Role of motivation amongst limited skilled workforces

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Every person is motivated, but the challenge at work is to create an environment in which people are motivated about work priorities (humanresources.about 2010). The best way to get someone to do something would be to make the person wanting to do it (Dale Carnegie N.D). In addition to the necessity of financial and physical resources, organisations also have behavioural requirements for its team in order to function, that's where motivation comes into play. Motivation gives direction to human behaviour and hence the critical factor in a productive work force (steers and porter, motivation and work behaviour, 1979). VIVIDA Business Solutions (VBS) is a medium sized firm providing business support services to corporate houses and multinational companies in national capital region of India. Its major part of business comes from the transportation and logistics services. The larger part of the team is uneducated people who represent the lower level/worker level team members in the hierarchy. These lower level employees are the ones who have very limited education and skills. Their pay is just little above the minimum wages and has little scope of promotions and significant increase in their earnings. These factors make such employees very lowly motivated and less committed towards their work resulting in low performance; thus these jobs likely to have high employee turnover ratio, (Robbins and Stephen, 1998).

The review is focused on "How a small business firm could energize motivation and performance in workers who have limited education and skills", we would in this assignment using various motivation theories discuss and analyse the situation with respect to VBS. Corrective actions will be suggested for employee motivation and the effects of motivation on employee performance will be analysed.


In order to assess the motivational aspect associated with the workers , at VBS, the following theories can be taken into account;

Need Theory

Hertzberg Hygiene-motivator theory

Organisational Misbehaviour

Need theory and workers:-

Fig. 1.1

Source: Adopted from (tan money online, 2010)

According to the Maslow's theory of needs hierarchy (fig 1.1) (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2010) , every individual has a hierarchy of his/her needs. Needs creates motives and motives leads to drives which in turn motivate people to do things which satisfies their needs. Gary Dessler (1980) has opined that blue collar workers seem to value "existence" needs like physiological and safety needs more than needs for achievement or self -actualisation, however going by Maslow's theory human needs keep changing as one move from achieving one need to another. In the context of VBS since the work force mainly consists of blue collar workers, their initial needs are most generally that of "existence" i.e. (Safety and physiological needs). These workers never even got to achieve their existence needs , because they receive just a little more than the minimum wages. Thus their need never rose up from these two basic needs. The need for self actualisation is never there. This prevents them from being motivated and be committed to their work. It's difficult for the management to make workers to aim for the collective company goals, they just work for themselves and don't aspire for company goals (Walters .R 1975). This makes the employees highly unstable as they lack a sense of belongingness and commitment and its usual for them to switch jobs whenever they feel like.

Hygine theory

Fig. 1.2

, Source: Adopted from (Exam tutor, 2010)

Fig. 1.3

Source : Adopted from ( soft duck 2010)

In VBS the management has always considered money as the only motivating factor for the cab drivers, so the pay and incentive plans were always being highlighted upon to motivate the team. Importance has always been given to the completion of the tasks given to the workforce and rewards were just monetary if tasks were completed, but it has never been considered to find out that, is it the money which is motivating them? Or is it other work factors which are de motivating them and hence are the causes of low performance.

According to the Frederick Herzberg's "Two factor theory of Motivation" (fig.1.2 and 1.3) ( Hodgetts and Hegar 2010). Pay is a hygiene factor rather than being a motivating factor. Being hygiene factor money can only remove dissatisfaction but does not contribute to the motivation and performance. Whereas motivator factors such as achievement , recognition , responsibility, growth and the work itself are such aspects of work which leads to high level satisfaction motivation and performance (Buchanan and Huczynski , 2010). This has never been stressed by the management and thus has gradually lead to very less motivation within the employees. As analysed with reference to the Hertzberg's " Two factor theory of motivation" the motivators are never thought about and just hygiene factors were used to make workers keep going, which directly or indirectly negatively affected the performance level.

Organisational Misbehaviour

One more major problem faced by the VBS management is absenteeism of the drivers. Low motivation and monotonous nature of work leads to bore out and leads to absenteeism. This is a form of organizational misbehaviour (Ackroyd and Stephen 1998). Due to extremes job conditions the "Phenomenon of Bore out" ( Buchanan and Huczynski , 2010) comes in where it leads to de motivation and lack of energy and enthusiasm caused by uninteresting , unchallenging and monotonous work. This bore out and lack of enthusiasm results in unpleasant behaviour which has negative impact on customer satisfaction and consequently the overall performance of the organization.

Motivation in Action

Workers play a pivotal role in attaining customer satisfaction because they are the interface which comes directly in contact of the customers and thus play a major part in terms of customer satisfaction. It is therefore imperative on the part of management to maintain the high morale of the cab drivers.

Given the above analysis of the problems faced by the VBS management to keep their lower level employees, it is very critical for the firm to bring motivation within its team. There are various measures to take consideration of;

like Job Enrichment ( Federick Herzberg, 1966,1968) a technique for broadening the experience of work to enhance employees need satisfaction and to improve motivation and performance (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2010). Intrinsic rewards on the part of the cab drivers could lead to higher levels of productivity and on the other hand will have a positive effect on service delivery. This could be achieved by drawing a higher level of motivation from the employees. (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2010) It would make these jobs more appealing. When people are encouraged to acquire more skills, being trained for higher roles and being delegated upon a different role than that of his/her, their need for esteem and self actualisation is fulfilled and it brings a sense of contribution and responsibility within them. It could significantly lift up their enthusiasm, bring motivation and empower commitment towards work. Further if goal setting and proper reward and incentive systems are introduced it could play a significant role and make the job more appealing than ever.

This organizational misbehaviour could also be set off through encouraging or introducing the use of positive reinforcement and minimum use of punishment. Punishment makes individual feel being controlled and coerced (Steers and porter, motivation and work behaviour, 1979). The positive reinforcement drive would encourage the drivers to come to the job motivated as their constantly good performance and commitment would lead them to rewards. Thus it will lead to reduced organizational misbehaviour.


As discussed and analysed through different theories of motivation , VBS' management needs to identify factors which lead to the motivation or dissatisfaction of its employees, and take into consideration that money is not the only motivating factor influencing productive work behaviour among the kind of work force they have , they need to incorporate other measures to the job profile and bring into employee participation so that it helps in empowering motivation and commitment within its employees , leading to optimum performance of the organization. For example - In context of VBS, if the drivers are trained for the supervisor's role through teaching them different skills sets such as basic computer skills, skills needed for a particular supervisory role, communication skills etc. It would bring a sense of satisfaction that after learning those skills they would be handling a responsibility which they could never have attained with their prior skills, it would make them motivated and committed towards the work.

Understanding the employee's needs and their motivating factors will help the firm to plan the further steps to be taken to keep the commitment and motivation alive in the organization.