Analysis Into Staff Motivation In Vital In Singapore Business Essay

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Vital is a government department formed on 1 Apr 2006 under the Ministry of Finance. Their core business is to provide back-end administrative functions in Human Resource Services (HRS), Finance Services (FS), Payroll and Claims Services (PAC), Learning and Development Services (LDS) and Travel Management (TM)) to the public service. It brings together common services within the public sector to leverage economics of scale, improve operational efficiency, and achieve cost effectiveness. Out of the 500 staff at the shared services centre, 450 are directly involved in operations.

1.2 Background

This article presents a synthesis of employee motivational theories which will influence employees' engagement in Vital. A model was designed based on the literature review, linking factors of employee motivation and organizational effectiveness. By deep analysis of problems and challenges study suggest the implementation of various HR Policies to enhance the job performance resultantly improved job satisfaction and lower turnover.

Questionnaires survey was used to measure job satisfaction and work motivation in Vital with a sample size of 100 being selected. The respondents' views of employee motivation factors were analyzed, in contrast with the literature review model in Chapter 2.

The final part of the part provides an illustration with explanation on how effective employee retention practices can be explained through motivation theories.

1.3 Problem Statement

The purpose of the report is to investigate how will motivational factors influence employees in Vital to reduce propensity in leaving the organization?

1.3 Rationale for selection

An employee engagement survey conducted in 2010 by Towers Watson and the Civil Service College found employee engagement at all-time lows. Benchmarked against 30 agencies in the Singapore Civil Service, Vital is ranked among the bottom three in employee engagement.

Turnover Rate in Vital is high and supervisors are spending extra time to re-train new employees if people are leaving. Hence, I wish to research on employees' motivation factors that will reduce the propensity to leave the organization and recommend ways to the management for them to review and implement to the organization so that it will be a win-win situation for both employees and organization. Employee motivation is one of the vital factors that can help the employer to improve highly motivated employee and organization's success. Motivated employees work harder, produce higher quality and greater quantities of work, are more likely to engage in organizational citizenship behaviours, and are less likely to leave the organization.

Organizations need to provide public servants with attractive benefits such as a good salary, appreciations, good remuneration and other form of benefits. With that, the employees themselves will be highly motivated in their jobs and this will lead to high performance in the work.

Job satisfaction is something that working adults seek and a key element of employee retention which is possible only by making the employee feel comfortable physically and psychologically. It is very important in retaining critical employees and explained how employee retention practices can be more effective by identifying and analyzing employee motivation theories and showing the relationship between employee motivation and employee retention.

Hale (1998) stated that 86% of employers was experiencing difficulty attracting new employees and 58% of organizations claim that they are experiencing difficulty retaining their employees. While pay will always be an important factor, it is not the only driver for employees of today. To engage and motivate staff to reach their full potential, having an effective reward and recognition strategy is vital. Out of the many ways to reward and recognise employees, non-monetary rewards are gaining popularity among employees as the most effective means to celebrate the achievements of staff.


According to a recent survey on Employee Job Satisfaction in Malaysia, 78% of workers are not happy at work. While it is often perceived that the main reason many young talents leave a company is due to the low salary, only 17% of respondents quoted salary as the main reason for influencing their unhappiness at their current job. Dissatisfaction with their scope of work was the top reason many felt unhappy at work.

Most of these unhappy employees said they felt they had too much work, or that their work was predictable and boring. Employee performance fundamentally depend on many factors like performance appraisals, employee motivation, employee satisfaction, compensation, training and development, job security, but the area of study is focused only on employee motivation as this factor highly influence the performance of employees.

1.5 Objectives & Research Questions

This proposal will attempt to investigate several factors related to motivation. First, it will investigate the factors that contribute to work motivation. Next objective is to examine the relationship between motivational factors and employees' motivation in Vital. Last but not least, it is to review the motivational factors in Vital and provides recommendations to reduce high employees' turnover rate

Chapter 2 - Literature Review - 1700 words (approximate)

2.1 Introduction / Purpose

Motivation is the key component of organizational culture. Organizational culture plays a significant role in an organization regarding how people feel about their work, levels of employees' motivation, commitment, and eventually results in job satisfaction. These views are further backed by Sempane et al. (2002) by explaining that people are the key factors for competitiveness and organizations can demonstrate highly complex social structure because of their cultural strength.

