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Getting people to their best work, even in trying circumstances is one of the most tough and tricky challenges for managers. Some of the reasons can be constant changing workforce, non alignment of individual goals to organizations goals, needs and desires of individuals keep varying from time to time and the list goes on. A manager to be successful will have to solve these motivational issues to have a positive impact on his organization, like increased efficiency of employees, achievement of team goals, building friendly relationships within the team and leading to a stable workforce. Motivation is essential for working alone, as well as when you're working in a team. The ultimate objective and focus of any organization is to successfully hold on to talent, fulfil goals and go beyond expectations. There are many ways a manager can improve motivation like, providing information and resources for employees to good a good job, asking employees for their input, publicly recognize and congratulate employees, use promotions based on performance, have clear goals and foster a sense of community within teams. Organizations are made up of different individuals and each of them is unique and it is the manager who has to understand each individual and apply appropriate motivational strategies to get the best out of each individual.
This paper focuses on how managers can motivate their employees with the help of different theories of motivation. It examines the organizations in the current world and some of the challenges they are facing in terms of employee motivation. Finally we see how organizations and higher management have applied certain motivational theories at their workplace and been successful in increasing the motivational levels of their staff.
Employee motivation has been a major managerial issue for decades. The study of motivation theories is important for managers because these theories offer insight into how an employee gets motivated at workplace which is essential for organizational effectiveness and its success. Extrinsic motivation comes because of tangible rewards like money whereas intrinsic motivation comes from the work itself.
Content theories of motivation looks at both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators and answers what motivates whereas process theories gives managers the why and how aspects of motivation. Some of history's most influential thinkers about human behavior have taught us a tremendous amount about why people do the things they do. Their theories were based on careful and educated investigation and mostly on direct observation. (Katsva & Quader 2008)
Abraham Maslow came up with the most widely known theory of motivation "Maslow's needs hierarchy theory" (SADRI G. & BOWEN R. 2011). Later on, Clayton Alderfer simplified Maslow's hierarchy of needs into three broader classes of needs and came up with "ERG theory". Frederick Herzberg proposed his "two-factor theory" which is also known as "motivator-hygiene theory" (Maidani, E. A. 1991), whereas David McClelland came up with his own "McClelland's Need theory" (Stahl M 1983). In addition to these classic motivational theories, a number of new researchers have contributed various theories which fit well into the current competitive marketplace.
Current Challenges for organizations:
Much of what these researchers have found remains applicable and important even today. However, there have been radical changes in both individual and organisational working practices, processes and principles that have an effect upon the needs and views of the 21st Century employee (Forster 2006). These include the focus on work-life balance, virtual working, telecommuting and the increased focus on performance management processes. So new age managers have a comparatively difficult task of motivating employees as the needs and necessities have a much broader range. Managers must view motivation as an existing resource which can be harnessed through appropriate personnel policies, reward systems, and employee engagement (Rabinowitz, W., Falkenbach, K., Travers, J. R., Valentine, C., & Weener, P. 1983). Organizational motivation (steps organizations are taking to make sure employees are engaged and motivated in a workplace) also plays a bigger role than ever before. Organizations must be clear in terms of vision, communication and decision-making processes. Leaders and managers must earn the respect of employees, create a suitable working environment and offer opportunities for people to grow and expand. This becomes doubly important when times are tough (Forster 2006).
Motivation in practice:
Motivation at B & Q, Europe:
B&Q is the largest home improvement and garden centre retailer in the UK and Europe and the third largest in the world (Source: http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/corporate/index.jsp). The company focuses more on using learning and development and performance related pay as motivational tools. Andrew Moat, reward solutions and service manager says that the single most important thing for their company is to make sure people have fulfilling careers (Taylor V 2006). The company employees undergo performance review twice a year and this decides whether pay increase for employees or bonuses for managers are awarded (Taylor V 2006). Regardless of this Moat explains that people generally leave or join because of the opportunities they have at work and not because of pay.
Motivating personnel in Russian Nuclear power plants:
Motivating employees is an essential part of personnel management in any endeavour. However, certain state of affairs in Russian nuclear plants makes it a matter of particular importance. Russian plants operate using obsolete equipment and often without the funding to pay the minimal salaries on time (Katsva & Condrey 2005). How can people possibly work without salary? The answer may in part be that Russia has a tradition of non-monetary motivation that is somewhat alien to western capitalist nations (Katsva & Condrey 2005).
