The Employee Motivation in Hospitality Industry
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
This research project is about employee motivation in hospitality organisations. Employee motivation is important to the competitiveness and success of companies, especially during the current difficult economic conditions. The main reason that managers should motivate workers to give their best efforts towards is because it relates to the organisational outcomes. However, motivating workers to do their best at work is not an easy task for managers to do. This is because managers must know factors that can be used to motivate them to do their best or to work hard. However, all companies may have motivation policy that might not satisfy all workers. This is especially true for companies in hospitality segment. Many small and medium sized hospitality companies in hospitality segment in the UK appear to think that financial related rewards are the main factor that can motivate workers to do their best. This study aims to investigate employee motivation in small and medium sized pubs and restaurants in the UK. Thus, the main purpose of this chapter is to give information on research aims and research background as well as rationale for conducting this research project.
1.1 Research Background
There are many hospitality companies in the UK, comprising of larger and small and medium sized organisations. Evidence in the literature indicated that as compared to small and medium sized firms, most large hospitality chains in hotel, pub and restaurant segments appear to have a more professional human resource management system to motivate workers to work with their best effort or to retain them (Gill & Mathur, 2007). Also, when compared to small and medium sized companies, large hospitality companies also have more resources like attractive pay package , flexible working time and well-designed career growth and development programmes to attract workers with exceptional skills and experience to join them. In other words, larger firm are able to give what employees want as they have more resources.
Many studies in the past showed that small and medium sized companies in hospitality industry tend to give only the hourly minimum wage to their workers and other additional benefits are given based on what is required by employment law (Lewis et al., 2003). However, there is hard evidence from recent studies to show that ‘small is beautiful’ in terms of employee motivation in hospitality companies (Aksu, 2005). This is because many small and medium sized and private owned hospitality firms, especially those in the hotel and accommodation segment have been working with large companies before they start their own business. This enables them to adapt what they have learned from the best people into their business practice. In addition, as compared to larger firms, small and medium sized companies have fewer numbers of workers. This enables them to have a close relationship with workers and this in turn help managers to find out factors that can motivate them to work hard and to gain their commitment (Green et al., 2000). Thus, this enables them to implement what they have to attract and retain workers as good as what larger firms can do.
In spite of this, many critics suggested that this practice is possible only if the business owner or manager has the right attitude towards human capital (Torrington et al., 2007). Some business owners, especially those in hospitality segment, tend only think of making the most out of small investment and this kind of manager will only give what is required by employment law to employees, but not giving them what it needs to make them happy with their job and with the company that they work for. On the other hand, some business owners of small and medium sized companies in hospitality segment do think of the significance of human assets and they might give them more than the minimum wage and the minimum benefits under the employment law that the company should give to their workers.
However, financial related rewards are not the best motivation factor that can influence employees to work with their best effort or to influence them to stay with the company. This is because evidence in the literature indicated that once employees get an annual income of £25,000 cannot be influenced by financial related rewards to influence employees to work with their best effort or to stay with the company (Bigliardi, 2009). It is revealed that job satisfaction and career growth and development opportunities are the main factor that can generate a commitment after an annual pay reaches at certain level (Desmette & Gaillard, 2008). However, this is rather limited in small and medium sized hospitality firms. This is because many of them only have one or a few branches, while larger hospitality firms may even have international outlets. Thus, many of employees may find decide to leave the company for other firms. Therefore, as small and medium sized companies have limited resources, especially in terms of financial related rewards to give workers to motivate them to work with their best efforts, it is necessary to find out factors that can be used to influence employees in this type of organisation. Based on this information, research aims and objectives of this study can be explained below.
1.2 Research Aim
This research project aims to examine the motivation level and factors that can be used to motivate workers in small and medium sized pubs and restaurants in the UK to find out what managers in this type of organisation should do to motivate them to work with their best effort. Motivating employees to work with their best effort is important to the success of small and medium sized firms as it relates to organisational outcome and operations management. At the same time, investigating factors that can motivate workers in this type of organisation should also help small and medium sized pubs and restaurants to find out strategies that can help employees in this segment to reduce the rate of staff turnover, or prevent headhunting practice of larger firms.