Rewards which can be classified as monetary or non-monetary can be used as a significant tools for increasing employees' motivation. Rewards are a positive step towards the improvement of an employee's performance as a way to boost his morale. Rewards help in increasing the frequency of an action performed by the employee of an organization. (Zigon, 1998)

The most important factor in the delivery of the best quality service is the motivation of the employees; on the individual level as well as on the group level. In today's world of competition to deliver best service in order to satisfy customers it has become very difficult; in fact organizations take it as a challenge to motivate employees in order to get best output from them.

Employees that are motivated and are fully aware of the organization's goals, and know that organization will provide those benefits when they will achieve the goals, they will divert their all hard work and devotion towards those goals.

2.2 Maslow's Need Hierarchy of Needs


Maslow's hierarchy of needs is one of the fundamental theories of personal motivation. The theory of Maslow's hierarchy of needs can be used as a framework to identify the various benefits organizations can offer to satisfy their employees' needs and, in turn, increasing motivation, productivity and overall company revenues.

Maslow (1943) stated that people, including employees at organizations, are motivated by the desire to achieve or maintain the various conditions upon which these basic satisfactions rest and by certain more intellectual desires.

According to Maslow, each need has to be satisfied substantially in order for an individual to progress to the next level. Managers are able to motivate their employees by providing rewards that help satisfy the need that is operational and prevalent at any point in time. Once a need has been satisfied substantially, it ceases to be a motivator. Then, employees move to the next level in the need hierarchy and work on satisfying those needs.

Applying Maslow's hierarchy of needs to human behaviour in organisations, it can be seen that people will first of all be motivated by the desire to satisfy physiological needs through monetary rewards. Once those have been substantially satisfied, however, workers will seek to satisfy - be motivated by - their safety needs, such as job security and welfare benefits.

Maslow's esteem need includes the need for responsibility, reputation, recognition and respect from others. These esteem needs gives the employees a sense of importance and also provide them with opportunities to contribute. Receiving recognition and praise are fundamental motivators across all levels of employees. Employees like to feel that their work contributes to establishing a good reputation for them. If esteem needs are not fulfilled, employees will feel discouraged and inferior; this affects their enthusiasm and performance level.

At the high level of the hierarchy is the need to realize one's potentialities so as to satisfy what Maslow referred to as 'the desire to become everything that one is capable of becoming.' Thus the person becomes interested in self-fulfilment, self-development & creativity in the broadest sense of the term. According to Maslow, this will vary from person to person and, indeed, may differ over time, as a person reaches a level of potential previously considered unattainable and goes on to strive for new heights.

Maslow contended that growth needs have lasting motivational effects on employees, helping them to maintain and improve their work performance. The needs from the second to the fifth level are psychological needs. It is said that satisfaction of these needs are not as powerful as the first level of needs in influencing people's behavior. Even after being the low level needs are lower in the order of priority they are highly important in nature. The need for self-actualization is the highest level of needs. This has profound effect on employee interest and commitment.

Maslow theory rests upon four main assumptions. First, the theory holds that all human needs cannot be satisfied, because, if one need is satisfied, another arises. Second, the theory assumes some needs are innate. The other assumption is that a satisfied need does not motivate behaviour. Lastly, the theory holds that Human beings attempt to satisfy their needs in a specific order, based on hierarchy.

Criticisms of Maslow's theory:

Hierarchy cannot be regarded as rigid. For some people, the levels may not be clearcut & may tend to overlap

Some individuals may lack ambition & may remain at the primary levels of the hierarchy concerned only with physiological & safety needs

The order suggested by Maslow may not be applicable to everybody.

A single need cannot motivate an individual. There may be several & that too in combinations, existing.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs are not universally applicable across cultures. According to Arnold et al, Maslow's work was found to lack empirical substance when researches attempted to validate it, and certainly later theories of motivation seem to adopt a different approach.

