Enhancing the employee productivity through motivation

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Sunfell is a tourist company, specialising in booking tourists into Hotels, and offering transport to various tourists' attraction sites. With three branches in the company, it is sometimes hard to maintain employee cohesion as they rarely meet together, except for the Christmas office party. The human resource manger, Ms. Belinda Schwartz, has currently been concerned with the low tourists preferring to associate with Sunfell, lowering our overall profits, and the high employee turn over in twp branches of Sunfell. As her assistant, she requested me to carry out a survey in all the three branches and ascertain their reason for the low productivity and high employee turnover, in relation to employee motivation.

I carried out a comprehensive research in all the three branches, involving employees and came up with recommendation, stated in this report. Applying motivational theories like Maslow's', Vroom's, Skinner's Adam's, and Herzberg's, this report provides relevant information regarding the relationship between motivation and productivity, and how to motivate employees.

2.0 Executive summary

This report is aimed at achieving a complete understanding of factors for motivation and ways to motivate employees in a company. Motivational theories are briefly discussed to offer an understanding of human nature, which is essential for applying motivational strategies. These theories include the hierarchy of needs, two factor theory, equity theory, expectancy and reinforcement theory. The objectives of motivation is also analysed in the report, the main one being, motivation as a survival tool for the organisation. In order to effectively motivate an individual, a manger needs to understand the individual with their perceptive needs, there are strategies provided in this report, to help mangers achieve maximum production through motivation. The research was done through the access of both secondary and primary sources of information. Discussion and questionnaires provided primary sources while the company record available at the human resource department provided secondary sources. With the survey, a realisation that money contributes little to enhance motivation is made. Other non financial incentives are encouraged, amongst them being advancement and recognition. To conclude certain recommendations are made for managers wishing to achieve motivation. Amongst them is that they manage should have a clear perspective of organisational goals and of his/her job, and identify his/her own strategies for self motivation. They should later understand employees in terms of their needs and work towards rewarding them in a way that their immediate needs are met, in relation to their positions or roles in the organisation. Celebrating achievements as soon as they are realised is one strategy of doing this. Employees should never be treated as disposable assets as this encourages employee turnover, which would later harm the organisation.

3.0 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Motivation has been defined in many ways, depending on the context and relevance of it. Bruce (2006) defines motivation as a predisposition to behave in a specific manner that ensures attainment of specific goals. Psychologists generally refer to it as a psychological process that defines a person's behaviour and gives directions. For the purpose of this report, I shall define Motivation as an inner force, drive, or intense willingness that pushes an individual to accomplish both personal and organisational goals. Productivity, in simple terms, would refer to the overall output produced after labour is applied.

THEORIES

Theories refer to conceptual ideas and proven facts that explain a phenomenon, usually formed by scholars with expertise in that field. In Motivation, there are certain theorists who have come up with explanations of motivation, in relation to human nature. Most of them are psychologists who have built their theories through a deeper understanding of human beings, their nature, and operation in their environments. The earliest theory by Sigmund Freud, that identified Human beings as lazy, lacking ambition, and non initiators, argued that employees only need job security in order to work, and that to get people to work, a manger needed to reward them, coerce, and punish them. However, this theory was disputed as it creates a tense and frustrated environment, unsuitable for maximum productivity (Grant, 2005). Other theorists like Douglas McGregor, also came up with explanations of human motivation, arguing that human beings have a natural tendency to want to learn and work. Since this is natural, they develop self discipline that will ensure self development. A manager's work therefore is aligning employees wish to the organisation's need for productivity, in a favourable environment. However, these theories are summarising by the following big and recognised motivation theorists.

3.1 Maslow's Hierarchy of need

Abraham Maslow studied human personality in relation to motivation. He argued that motivation pushes an individual to act in a certain way. In his theory of Hierarchy of needs, Maslow explains that human beings have needs that they strive to meet through their actions. He classified these needs in a hierarchy starting from the most basic, at the lowest level of the chain. These needs are;

Physiological needs- these include the most basic needs, without which normal life would not exists. We require them to live. And they include food, shelter, and clothing.

Safety needs- we all need to be safe from physical and psychological danger. This refers to job security as well as security from harm.

Social needs- Social needs refer to the need to love, as well as the need to love someone, belong in an organisation, or group, and to have a guaranteed membership of a social structure.

Ego needs- This need relies on the fact that it is normal as a human being to pursue action that satisfy our ego in order to be comfortable and avoid frustration. These include getting a job to sustain oneself, and feel productive.

Self Actualisation needs- after the above needs have been met; an individual needs to feel actualised by the job they are doing. This refers to being recognised in the organisation, having prestige, integrity, magnanimity and control.

Maslow argues that our behaviours are always dominated by the unsatisfied needs that we try to satisfy. His theory conveys an ongoing activity, as a person achieves one needs, he/she aspires the next need. Once a person reaches actualisation, he/she becomes "complete", and exhibits characteristics of an actualised individual. Therefore managers seeking to motivate should provide an environment that enhances an employee's ability and struggle to achieve these needs (Grant, 2005).

