Employee Motivation in the Health Care Sector

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Problem Statement

The rate at which changes are taking place in the health care industry is high. There are needs for technological advances, re-engineering and re-adjustment of strategies to deal with increasing mergers and acquisitions and also the escalating demand for learning. This new trend is putting new demands on the workers of the industry. As a result, they are being forced to work under pressure as they try to juggle between the demands of the industry and their personal demands in terms of their security needs, stress control, belongingness and their role in the society, self-actualization, and increase of knowledge through learning (Benson et al).

With these ever-increasing demands both from society and from the workplace, the employee is being forced to meet all these demands with the limited resources available. This causes pressure on him. In such conditions, is there a way through which an organization can ensure that its employees are motivated? Can business organizations in the health care industry keep up the pace and face the ever-increasing competition without motivating their workers?

With the industry’s need for a flexible and experienced workforce, can an organization retain and attract a new competent workforce without proper motivation strategies? In addition to this, most of the organizations are putting up measures to improve the remuneration packages for their employees. Is remuneration the only form of motivating employees? Are there other methods that an organization can use to motivate its employees? (Das et al)

Theories That can explain and Manage Employee Motivation

Several theories have been put forward to explain the aspect of employee motivation. These theories try to explain the reason why certain aspects of employee motivation may be noted under certain circumstances. This then helps the management to put up appropriate measures to improve employee motivation. Among them is the theory of Equity (Clark, 2008). This theory states that employees develop a sense of fairness in terms of comparing the input of a worker against the output.

They, therefore, expect a sense of balance between the workload of an employee and his remuneration and other benefits. Input in this case refers to the contribution of the employee to the organization while output refers to the benefits that the employee gets as a result of his contribution. In simpler terms, input includes the skills of the employees while output includes the pay, rewards, recognition, and benefits. Any imbalance that may occur from the input/output ratio can result in an employee’s efforts to strike a balance.

This can be done by increasing his workload to match the output, reducing the input ratio of the comparative staff members, or taking the issue as good lack and continuing with the imbalance. The result of this can be really detrimental to the general well-being of the organization. It can translate to slack in the workforce effort as they try to even the score especially the junior staff which feels that the seniors earn a lot while doing so little. They may try to reduce their input to equal the output in question (Associated Content, 2007).

Another theory that has been put forward in terms of employee motivation is theory-Z. This theory states the importance of employee participation in the overall decision-making of the organization. The fundamental point in this theory is the emphasis on employee trust and intimacy. In this theory, the overall running of the organization is collective participation of the managers and the employees where employment is viewed as a long-term affair.

As a result of the participatory running of the organization, the employee develops a feeling of ownership. This in turn results in motivation in terms of attitude and behavior. To facilitate the efficiency of theory-Z, some organizations have formed quality circles which are a group of people of about 5 to 9 people whose responsibility is checking on waste reduction, problem detection and solving, quality improvement, communication, and satisfaction at the workplace. In addition to work circles, other organizations have employed other systems of management that are more or less the same as work circles. These are participating management, self-directed work teams, and employee involvement.

The baseline of all these management systems is the giving of power to the employees to take control of their jobs and be the responsibility of the input’s outcome. These teams are given responsibility in the production of an entire item. Each member is therefore trained in all fields enabling him to move from one position to the other within the team. Each team has the responsibility of managing itself in terms of quality, material ordering and usage, scheduling and solving of problems. The use of small teams thus builds competitiveness that eventually leads to improved quality, productivity and morale (Associated Content, 2007).

Expectancy theory states that motivation grows according to the expectations of an employee. For example, an employee with qualifications in terms of credentials and clean and encouraging work record can be sure of getting a promotion and will be motivated to work for it. An employee without qualification and poor work record in contrary will not be motivated to work hard. The workers’ motivation can be improved if they have a motivating factor that they feel qualified to attain (Byrne, 2006).

Herzberg’s two factor theory focuses on two aspects of work which are the environment and the job itself. He explains that motivation of workers is based on hygiene and motivational factors of the organization. wages, work content, work safety, job security and fair policies of the company can be termed as hygiene factors. The presence of these factors does not motivate employees to work hard. On the other hand, involvement, advancement, responsibility, recognition and achievement are referred to as motivational factors whose absence cannot cause dissatisfaction but their presence triggers motivation for excellence. Health care industries therefore need to employ these motivation factors to ensure that it motivates and retains the talent needed to make them stay on top( Integrity Training Institute, 2005).

The theory of organizational change states that change is inevitable in any organization. It is therefore important for management to welcome change and provide the necessary requirements to embrace the changes. For the changes to take place there has to be three stages which are; unfreezing, changing and refreezing (A2Zpsychology, 2006). Unfreezing is the stage of realizing the missing link and therefore the need for change to fill the gap.

Changing involves the instilling of the new behavior to in the workplace and refreezing involves settling to the new changes. Changing may involve specific training for an individual. Changes will mean training and filling of new gaps that may be accompanied by certain benefits and also can contribute to one’s attaining of personal desire for learning and meeting new challenges. This causes motivation (Beitler, 2005).


In conclusion, the health care industry needs to ensure that its work force is motivated not only by means of improved remuneration but by other forms of motivation. By improving on the intimacy and trust between employees and management, the motivation of workers will be improved which will directly translate to quality of production (McGregor, 2008). This will also enhance communication leading to easy problem solving mechanisms.

Motivation of employees can also be bolstered through an improved relationship between an employee and the immediate supervisors. By employing theory-Z, there are high chances that the relationship will be improved. In addition, the quality of work will be improved due to the formation of small working groups in the participating management systems that will put total responsibility on the teams and thus increasing competitiveness.

Another aspect of management that can improve on the employee motivation is the recognition of the effort of an employee by the management. This will improve the employee’s motivation basing on the expectancy theory. When an employee feels that the management is recognizing his effort, he will be confident of being in position to get a certain benefit that is related to his qualification. On the other hand, if the management will fail to recognize the effort of the employees, they will not be motivated because they will not have a motivating factor in terms of promotion or other benefits (Dundis & Benson, 2003)


Associated Content. (2007). “ Employee Motivation: Theory-Z, equity theory, and expectancy Theory.” Web.

Associated Content. (2007). “Theory of employee motivation: Herzberg’s two factor theory.” Web.

A2zPsychology (2006). “Kurt Lewin’s Change Theory”. Web.

Benson, S., G., & Dundis, S., P. (2003). Understanding and motivating healthcare employees: Integrating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.” Journal of Nursing Management. 11, 5: pp 315-320(6). Web.

Beitler, Michael (2005). “Strategic Organizational Change.” PPI Publications, pg.1.

Byrne, M. (2006). “The implication of Herzberg’s ‘motivation hygiene’ theory for management in the Irish health sector.” The Health Care Manager. Web.

Clark, C., (2008). Business and Finance. “The equity theory in business management.” Associated Content. Web.

Das, B., Gupta, J., Tomar, P. (2005). “Employee satisfaction means an efficient health care facility.” Express Health Care Management. Web.

Integrity Training Institute. (2005). “Employee development, motivation and retention”. Web.

McGregor, D. (2008). “Employee motivation, the organizational environment and Productivity.” Accel Team Development. Web.

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