The motivation of employees has proved to be one of the most essential factors which enhance their performance. According to Hume (1995), the performance of employees determines the entire company’s productivity and it is through motivation that workers can effectively perform. From the study carried out in the construction company, it was found out that the management lacked an efficient human resource department which was meant to look at the working conditions of its employees. This resulted in poor performance and the self-drive of employees to work.
The researcher found out that the best way to overcome the problems experienced by the company was to help the management establish an effective human resource department that would look into the issues of employees and obtain means of enhancing their performance. The researcher looked into those factors that motivate employees to work and through the research; it was able to identify what the management had neglected and what was to be improved. Despite the fact that the construction company is a small organization, there is a need to motivate the workers in order for them to be productive.
Problems encountered in the construction industry
Herzberg’s two-factor theory or the Hygiene theory explains one factor that brings about employee’ motivation is good working conditions. Most workers in the construction industry feel that if the working conditions were favorable they would be motivated to perform-. The management had neglected the working conditions of the workers and hence the reason why they were less motivated. They worked only under the supervision and they preferred to spend more of their time talking and going for breaks.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory (1954), different employees have different needs and it is the role of the management to ensure that these needs are met. Employees in the construction company have different needs and with the lack of proper human resource management, these needs are not fulfilled. Such needs include the physiological needs which are the most essential. Where employers fail to provide basic needs like food and education, there will be no motivation from the employees. Other important needs that ought to be fulfilled are the need for self-esteem and self-actualization. This means that the management requires to consider how much self-esteem is in the employees. The construction company lacks the desire for self-actualization and self-development as they tend to spend too much working time talking and drinking. This shows that the management may have failed in trying to encourage workers to develop their own skills and hence improve their self-esteem in the workplace.
Almost all employees rank job security as one of the most important factors that promote motivation amongst them. Job security is more important than the ability for self-development among the employees or even interesting work and the management is therefore faced with the challenge of ensuring the most important needs are satisfied first. According to the findings obtained, there is the possibility that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has not been fully satisfied by the management hence the desire for employees to have them as a way of motivating them to work. According to Baron (2003), one need has to be satisfied first before going to the next. With the lack of proper human management in the company, the most important needs in the hierarchy may have been neglected.
From the research carried out, all employees irrespective of their age are motivated by the freedom of working without too much supervision and with the freedom to gain trust in their work from the employers. The employees in the construction industry may have lacked the trust from their employers and whenever there was no supervision going on, the workers would mismanage their working time. They had the attitude of only working when there was supervision and this may have resulted in a major drawback to the company.
McGregor’s XY theory proposes two theories that could be enforced in the management of an organization. The X theory is the authoritarian management theory and this is where workers do not like working and have to be pushed around to work. If employees in the construction industry only work when there is supervision and there is hardly any ambition in them, then McGregor’s X theory seems to have been implemented in the company. The data obtained from the research shows that the workers would be willing to work under less supervision if their employers had greater trust in them. They felt that they would be more motivated if they were given the freedom to work with minimum supervision and if they were allowed to bring out their capabilities in work. This way the McGregor’s Y theory would replace the X theory.
Another factor that was considered to be a means of motivation to employees in the industry is the work in the construction industry itself. Most employees are not as motivated to be working in the industry and they would probably prefer to work in any other area. The problem is, however not the nature of the job but the circumstances surrounding that job. According to Qubein (2001) motivation at the workplace goes hand in hand with the circumstances surrounding that work. Hence, workers would be less motivated to work in a particular company because of all the limiting factors at the workplace and not only because of the nature of the job. This explains that other problems affecting the workers in the industry could de-motivate them. Some of these problems are the lack of trust from their employers and the lack of loyalty of the employers towards the employees, which is brought about by ineffective human resource management.
Adam’s equity theory explains how workers would be motivated by the rewards they get after working. When employees are rewarded in the proportion of their effort, then they would be motivated to work. In the construction industry, workers do not have much desire to be rewarded in the proportion of their work. Most workers in this industry do not seem to have the ambition to be productive in their work and good rewards are ranked at level 4 which means it is not a very good motivator. They would rather work and be equally rewarded than be rewarded in proportion to their work. This explains why they spend too much free time, drinking and wasting their working time. If there were better social motivational factors the workers would most probably be willing to work extra time and with extra effort and hence be rewarded for their effort.
