates a positive working environment by availing appropriate materials, equipment, and information to the employees. The company recognizes employee achievement by rewarding good performance. Most importantly, company policies also charge employees with the responsibility of identifying personal and development targets for the firm. Employees are also encouraged to work with passion, hence conjuring up novel ideas that will propel the company forward.
The culture at Enterprise
This organization emphasizes the creation of a positive work environment. This is enforced by the management through several steps that have been put in place. Good relationships at the workplace are given prominence. Managers achieve this by taking care of their employees and determining their expectations for themselves and the company. This enables them to issue precise directions, enabling the team to have fun together.
Ensuring clear communication is maintained by the team is another area given prominence. This enables the setting of clear goals and the sharing of expectations and plans among the team. Employees can play their roles effectively since they are informed of what is required of them. Adequate resources are always availed before any task is undertaken. The administrators take it upon themselves to ensure that relevant materials, equipment, and information are provided before a task is undertaken. Encouraging the team constitutes another important role the leadership panel has undertaken. Achievers are praised and rewarded accordingly, while all challenges are recognized. The entire team places all effort on realizing company goals.
Most importantly, emphasis is laid on proper recognition. This implies that effort and good performance will be rewarded appropriately. This will be achieved by establishing proper practices, which enable Enterprise to determine the effectiveness of its culture against benchmarks it has established. The management is aware of the fact that establishing a culture that motivates is challenging, hence their decision to pursue the training. This will allow them to establish a strategic mechanism to enable them to create a customer care culture by motivation. By enrolling everyone for these studies, the entire team learns about the organizational targets, thereby raising performance standards. Managers will also be trained to assess the motivational standards of the employees within their branches.
This may be demonstrated by subtle signs, including; early arrivals every day; regular attendance of social functions in a team; carrying out tasks as a team; organizing the office after hours of work. The employees will also be made aware of the rewards success brings and the consequence of poor performance.
The vote has been instrumental since everyone involved in the process has suggested improvements to others. It has also ensured that constructive feedback is allowed between the employees and management. Progress reports are also issued regularly and inform underachievers on the possible avenues for improvement. Most notably, improvement is valued in equal measure with overall performance. The Vote also provides an avenue for managers to apply the knowledge acquired from the lessons on etiquette and customer relations.
Effectiveness of the motivational techniques
These techniques are effective for this firm since the management is now able to categorize employees concerning their levels of productivity. This identification enables management to take up corrective measures immediately after a problem is spotted. This may include motivating and encouraging employees, by determining their perspective on several issues affecting the organization.
It has also created a responsive management team, which is flexible and adjusts operations upon the request of employees. Most importantly, these methods have ensured that the team understands the objectives of a given operational day and monitors progress, before issuing feedback to ensure the smooth running of the process. The process has also created a culture of appreciating personal achievements at the end of a day’s work, before making preparations for the following day’s chores. The training has also enabled managers to recognize that motivation is personal, which is reliant on the feeling employees get. It is accepted that whatever individuals feel will determine their productivity and motivation. It should be noted that these methods have enabled the management to realize that motivational factors often vary between different persons.
Maslow, A, H., 1975. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. Saskatchewan: Pergamon Press.
McClelland, D, C., 1987. Human motivation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.