A research conducted at various nuclear plants across Russia by Minatom Professional Training Institute Atomenergo, indicate the differences between the mentality of Russian employees and Western employees. Utilitarian approach of money and wealth are the key western cultural values whereas need for promotion, self actualization, self achievement, and recognition constitutes Russian orthodox culture (Katsva & Condrey 2005). When you analyse this research it shows, most nuclear employees in Russia consider non-monetary rewards (prestige, job uniqueness, expertise and stability) as motivating values which is understood and pursued by the higher management.
McClelland's theory for need in achievement, power and affiliation and Herzberg's two-factor theory (motivators include achievement, recognition, responsibility, growth, advancement and the work itself) could be applied to this case.
Motivating academic researchers:
Academic research is pursued by a small community and it has little hope for commercial success. Reward systems and recognition have been found to play a critical role in enhancing motivation, quality and quantity of work set by these researchers (Unnirishnan M. K. 2009).
Rewards are not expensive to implement. It does not require much money, resources and not even time; all that it requires is imagination, a sensitive mind, and above all, the right attitude. Reward can be just a gesture of goodwill by the university / management in return for achievement or meritorious record in a given area of research (Unnirishnan M. K. 2009). Mr. Unnikrishnan who is a professor at Manipal University has a short episode regarding this topic.
One of his students joined as a faculty at the University of Wyoming and as he was into his new job for a few weeks the dean called him over the phone and asked him if he could accompany a visiting scientist for dinner. The visitor was none other than Ferid Murad, who had shared the Nobel Prize (1998) in Medicine with Furchgott and Ignarro. The student asked, "Why me?", an instant reply came from the dean "You are the person from this campus, whose research background is closest to Prof Murad's". The student, thoroughly flattered by the invitation recalls this dinner as one of the most rewarding experiences in his career.
The case illustrated above provides an example of a feasible, easily implementable, inexpensive and innovative HR strategy for promoting and motivating young researchers. Similar strategies should be followed by all universities to motivate their students. In a country like India science administration enjoys a much greater degree of visibility than scientists and most of the credit goes to the higher hierarchy people leading to lower motivational levels in scientists and researchers (Unnirishnan M. K. 2009).
Motivating people working in teams at Merchants:
Merchants' is a leading BPO solution provider which received the best employer's certification for the year 2012/13 (Source: http://www.merchants.co.uk/aboutus/Pages/default.aspx?_id=8). They got the best ratings for career development, secondary benefits for employees and working conditions. The company recently launched a team reward program called "Smiles Reward Points" (Robertson, J. 2006).
As per the new program, the employees of the company are organized into teams of up to 15 which are managed by a team leader. Teams are then sorted into houses which compete against one another (Robertson, J. 2006). Supervisors of each team can earn points for themselves and their team by providing good service. These points can then be redeemed online for products. The company is also considering subsiding developmental courses as a further incentive (Robertson, J. 2006).
As per HR manager, Adrian Carton, this scheme will have a widespread appeal and it will increase motivational levels in an industry that typically has high employee turnover. The company wants to make sure people doing a hard job are incentivised and if an employee learns something they will share it with everyone, a process which leads to greater efficiency and profits. Unlike a commission based scheme, this new initiative emphasises on team work which the company prefers (Robertson, J. 2006).
In this paper, we understood how motivation levels can be improved in a lot of different ways. Organizations cannot achieve success without a work environment that promotes motivation. No matter what the industry is, managers need to be in touch with what is important for employees and work with senior management to cultivate a motivated workplace based on trust, recognition and acknowledgment, to get the best out of the employee. Moreover, this will lead to optimal employee engagement and performance. Motivation inspires and encourages individuals and project teams to achieve great deeds and a manager should have the ability to connect team members to assignments, responsibilities, environments and objectives that foster personal motivation. A manager should stop applying a broad application of motivation to all team members based solely on his perception. With the study and application of motivation, the manager must understand the importance of individuality and have to spend time working with each team member basically to understand personal work drivers which will allow the manager to find out basic human needs and individual motivators.