A major factor that motivates employees at the workplace is good and fair wages (Wiley, 1995). According to Wiley factors like good wages and monetary bonuses are valued by all, regardless of their age, occupation, gender, or even employment status. However, at the construction company, workers are not quite motivated by the salary increases. Workers aged between 50 and 69 years would be motivated if there was a salary advance. However, workers below 50 years of age would not put salary advance as their priority, and even if they would want it increased they would first want other factors looked into. These factors would include working with pleasant and competent people. This shows that there are problems affecting the workers, which are mainly brought about by the personnel management.
Adam’s equity theory also emphasizes fairness in the workplace. This is both fairness regarding workers’ pay and fairness from the employers and supervisors towards the employees. The employees in the construction industry feel that honest and fair supervision plays an important role in motivating workers, and even with fair pay not much motivation would be enhanced unless the supervisors were also fair. This shows that the supervisors in the construction industry were not as efficient as they were supposed to be and that is one major reason why the workers were less willing to work. That would be one factor that causes employees’ disrespect for work. It is the reason why they opt to spend much of their time drinking and going for breaks rather than working. There seems to be a poor relationship between the workers and their supervisors, and this is mainly caused by the lack of human resource management that is required to improve the relations at the company.
According to Martin (2005), the motivation of employees may be determined by their own behavior, and the behavior of employees at the workplace is affected by various factors, which may be external or internal. From the study undertaken, the construction workers are less motivated by the company’s discipline. They would prefer to have other motivational factors other than discipline in the company. This means that there may be problems with the management regarding maintaining discipline at the company. Employees normally would want to have good behaviors and their employers to promote the good behavior but when it is improperly maintained, the workers would not have the motivation to work. That also explains the reason why the workers have no self-discipline especially regarding the management of the company’s time.
The researcher had also looked at the level of satisfaction of the employees in the construction company in relation to their salaries and work. From the results obtained, most of the employees’ level of satisfaction in terms of salary and work is 5, which is a low level, meaning that there is the low motivation for work. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory (1954) shows that people have various needs, each of which must be satisfied, and when salaries are not enough for the employee it means that some of their needs are not being fulfilled. Most of the employees at the construction company were not satisfied with the salaries they got and this may be a major problem affecting their motivation to work.
From this study, it can be argued that effective human resource management is important in order to promote employees’ motivation in the construction company.
It is clear that the employees at the construction company are not quite motivated to work and they tend to avoid working as much as they can. They would prefer to spend a lot of time for their breaks talking and drinking, other than working. There is less desire to work and they tend to be productive only under the pressure of their supervisors.
Lack of motivation among workers has negative implications on the productivity of any organization (Baron, 2003). The construction industry has a lot of potential among the employees but when this potential is not utilized it means that the company will be incurring greater expenses and fewer profits. The workers will still be employed for a specific time period but since the working time is not well managed, then it means productivity in terms of the workforce would go down. The workers would be paid for the effort that is not fully utilized.
Lack of motivation among the workers would also cause transfer of labor force from the industry to other areas where there is motivation to work and good relations with the management in the human resource department. When workers transfer, the construction company will have a shortage in terms of labor and there will in turn be less production. Employees may be attracted by the large organizations that have effective human resource management policies and hence withdraw from working in the small organizations.
Management plays an important role in promoting workers’ productivity. When there is no motivation, the workers will not desire to improve their skills even with changes in technology and other factors. Maccoby (1988) argues that because of the growth of the work environment, traditional approaches to work and motivation do not help the employees or the company. If employers do not improve their management skills to motivate employees, then the workers will not also be able to improve their own capabilities and the company will in turn not be able to keep up with the changes that occur every other day. Workers will not advance if they are not given enough motivation for self-advancement and self-development.
When workers realize that their employers and supervisors are not working to improve their motivational qualities in the industry, there will tend to be poor relations between them. This may in turn cause conflicts between the workers and the management and when conflicts arise the entire organization of the company will be jeopardized, to an extent that it causes termination of operations of the company.
Trust of the workers by their employers makes the workers be innovative and creative. It gives them the confidence to try new lines of operations and hence expand the industry. Research shows that the supervisors lack the trust of their employees and this makes the construction workers stagnate in their areas of operation. They prefer to work within the limits given in order to satisfy their employers. This will have long-term consequences because the company will hardly grow to great levels in the future.