1.3 Research Objectives
Research objectives of this study can be explained below.
To understand the needs of employees motivation in hospitality companies, focusing on small and medium sized pubs and restaurants
To understand factors that can motivate workers in small and medium sized hospitality firms to work with their best effort
To examine the significance of motivation and its important the organisational outcome in hospitality firms
To provide strategic ideas for motivating employee whilst better development and smooth running of the business
1.4 Research Questions
The following are key research questions that this study should attempt to answer in order to achieve the research aims and objectives.
What employees in small and medium sized pubs and restaurants think about the current practice in the company they work for?
What workers in small and medium sized pubs and restaurants think about the importance and significance of current employee motivation tactics of their employer to their performance?
What are the factors that can be used to motivate workers to work with their best effort towards the assigned task?
What workers in small and medium sized pubs and restaurants think their employers should improve to motivate and retain them?
1.5 Research Scope
This study aims to investigate factors that can motivate workers and what can be used to grain their commitment from employee perspective. By investigating employee motivation issues in small and medium sized pubs and restaurants from employee perspective will only help the company to understand the perception and attitude of workers towards the current motivation practice in the company they work for, but also enable employers in this segment to find out strategies to motivate to work hard and retain them.
1.6 Rationale to Conduct the Research Topic
This study aims to investigate the employee motivation in hospitality organisations, focusing on small and medium sized pubs and restaurants. There are a few reasons why the researcher chooses this research topic. First of all, there are many issues and problems taken place in the hospitality segment and many of them have an impact on their performance and organisational outcome. Some of these issues include the credit crunch and the break out swine flu. The current difficult economic conditions have an impact on the spending power of customers on leisure products and services which are perceived as non-urgent or unnecessary items. As number of customers of small and medium sized pubs and restaurants start to decline, many of managers of this type of organisation may reduce number of working hours of their frontline workers and make a few of them work harder to reduce the operational costs. Therefore, the cooperation and best effort from workers are very important to the organisational outcome of small and medium sized hospitality firms during the recession. At the same time, swine flu does have an impact on the number of customers visiting small and medium sized pubs and restaurants (Tomlinson, 2007). This is because people are easily contract the swine flu if they are in a place with overcrowded people and pubs and restaurants represent as a good location where people can catch the swine flue. Therefore, new ideas from workers are important to help managers to come up with initiatives and tactics to attract customers to visit the company or to increase number of visitors.
Secondly, evidence in the literature indicated that many studies investigate the importance and relationship of employee motivation in large hospitality companies and chains with little attention on small and medium sized companies in this segment (Payne, 2008). Therefore, the research findings from these studies may not apply to small and medium sized organisational context. Also, many of these studies were conducted many years back and thus, they are not updated. To motivate workers more effectively, employers must take into account changes and trends in labour market as well as behaviour of employees. This is because workers of different age groups have different demand for rewards packages and other employment needs and thus, it is necessary for employers to adjust their motivation strategies accordingly to ensure that these tactics meet the needs and demands of workers as the time passes.
1.7 Chapter Outline
This study comprises of five chapters. These include introduction, literature review, research methodology, research findings and data analysis and conclusion. Brief information of these chapters can be explained below.
Introduction: This study is about employee motivation in hospitality industry. The researcher has decided to focus on small and medium sized pubs and restaurants. The introduction chapter provides information on research background, research aims and research objectives. There are two reasons why the researcher chooses to examine employee motivation in this type of hospitality organisations. First of all, little attention is given on employee motivation tactics in this type of organisation. Also, several marketing environment issues have an impact on the performance and organisational outcome of small and medium sized pubs and restaurants and thus, it is necessary to find out what should be done to motivate workers in this type of company to work with their best effort.
Literature Review: This study is about employee motivation in hospitality companies with a focus on small and medium sized pubs and restaurants. Thus, the main focus of the literature review chapter will be surrounding theoretical concepts, issues and ideas on employee motivation. The literature review chapter will also pay attention on human needs to examine basis factors and requirement that can be used to motivate workers.