2.3 Herzberg's Two-factor Theory (Motivaton-Hygiene Theory)

Herzberg (1964) identified five factors that most often contributed to employee dissatisfaction: perceived fairness of company policy, pay, working conditions, relations with one's supervisor, and relations with co-workers as hygiene factors. When they're adequate, people will not be dissatisfied; neither will they be satisfied. Hygiene factors do not significantly increase employee motivation but are necessary to maintain a certain level of employee motivation.

Hygiene factors are factors which 'surround the job' rather than the job itself. In majority, employees will turn up to work only if an organization has provided a reasonable level of pay and safety measures in working conditions but these factors will not make him work harder at his job once he is there. According to Frederick Herzberg, the factor of hygiene or the pay to the work performed is the biggest motivator that helps the employees to retain in a particular workplace for a longer period of time.

If we want to motivate people on their jobs, Herzberg suggested emphasizing factors associated with the work itself or with outcomes directly derived from it, such as promotional opportunities, personal growth opportunities, recognition, responsibility, and achievement. Motivation and the increase of work performance could be only obtained through the action of the motivational factors, which directly reflect the content of the executed work by the employee on his position.

According to Herzberg, the factors leading to job satisfaction are separate and distinct from those that lead to job dissatisfaction. Therefore, managers who seek to eliminate factors that create job dissatisfaction can bring about peace, but not necessarily motivation. The opposite of job satisfaction is not job dissatisfaction, but rather no job satisfaction. .

Herzberg believed that organizations should motivate employees by adopting a democratic approach to management and by improving the nature and content of the actual job through certain methods.

Criticisms include the following:

The procedure Herzberg used is limited by its methodology. When things are going well, people tend to take credit themselves. Contrarily, they blame failure on the extrinsic environment.

No overall measure of satisfaction was utilized. A person may dislike part of a job yet still think the job is acceptable overall.

Herzberg assumed a relationship between satisfaction and productivity, but the research methodology he used looked only at satisfaction and not at productivity.

2.4 Equity Theory/Organizational Justice

Organizational justice is based on the idea that when people feel they are being treated fairly and the treatment is valued, the expectancy that constructive work behaviours will be associated with desirable work outcomes increases (Latham & Pinder, 2005). Perceptions of inequity are expected to cause employees to take action to remedy the situation.

Equity theory rests upon three main assumptions (Carrell, 1978). First, the theory holds that people develop beliefs about what constitutes a fair and equitable return for their contributions to their jobs. Second, the theory assumes that people tend to compare what they perceive to be the exchange they have with their employers. The other assumption is that when people believe that their own treatment is not equitable, relative to the exchange they perceive others to be making, they will be motivated to take actions they deem appropriate.

The equity theory, developed by Adams (1975) explains about the people perceptions regarding the way they are treated in comparison with others. The theory states that the people are higher motivated when they are fairly treated and less motivated when there is no equity between employees. Equity theory is based on the principle of social comparison; this theory suggests that an individual is motivated based on a perception of how well their work is compensated in comparison to others (Muchinsky, 2006).

Equity theory recognizes that individuals are concerned not only with the absolute amount of rewards they receive for their efforts, but also with the relationship of this amount to what others receive. Based on one's inputs, such as effort, experience, education, and competence, one can compare outcomes such as salary levels, increases, recognition and other factors. When people perceive an imbalance in their outcome-input ratio relative to others, tension is created. This tension provides the basis for motivation, as people strive for what they perceive as equity and fairness (Robbins, 1993).

How much we get paid relative to what we think we should be paid (distributive justice) is obviously important. Procedural Justice - the perceived fairness of the process used to determine the distribution of rewards. Two key elements of procedural justice are process control and explanations. Process control is the opportunity to present your point of view about desired outcomes to decision makers. Explanations are clear reasons management gives for the outcome. Thus, for employees to see process as a fair, they need to feel they have some control over the outcome and that they were given an adequate explanation about why the outcome occurred. It's also important that a manager is consistent (across people and over time), is unbiased, make decisions based on accurate information, and is open to appeals.