Hence, the lack of proper motivational factors in the construction company will cause great implications to the company in the future and unless the human resource management implements the motivational policies, the labor productivity will hardly improve. Even with the best-qualified employees, productivity cannot be improved unless employees are motivated.
Overcoming the problem- A critical review
Human resource management in the construction company needs to play a major role in promoting workers’ motivation and in turn promote productivity. The motivational theories play an important role in providing means of enhancing performance and commitment among the workers.
The company lacks proper supervisory skills and one way of overcoming the problem is to improve on the supervisory skills. The management needs to change the policies that are currently in force regarding the way the supervisors control the employees. There need to be good relations between the workers and the supervisors. This will ensure that the workers do not feel harassed by the supervisors and the supervisors also will be able to understand better the needs of the workers. When the supervisory skills are improved, workers will develop the skill of working with minimum supervision and producing the best in their work. Improved supervisory skills will go hand in hand with ensuring honest and fair supervisors.
Maslow argued that self-esteem and self-actualization are important factors in enhancing employees’ motivation. If the employers showed appreciation for the work that the employees did, esteem among the workers would be enhanced and this would make them more motivated to work. From the findings obtained, workers lacked self-esteem and preferred to work only under the supervisor’s authority. Employers need to first appreciate every work that the employees perform so that they gain the confidence to work and improve their skills. This way they would stop spending a lot of time drinking and extending their breaks. They would have a reason to work extra hours even with minimal supervision.
Rewarding workers according to their effort is another way of enhancing their motivation. When workers are paid according to their effort, they have the desire to improve on their work and be more productive. This will create ambition for the workers as they aim at being the best so that they may be highly rewarded. This way, Adam’s equity theory will be implemented and fairness will be one way of motivating the workers.
Since the workers are not fully motivated by the nature of their work, there is a need to improve on both the external and internal factors that affect the working environment of the company. Qubein (2001) argued that the nature of work alone does not motivate or de-motivate employees. Rather, there are also other factors that go hand in hand in promoting motivation among the workers. If Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory is fully attained, the workers would then desire to have their employers listening to them. They would also desire to have their views incorporated in the company’s management policies and this way they would feel that they are part of the company. They would desire to be part of the success of the company and hence they would be motivated to improve even on their behavior and promote productivity.
With respect to the needs of the workers, it is important that employers understand each of their workers. This is because different workers have different needs and are satisfied differently. When the employers create good relations with the workers, they are able to understand their workers’ needs better and fulfill them equitably. The employees will also be able to diversify their activities in the company and have their needs met in their diversified areas.
As part of rewarding the workers for their effort, there is need also to give promotions to workers who perform to their best. Promotions can also be given after workers have been trained and have proved efficient for the higher position. This will give the employees the desire to work harder and aim for higher positions in the company. This, however, would not be possible if the workers are not given an opportunity to improve their potential or to be more creative. The management policies set for the company must therefore ensure that they look into the worker’s desires for self-advancement. The promotions criteria must also be based on equitability and fairness.
Other issues that greatly affect employees’ motivation at the company are the internal factors that are already put in place. The workers are given some time in between their work to relax. This time should be set in a way that it does not de-motivate the workers more rather than motivating them. For instance, when the workers are provided with beers as refreshments during their breaks, there is the tendency for them to desire to extend their breaks and not work more. The workers should instead be provided with energy meals and drinks that will give them the strength to go on working. The breaks should also be at specific periods and not too long as to affect the company’s working time. Other internal factors to look at would be the number of working hours, the annual leaves provided, job benefits, and compensation for any losses incurred in the process of working. All these would greatly motivate the workers and would give them the desire to be more productive.
A Conclusive Reflection and Recommendations
From the research carried out, the researcher was able to identify various problems that were encountered by the workers in the construction industry. From the results obtained, the researcher may also have experienced problems in trying to identify the actual problem faced by the employees in regards to their motivation. For example, there were no diverse answers and most employees gave relatively the same kind of answer. From the findings, all the employees irrespective of their age were motivated by good working conditions. This means that the researcher could not clearly identify those who were greatly motivated and those that were not.
Another problem that the researcher may have encountered was in the recording of findings. According to the researcher, the level at which employees were least motivated was represented by 10 and that at which they were most motivated was represented by 1. From the results, however, all results ranged between 2 and 4. There were no employees who were most motivated or least motivated above level 4. This was not the best way of measuring employees’ motivating factors as it tends to be biased and does not reflect true opinion. The researcher would have lowered the range in order to fairly distribute the response obtained.