Research Methodology: This study aims to examine employee motivation in small and medium sized pubs and restaurants from the view of workers who work in this type of organisation. The researcher aims to use a structured survey to do this. However, to this effectively, the researcher aims to conduct an exploratory research to investigate employee motivation with convenient respondents who wok in this type of company. The results from the exploratory research will be contributed towards the development and design of the questionnaire.
Research Results & Data Analysis: This chapter aims to analyse and assess primary data gathered through the primary research. The SPSS will be used to examine primary data from the survey as it is subject to quantitative analysis.
Conclusion: Conclusion is the last chapter of the research project. The main purpose of this chapter is to give recommendations and suggestions to help small and medium sized hospitality firms to motivate their workers. This chapter will also provide limitations and propose further research topics.
This chapter provides information on research aims, objectives and rational for conducting this research topic. It can be concluded that employee motivation is an important part to influence workers to work with their best effort. However, to do this effectively, employers must know first know factors that can motivate them to do so. By examining factors that can motivate workers to work with their best effort from employee perspective, this will help companies to find out what should be done based on their existing resources.
CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW
This study aims to examine employee motivation in hospitality firms, focusing on small and medium sized pubs and restaurants. Thus, the main purpose of this chapter is to investigate issues, concepts and theoretical ideas about employee motivation. This aims to look at different employee motivation concepts from different scholars and it will also examine employee motivation practice and issues in hospitality organisations with appropriate existing examples.
2.1 Employee Motivation
Employee motivation is not new in the world of human resource management. The term has been defined and viewed by many scholars in various fields and they give different meaning to employee motivation. However, many of these meanings hold similar idea. From the context of psychology, economy and human studies, motivation refers to ‘a reason or reasons that make a person engages a particular behaviour’ (Bratton & Gold, 2007, p. 112). From this perspective, a person can be influenced by many drives and basic needs like food and a desired for an object as well as the state of being might be included in these reasons to motivate a person to act in certain way or do certain things. On the other hand, motivation refers to ‘the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that drive a person to act or take certain actions’ (Adair, 2009, p. 101). From this perspective, motivation is not only used to describe the behaviour of human being, but it is also used to explain the causes of action of animals.
Based on the meanings of motivation from different scholars, I can define motivation from my own view as
‘The reasons some kind of forces that make a person to do certain things or behave in certain ways and these forces could be either intrinsic or extrinsic’
Thus, it can be assumed that motivation is a force that make we do what we do. For instance, a desire for a degree is an intrinsic force that makes me stay up all night to work on this research project.
In the context of management, motivation is very important to the organisational performance. As compared to other subjects, motivation is viewed differently in the context of human resource management. From this perspective, it is revealed that motivation is not possible. This is because you cannot motivate other persons, but what you can do is to influence what they are (Bjerke et al., 2007). Thus, it can be assumed that form the view of human resource management, motivating people is about using different meaningful factors that to influence staff members in the manner that make them feel motivated to conduct the assigned task with their best effort, generate a high level of productivity, or carry out tasks at a high level. Therefore, for managers and leaders in all types of organisations, including those in hospitality industry, to effectively motivate workers, they must first help their workers to identify their interests with the company (Goncharuk & Monat, 2009). Once managers and leaders can help their employees to identify factors that make them to work with the firm, they will be able to make them feel motivated to work hard and carry out the assigned tasks with their best effort (Antikainen et al., 2010). This is because managers use factors that are in their best interest to motivate them to do so.