A recent addition to research on organizational justice is interactional justice, an individual's perception of the degree to which she is treated with dignity, concern and respect. When people are treated in an unjust manner (at least in their own eyes), they retaliate (for example, badmouthing a supervisor). Because people intimately connect interactional justice or injustice to the conveyor of the information, we would expect perceptions of injustice to be more closely related to the supervisor.

Of these 3 forms of justice, distributive justice is most strongly related to organizational commitment and satisfaction with outcomes such as pay. Procedural justice relates most strongly to job satisfaction, employee trust, withdrawal from the organization, job performance, and citizenship behaviours.

Chapter 3 - Research Methodology Design - 1700 words (approximate)

3.1 Research Question and Research Objectives

The research question will used the quantitative method to identify the factors that motivate employees in Vital to work.

Question 1: How long have you been with Vital?

The reason to ask this question is to investigate the average period that employees stay with Vital.

If the period is short, it proves that Vital is not a good place to work as there is high turnover rate but if the average period is long, it proves that employees are very committed.

Question 2: For the work I do, I am fairly paid / Question 3: From what I heard, our benefits are as good as or better than the benefits in other organizations

One of the extrinsic factor to check the motivation level of employees is salary and benefits. To check how this variable helps us to motivate the employees of public sectors and its effort on the motivation level of employees'. Respondents' responses were evaluated on five likert scales.

Question 4: My work schedule allows sufficient flexibility to meet my personal / family needs

This is to investigate if there are any work-life practices in Vital such as reduced work-load and flexi-time. Respondents' responses were evaluated on five likert scales.

Question 5: Do you think your job scope is routine?

Routine work may cause discontentment to the employees and employees might feel sick/bored of it. If there continue to do routine work for more than 1-2 years, they might consider changing the job as it is too routine and will cause lack of job satisfaction. Respondents' responses were evaluated on five likert scales.

Question 6: I think Vital offers long-term career advancement for me

Herzberg two-factor theory states that opportunities for personal growth is a motivational factors that motivate employees in the job. Respondents' responses were evaluated on five likert scales.

Achievement is the goals of company and employees respectively that all employees want to achieve at their work place. This variable also motivates employees because everyone wants to achieve its goal or good position in the organization. Respondents' responses were evaluated on five likert scales.

Question 7: Are you satisfied with your status in the company?

One of the important extrinsic factor that play role in motivation of employees is their status and designation in organization. This variable motivate employee in that manner that how much authority you have at work place? Employees get satisfied with their rank, authority and responsibility given to them according to their skills and education. Respondents' responses were evaluated on five likert scales.

Question 8: Motivation determines employee performance

This variable explains us that employees are more motivated to that sector which provides them better facilities and packages. Motivation level of employees in both the sector depends upon the rules and regulation policies and working environment. Most of the employees have agreed that if they are motivated, they will not leave the organization.

According to Griffin and Moorhead (2009), managers must determine how to motivate people and how to optimize their performance. The long term key to success in business is to create jobs that optimize the organization's requirements for productivity and efficiency while motivating and satisfying the employees who perform those jobs. Virtually, all employees belong to a work unit, and their work performance depends to some degree on level of motivation given by the managers. Respondents' responses were evaluated on five likert scales.

Question 9: which of the following statements best describe your current situation?

To investigate the respondent's willingness to continue to stay in organization. Organizations are very highly concerned about employee retention over the next 12 months.

Question 10: if you have a choice, how longer will you be working for Vital?

To investigate whether what employees are thinking of continue to stay in Vital and roughly how long they will continue to work there.

Question 11: which of the following are holding you back in your career?

To investigate the factors that is holding employees to continue to stay on in Vital and provide recommendations to the management to review.

Question 12: What suggestions would you offer to improve Vital as a place to work?

To provide recommendations for Vital to consider what employees are thinking? And if management takes into account the recommendations, employees might feel motivated as their suggestions are taken into account.