3.2 Herzeberg's two factor theory

Herzeberg produced two factors that encourage motivation. These factors are:

Intrinsic and extrinsic factors

Intrinsic factors are the motivators that an individual has within him/herself. These include achievement and recognition. Extrinsic factors/ Hygiene are the external motivators like pay, work conditions, job security. To relate these two factors, Herzeberg explains that the intrinsic factors results to job satisfaction. Job satisfaction increases productivity.

3.3 Vroom's expectancy theory

Vroom explains that employees' performances are measured through their efforts. This performance leads to rewards from the company, which can be negative or positive. If the reward is positive, then employees are motivated to perform better. If the reward is negative, then they are discouraged.

3.4 Adam's Equity theory

Employees are always comparing themselves to others in the company, and to others in the same job category, in other companies. With this comparison, they usually compete, and look for equity amongst themselves and other workers. This equity, he says, is achieved when the ratio the outcomes for employee output is equal to other employees' output. It is also achieved when the employees' sense equality in the level of motivation and output, between themselves and others.

3.5 Skinner's Reinforcement theory

Skinner, a behaviourist psychologist, explains that employees learn by stimulus response pairing, and the result (and the feedback, which is reinforcement) i.e., that employees behaviour that results to positive outcomes, will be repeated, while they will avoid behaviours whose results are negative. Therefore, managers, in an attempt to motivate, should positively reinforce those behaviours that lead to positive outcomes, and at the same time, negatively reinforce behaviours that lead to negative outcomes.

4.0 OBJECTIVES

This report seeks to enlighten the manger on the state of the organisation in relation to employees' perception on motivation and performance. This report therefore helps managers understand factors for motivation, ways of motivating employees and the relationship between motivation and production.

Companies motivate employees in order to ensure their own survival and competitiveness. It is a way of appreciating and altruistically treating employees as human beings. Motivated employees are more productive, and the role of mangers is to understand what motivates each employee, considering the role they play in the organisation. It is proven that human beings have the ability to do what they want, and just need motivation to do it well. Therefore job performance is achieved by the combination of ability and motivation. Ability is achieved through education and experience, while motivation is a way of rewarding employees. The basic understanding of motivation is that everyone has a desire for affiliation, achievement, control, competence, ownership, recognition, power and meaning in their work.

4.1 Strategies for motivation

A common mistake done by employers is to think that money is the sole motivator. That job performance depends heavily on the pay or benefits offered to employees. Motivation should not only be done by money rather by attitude change and encouragement. In this chapter, we discuss other ways of motivation that do not include money.

a) Positive reinforcement- positively rewarding employees for good performance is a way of motivating them. This can be in a form of verbal praise, promotion, or other recognition strategies like presents.

b) Need satisfaction- managers should strive to identify and satisfy employees' needs.

c) Setting goals- goals have a tendency to internally push individuals to work harder in order to achieve them. This is because they give direction and discipline in the work environment.

d) Discipline and punishment- formulating effective punishment strategies, as well policies for discipline encourage employees to follow rules and motivate them at work, as it exhibits the work environment as a serious place to be.

e) Restructuring jobs- this helps in breaking monotony, learning new ideas and application of experiences indifferent sectors. This will ensure employees feel effectively utilised, encouraging them to work harder.

f) Rewards should be based on performance and nothing more. To feel equal and fair, employees should be rewarded on their performance. This will also encourage the non performing employees to work harder.

Generally, motivation is based on incentives, which is divided into monetary and non monetary incentives. Financial/monetary incentives are wages, salaries, bonuses, medical covers, retirement benefits, insurance, and housing. While Non financial incentives include providing competition, job security, knowledge of feedback, recognition, praise, and an opportunity to grow.

Just as they are motivated, employees can also be de-motivated by the organisation, and this brings negative feedbacks to the organisation. De-motivation is done through, mistreating employees, failure to communicate, lack of credibility and vision on the part of the organisation, inadequate recognition, and insufficient training. These are factors managers should watch out for.

5.0 HYPOTHESIS

In any research, the researcher usually has a guess that directs the research, what need to be confirmed, or disapproved. Therefore formulating a hypothesis is a systematic way of finding solutions to problems that motivate the research problem. A hypothesis is a guess indicating what the researcher expects to achieve from the research. These guesses are testable. In this report, the main hypothesis is that employee motivation increases productivity. Poorly motivated employees are less likely to be productive.

6.0 RESEARCH

Research is a systematic way of finding solutions to a problem by defining and redefining the problem, formulating hypothesis, employing effective data collection methods, evaluating data, presenting the results, forming conclusions, testing the conclusion in relation to the set hypothesis.

6.1 Primary sources

Primary sources refer to sources of information, from which you get raw data. This is information which has not been manipulated in any way, no interpretations or statistical manipulation applied. In my research for Sun fell, I collected my information from employees by questionnaire and direct discussions. These were my primary sources. I interviewed and discussed with fifteen employees, five from each branch. I came up with a number of questions addressing motivation in the company, and how employees perceive the management, in terms of their way of motivation.