2.2 Theoretical Models & Framework of Motivation
In general, motivation models which are developed by scholars in different fields can be grouped in to four categories, including rational-economic, the social, the self-actualising and the complex model (Claydon & Beardwell, 2007). The social, self-actualising and rational-economic models of motivation are perceived as the content models and these frameworks aim to explain forces and drives within a person that can be used to motivate them. The main reason that influences firms to pay attention on employee motivation is because a competitive pressure which drives companies to continually find new ways to increase the added value of their workers by influencing them to work hard or with their best effort to ensure that their productivity and performance exceed the acceptable standard. Another reason that influences firms to pay attention on employee motivation is because it can help the company reduces labour costs to a minimum. This will in turn help cut costs and increase the profit earning ability of the company (Bruce, 2002). Thus, it is necessary for companies to seek the right tools that can help them to motivate workers to ensure that the firm to achieve both aims: (1) employee performance; and (2) reducing labour costs.
As previously explained, there are different motivation models that scoalrs often referred to when the term is raised. However, in the world of human resource management, motivation models that are often referred to include Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s two-factor theory and intrinsic and extrinsic of motivation and these three models will be the main focus of this chapter.
2.2.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow is the developer of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is part of the self-actualising model. The model explains that at a particular time, a person will attempt to fulfil and satisfy the set of instinctual needs. The illustration in Figure 1 can give the basic idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Based on the model in Figure 1, it can be assumed that it is a human nature that a person will spend time and energy to find a personal safety which is the first priority task for them to do. In the model of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a personal safety is placed at the bottom of the pyramid and a person needs to fulfil this requirement before they can move up to the next one. The needs of a person is arranged in a hierarchy system and they are organised from most extreme to the least one (Maslow, 1970; Stum, 2001). Maslow explains that a person will not move up to the next level unless each stage is satisfied. For example, a person must fulfil his/her physiological needs first before he/she can move up to safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualised needs. This means that a person will move up the hierarchy if needs one level at a time. Once a person satisfy and fulfil each level, he/she will lose a favour of the current level and move up to the next one. In other words, once the lower-level or basic needs are achieved, the demand of the next level will be turned on.
Figure 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs
Self-actualized (self-development and realization)
(Sense of belonging, love)
(Security and protection)
(Food, water, shelter etc.)
Source: Taken from Maslow, A. 1970, Motivation and Personality, Harper & Row, New York
In the context of human resource management, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be used to explain and influence the behaviour of employees. However, the satisfied needs from Mastlow’s model cannot be used as the motivator. Thus, based on this idea, it can be assumed that the unsatisfied needs are the most powerful factor that managers and leaders can use to influence workers to work with their best effort (Maslow, 1943; Oseland, 2009). Therefore, the concept of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can help managers of small and medium sized pubs and restaurants to know how they can apply the idea of the model into the existing motivation strategies and techniques in order to influence their workers to give their greatest contribution towards the assigned tasks and to make them feel like staying with the company for a long-term span. For example, part-time university students who work in a pub may want a flexible working hours, while older workers who have children may want a good package pay with annual holiday to spend time with their families.
2.2.2 Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation
Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation is developed by Frederick Herzberg and the model is developed with an intension to differentiate hygienic factors and motivation in the work environment (Ruthankoon & Ogunlana, 2003). Hygienic factors under the concept of this model are developed to prevent employees from feeling dissatisfied and de-motivated. Package pay and working conditions in a workplace are some of the good examples of hygienic factors. The concept of Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation explains that to influence workers to work well, employer must give them a healthy and safety workplace. This means that employers should not only give them a good package pay, but also a work place that is free from harassment, for instance.
However, Herzberg explains that hygienic factors cannot motivate workers to work with their best effort or to gain their commitment. Thus, Herzberg decides to develop another set of forces that can motivate workers and these factors are called ‘motivators’ (Herzberg, 1968, p. 54; The changing face of leadership, 2010). Motivators from the view of Herzberg’s two-factor theory include factors like responsibility, interesting and meaningful work, personal growth and development, feeling of recognition and feeling of achievement. The lack of these factors in any workplace could lead managers to face the problem of de-motivated employees. Thus, it is necessary for managers and leaders to ensure that both motivators and hygienic factors are at the sufficient standard in their company.