3.2 Research Design Discussion

There are 4 types of collection methods which are Questionnaire Surveys, Interviews, Observation and content analysis.

Questionnaires are perhaps the most widely used research tool. They are attractive because they require minimal resources, inexpensive and can provide a large sample. Questionnaires supply standardized answers, to the extent that all respondents are posed with exactly the same questions. The data collected, then, are very unlikely to be contaminated through variations in the wording of the questions or the manner in which the question is asked. There is little scope for the data to be affected by interpersonal factors. It also encourages pre-corded answers. Questionnaires work best with standardised questions that you can be confident will be interpreted the same way by all respondents (Robson 2011).

However, Saunders et al (2007, pp354-99) warn that questionnaires are not easy to design, administer and interpret. One has to ensure that precise data can be collected to answer the specific research questions and it is not usually easy to go back to respondents if one realises the questionnaire is badly designed or inappropriate. The disadvantages of questionnaires are that it might have poor response rate, incomplete or poorly completed answers and we cannot check the truth of answers.

Questionnaires therefore tend to be used for descriptive or explanatory research. Descriptive research, such as that undertaken using attitude and opinion questionnaires and questionnaires of organisational practices, will enable you to identify and describe the variability in difficult phenomena. In contract, explanatory or analytical research will enable you to examine and explain relationship between variables, in particular cause-and-effect relationships.

Suitably of Questionnaire

We choose questionnaires as there is a need for standardized data from identical questions - without requiring personal, face-to-face interaction.

3.3 Data Collection

 I would conduct an online survey of approximately 100 employees which is 20% of Vital's staff strength from different departments / different age groups etc to get more comprehensive results via online website at googledocs. There are 12 questions in the questionnaire.

The Likert scale was used for the collection of data. Likert scale is basically a 5-point scale (Strongly Agree = 5, Agree = 4, Neutral = 3, Disagree = 2, strongly disagree = 1) which consists of values from 5 to 1. (Likert, 1932)

I will contact the 100 recipients via email and advise them that they will be expecting a questionnaire from me in a few days time. Next, I will email the hyperlink to the questionnaire with a covering email.

I will email the first follow-up one week after emailing out the questionnaire to all recipients. This should thank early respondents and remind non-respondents to answer with a copy of the hyperlink being attached.

If there is no response after three weeks, I will send a second reminder. The covering email should be reworded to further emphasize the importance of completing the questionnaire. If time allows or the response rate is still low, I will also use a third follow-up with the recipients.

Ms Excel 2007 was implemented to get the findings. Means and Standard Deviations was calculated, that provided us a broader view of the data, how much people are satisfied and up to what extent the psychology of employees differ in a work environment. Regression analysis was carried out to determine the effect of independent variables on dependent variables.

Aftermaths, I will retrieve the statistics from googledocs and analyze the results through graphs and piecharts so as to do a comparision between the datas that I have collected. This would help me to understand the similarities and differences in the motivational factors between different departments as well as in different age groups. From there, I will provide recommendations for them to review and implement if necessary.

3.4 Managing Access

Cognitive access will be required in this case as I would need to gain the approval within the organization (in this case will be the Human Resource) to gain access to the data which they are able to provide. Where I achieve this, I will have gained access to the data that I need the HR to share with me in order to be able to address my research question and objectives.

3.5 Unit Of Information

The Unit of observation were the employees in Vital at Singapore. The sample includes all categories of employees.

3.6 Selecting your research participants (sampling)

We have conducted research to find motivation level of employees in Vital.

We use Probability Sampling in determine sampling size at

Probability sampling is associated most commonly with survey research strategies where you need to make inferences from your sample about a population to answer your research question (s) and to meet your objectives.

A probability sample would ensure that everyone who works in Vital has an equal chance of being surveyed. Essentially, probability sampling means that respondents are chosen at random and everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in the research.

3.7 Response Rate

A total of 100 questionnaires were distributed out for which a response rate of 75 per cent is anticipated.

3.8 Data Analysis

Data was analyzed and interpreted using Qualitative analysis technique.