The questions are attached to this report on a separate sheet. These questions touched on; Frequency of feedback, important factors in their relationships with their bosses, their encouragement at work, organisational mission in relation to the importance of their work, satisfaction with their positions, need for a transfer, ways of improving morale, How to improve retention,, nomination for rewards, additional incentives, their most preferred recognition strategy, and suggestions for recognition.

Secondary sources

I accessed company records to evaluate past performance, and the annual employee turnover in all departments.

6.2 Presentation of data

I present the findings in this report, including a section for recommendations, survey questions, explanations for results, and expectations. 20% of employees considered pay as a key motivator in their employment, while 30% cited job security, 30% cited company name, while 20% quoted hope for advancement. Most supervisors do not encourage their juniors to pursue career development as only 10% of the questionnaires answered indicated this information. The relationship with their bosses largely depended on fear and respect. Most employees fear their bosses and would not face them when going through difficulties. They would rather face fellow employees.

6.3 Interpretation of results

Most employees considered job security as a more important variable in their line of work, compared to financial incentives. Employees rarely receive positive reinforcement from their supervisors, and would wish to gain transfers to other departments. Employees at the higher of organisation are satisfied with their positions, unlike those at the lower level. Most of them at the lower level have good educational background, and joined the lower entry levels with hopes of getting promotions and recognition, which has not been realised. To improve retention, the common factors considered were that employers should treat employees with respect to instil in them a sense of importance, improve working conditions and review salaries frequently.

Additional factors to enhance employee morale are provision of feedback, transport allowance/provision of a means to get to work and recognition of performances, in a fair way. Two in every ten employees had been nominated for recognition awards, with some being perennial. Most employees prefer certificates of excellence as incentives, while others want holiday trips and educational sponsorships. Organisation reputation and name is very important in maintaining employees, as eight in every ten questionnaires reported, and seem to provide employees with the tools they require to achieve their goals, as no employee reported a lack of equipment. However some equipment needs to be upgraded frequently, to achieve efficiency (Miner, 2004).

7.0 Conclusion

Motivation clearly improves production. With the explanation by the theories, all human beings have the ability to achieve feasible goals set to them, and all that is required is a little motivation. All the theories reach an understating that human needs need to be understood and met in order to motivate them these needs vary from physical to psychological, to social needs. Motivation is generally done through incentives, which are either financial or non financial. The survey carried out showed that employees consider money incentives as of lesser importance, as compared to other incentives like job security and career advancement. Company name and reputation is a great motivator as it provides the prestige most people want, in order to feel actualised.

Organisations should operate in a fair and favourable environment, with minimum frustrations in order to encourage employees to work towards achieving personal and organisational goals. Despite all the above, discipline is an important factor in an organisation. Bad behaviour or lack of performance should be effectively punished, as the positive performance is rewarded. Employees should understand the organisation's culture, and follow the set rules and regulations.

There is no doubt that productivity heavily relies on motivation. If motivation s structure well and implemented, an organisation realises great profits and improvement. At Sun fell, as a tourism company, they largely depend on employees to interact with clients, produce a god organisational image and increase profits. Because of these customers care is of great importance, and should not be ignored (Weiner, 2002). If employees are motivated, they remain happy, and work towards achieving organisational goals.

8.0 The Motivation Process and Recommendations

The manager needs to motivate him/herself before motivating others. The manger must love the work, set achievable goals, and protect the interest of everyone in the organisation. The manager's perspective towards the job should be clear and reasonable.

He/she should understand what motivates them. Understanding their own motivation strategies in accordance to satisfaction of their needs should provide the mangers with a pathway to identifying possible ways of motivating employees.

Align organisational goals to employees' personal goals. This will ensure that employees find it natural and normal to achieve organisational objectives, with little or no extra effort.

Supporting employees. This is done by understanding each of employees' needs, and knowing what motivates them.

Motivation should be done with the agreement of the organisation's policies and procedures.

Personalize motivation. The manager, upon realizing the unique needs and motivation preference of each employee, should personalize motivation strategy, and avoid generalizing it.

The manger should instil a clear, credible and inspiring purpose of the organisation, to employees.

He/she should state a mission and goal for productivity, and this should be explained and communicated to all employees.

Reward should be implemented as soon as good performance is realised.

Achievements should be celebrated and recognised

Mangers should promote team work especially during problem solving.

Cultivate strong skills in employees by encouraging learning from one another and delegation of duties.

Managers should implement basic principles of improving performance like identification of goals, policies of ensuring the goals are met, attention to performance, and offering feedback, as well as corrective measures.

Employees should be taught and trained in order to improve their output. Inform them when they do poorly and constantly make them aware of their performance.

The feedback offered should be specific to the employee's role in the organisation.

Supervisors should encourage their juniors to achieve professional competence, both at the work place and with others outside the organisation.

Training facilities for new employees should be instituted to help easy assimilation of employees into the organisation.

References

Bruce, A. (2006). How to motivate every employee: 24 proven tactics to spark productivity

in the workplace. New York: McGraw-Hill

Grant, C. P. (2005). Motivation; Principles and practices. London: Vantage press.

Miner, B. J. (2004). Role Motivation theories. New York: Routlegde.

Weiner, B. (2002). Human Motivation: metaphors, theories and research. New York: SAGE

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