From the results, it is also difficult to identify which age group of employees is motivated most by a particular factor. Almost all employees have similar levels of motivation from the different factors researched upon. The researcher did not use the appropriate method to categorize the different employees because employees working in the same environment are likely to be motivated by similar factors almost at the same level. The researcher ought to have grouped the employees according to the areas in which they are located, that is, use samples from different workplaces in the industry other than employees in the same area of work. Alternatively, they would have based their study area on two or more different companies where working conditions are different. This way the researcher would have obtained more diverse results and would have been able to identify which areas are neglected in terms of motivating workers.
From the findings obtained from the research, it is also not clear what factors are lacking in the construction industry. The researcher only identified the extent to which employees were motivated by different factors but left out the motivating factors that had been implemented in the industry and their effects on employees. This would imply that the entire human resource management policy needs to be reviewed in order to help implement the recommendations made.
The questionnaires that the researcher used to obtain results may not have contained the correct kind of information to clearly handle the research question. For instance, where the employees were asked to explain how motivated they were with their job at the present, all employees gave similar answers which show that they were motivated at the same level. This does not reflect a genuine response because it is not possible to have all employees having the same level of motivation yet they are motivated by different factors (Martin, 2005). This shows that there was a possibility the employees were not sincere with their answers. The researcher is hence faced with the problem of making an unbiased and correct conclusion from the findings obtained.
However, even as the researcher experienced these challenges, he was able to come up with a conclusive statement regarding employees’ motivation in the construction industry. The researcher was able to group the most important factors in order of their necessity, which is different from the motivational theories that were established. The researcher concludes that it is through understanding the employees’ needs that employers can improve the efficiency of the employees (Qubein, 2001).
Despite the fact that employees in this organization are motivated by more or less the same factors, the researcher needs to emphasize the need to treat employees according to their desires in order to ensure that they are well motivated. This may be a challenge to the researchers but if they can portray that need clearly to the management, then it would be an effective way of motivating the workers.
Since the researcher has identified the factors which motivate employees the most and those which motivate the least, it is now easier for the management to improve the performance of employees by implementing these factors in their company.
Future Personal Development Plan
From the study, it has been observed that the company needs to improve on its management policies in order to promote employees’ motivation. The study has come up with various ways in which the management would improve the human resource management in the organization. The researcher is also faced with the responsibility of ensuring that the management implements the policies to improve the motivation of employees.
The researcher needs to establish long-term policies that will be implemented in the organization. This will ensure that the human resource management formed will continuously be guided by these policies and problems concerning the employees will be unlikely to occur in the future. The issue of employees’ motivation should be a long-term issue and therefore the researcher needs to assist the management to come up with those policies that will be useful to employees all through.
Since the researcher faced the employees’ problems first-hand, it was possible to identify those factors that de-motivated the employees most. It is therefore necessary that the problems are ranked in order of their extent and then advise the management on the best motivational factors to implement for each problem. The researcher needs to play a major role in ensuring that the employees’ problems are well handled and that each motivational factor is implemented in their respective order. This will prevent current problems from arising in the future.
In the process of carrying out research in the future, the research should identify those problems that affect employees in the different departments of an organization. There is a need to identify the different needs of employees in the different departments. This will ensure that all employees’ needs have been taken into consideration, without ignoring some groups of employees. The researcher should therefore carry out research from a random sample of different organizations or departments so that a conclusive and unbiased decision is made.
Therefore, it is important that the conclusions made from this research are implemented not only in the construction company but also in other micro organizations so that problems regarding human resource management and employees, motivation do not arise in the future. The researcher should be able to take note of all the findings observed and assist the management in making maximum use of the recommendations.
Hertzberg F, Work and the Nature of Man. London: Staples Press, 1968.
Hume, David A. Reward Management: Employee Performance, Motivation And Pay. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.
Martin J. Organizational Behavior and Management. London, Thomson Learning, 2005.
Maslow A. Personality and Motivation. New York: Harper and Row, 1954.
McGregor, Douglas. The human side of enterprise – International student Edition, Tokyo: London: McGraw Hill, 1960.
Qubein N. 10 Principles of Motivation. Financial Executive, 2001.
Wiley C. International Journal of Manpower. Tennessee, U.S.A University of Tennessee (1995).