Coding the data

This involving a process of 'coding' the data. Coding, in essence, entails the attribution of a number of a piece of data, or group of data, with the express aim of allowing such data to be analyzed in quantitative terms. Such coding is usually done at an early stage in the research process and, in fact, the general advice as far as quantitative analysis is concerned is to do the coding prior to the collection of the data.

Grouping the data

The first stage in the analysis of quantitative data is to organize the raw data in a way that makes it easily understood. Initially, it is to construct an array of the raw data, i.e. to arrange the data in order. A further stage in organizing the data is to make a tally of the frequencies. This gives a clearer picture of which frequencies were the most common and is far better in terms of being able to 'read' the data. It immediately suggests certain things about the data and invites questions about why certain frequencies are more common than others.

When there are a large number of frequencies, I can organize the data by grouping the frequencies. Such grouped frequency distributions are a very valuable and commonly used strategy for the organization of raw data.

Presentation of idea

Data that is collected by questionnaire will be collated into a single Excel spreadsheet. The functions of Excel will then be used for data presentation and data analysis. The data for each question will be summarized using either bar charts or tables. In addition, correlation will be used to determine relationship between age and employee retention (i.e. number of years worked in the company).

Chapter 4 - Conclusion - 800 words (approximate) 

4.1 Summary

In investigating the relationship that exist between organizational culture, motivation and performance sought to address the following objectives; investigate the factors that contribute to work motivation, examine the relationship between motivational factors and employees' motivation in Vital and review the motivational factors in Vital and provides recommendations to reduce high employees' turnover rate.

Employees believe that organizational efficiency increases with the increase in the motivational level of employees and that better motivation decreases the attrition rate of employees in the company. This implies that organizational culture influences the level of motivation of its employees which reduce the propensity to leave the organisation. Better motivation of employees results in an efficient workforce and it eventually increases the overall efficiency or productivity of the organization.

In order to make employees work efficiently and produce beneficial results to the organization, managers have to understand human behavior. Motivation is an important part of understanding behavior and is a tool with which managers can use in organizations to make people do what they want.

The biggest problem that the businesses are facing today is how to motivate the employees in order to get best from them.

While owners have a share by virtue of investment of monies, the employees invest their time in the organisation in which they work. In large organisations, especially in a listed company, the employees invest far more of their lives in the organisation than the owners, some of which are merely speculators. They, the employees, invest a lot more of their skills, their passion, their effort and their experience to the enterprise and is more likely to think of the workplace as a second home than the owners.

Employees' continuous growth, favourable compensation and benefits, and work-life balance are some of the important motivational factors to drive employees to perform better, produce high-quality results for the customers and ultimately, the company.

4.1 Possible Outcomes

Implementation of Employee benefit programmes has greater impact on work-motivation than on productivity. Rewards are very important for the employees, in the absence of rewards the motivation level of the employees will fall down sharply. In order to keep motivation level of employees' higher rewards should be proper given.

Employee benefit programmes have higher influence on job performance of younger employees. Employees under 35 perceived more benefit impact on their job performance. Those under 25 stressed life-attendance; those between 26-30 emphasized monetary and security measures; those between 31-35 tended to look for social demands, self-actualization, individual development and flexible working time.

The correlation exists positively both between monetary rewards and motivation, non-monetary rewards and motivation. But the higher correlation exists between monetary rewards and motivation than non-monetary rewards and motivation.

Limitation & Suggestions for Future Research

This study contains some limitations. First, the time period of carrying out this research was short as a result of which many factors such as communication may have been left unexplored. Second, there is a lack of time and other resources so it was not feasible to conduct survey at large level. Third, there are only a small number of respondents: only 100 employees have been chosen. Lastly, the respondents might feel unwilling to fill up the questionnaire due to lack of time or might feel troublesome.

Further Research

To enhance the prospect of generalizing the findings of the current study, it is necessary to expand the scope in terms of the sample size and the selection strategy.

The researchers recommend that further research into retaining employees in Vital is undertaken in order to generalise the findings. The role of leadership should also be investigated more thoroughly.