The Relationship between Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation & Psychological Contract
Psychological contract is a promise based offers that employer can give to workers who should also give what they can to employer. In other words, psychological contract involved with the understanding of promise and obligations that employer and employees have made to each other about work, flexibility, career advancement, pay, commitment and job security (Herriot et al., 1997; Kuo et al., 2010). This means that psychological contract is about the expectations that managers want to get from workers in the sense of common law which is known as the ‘contractual employment’ (Bloemer & Odekerken-Schroder, 2006). The converse is also true for employer who is required by law to give healthy and safety workplace to workers.
Evidence in the literature indicated that there is a relationship between psychological contract and Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Both motivators and hygienic factors are considered as psychological contracts. It is revealed that the linkage of the two concepts can be best explained under the context of employment relationship from legal perspective. Many critics suggested that this type of relationship or the psychological contract is not the most effective way to motivate workers to generate excellent performance or satisfy employees. At the same time, the psychological contracts from this view may not only help employer get the best performance from workers, but poor psychological contracts also have a tendency to de-motivate employees. This will in turn result in a low level of employee commitment, a high rate of staff turnover and absence and a poor employee performance (Burke et al., 2005; Furnhamet et al., 2009). Thus, it is necessary for hospitality employees to give more than what requires by law to their workers in order to get their greatest effort and loyalty commitment.
2.2.3 Motivation – Intrinsic and Extrinsic
As previously explained, a person is motivated to do what they do because of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. This means that a person could be motivated by factors within a person or a person could be influenced by external forces.
Many scholars explained that motivation can be generated from within. This is known as intrinsic which a force inside us. However, intrinsic forces that can motivate people do not just take place, but they are generated by things around us. For instance, a person has a desire to do something or achieve something and in order to reach such desire or aim; a person will need to act in the way that would lead him/her to get to the desired goal (Ardichvili et al., 2003). When apply the concept of intrinsic motivation to a working situation, we will see that inside force that influence most people to come to work is because they look at their job as a main source of income. Thus, workers who have such feeling will not try their best to enjoy it (Pullins et al., 2000). This example shows that external factors like pay package, rewards, feeling of recognition, appraisal, bonus and promotions are the main forces that motivate workers or get them to come to work. Therefore, it can be assumed that if there is not incentive or appreciation, workers are likely to think that the assigned tasks are not worth doing.
Under the concept of intrinsic, it can be concluded that it has an impact on an intrinsic motivation of a person to do something or certain things. The idea of intrinsic motivation also explains that whatever a person decides to do or any action that a person takes, it is always because he/she believes that it will satisfy his/her current or personal goals, or it may fulfil the desire that a person has (Haines et al., 2008).
Extrinsic motivation is related to intrinsic factors. In other words, factors or forces outside us influence our internal wants, needs and subsequent behaviour and from the human resource management perspective, praise, promotion and rewards are examples of extrinsic factors that can influence inside needs and wants. Under this idea, it can be assumed that extrinsic factors are perceived as motivating forces (Quigley, N. & Tymon, G. 2006; Cruz et al., 2009). However, many scholars claimed and argued that this assumption is not quite accurate. This is because they believed that whatever part the extrinsic factors play in motivation, they are always subject to intrinsic concerns of individuals. In other words, it will be different from person or person. This is because each person has different intrinsic factors which have an impact on their action or decision to behave in a certain way.
Many scholars stated that ‘buy-in’ is the most suitable term to describe the concept of extrinsic factors (Narasimhan, 2002; Matsumura et al., 2003). This means that managers and leaders of the company should try to make a connection between intrinsic and extrinsic forces or stimuli. If managers fail to make the connection between the two, giving employees rewards and standard pay package will not motivate workers to give their best effort and generate a great performance over the long term. This is because workers will work with their best effort only when the incentives and rewards are offered and once managers make a decision to terminate those offers, they are likely to stop maintaining a high level of productivity and performance (Iyer & Ravindran, 2009). For example, many hotels may want to increase the number of sales during the low season and manager may decide to use a good bonus to workers who can hit a certain sales figure. This might motivate workers to work hard during this time. However, once they hit the targeted sale figure, employees will find no reason to continue to carry out task at that level or to work with their best effort to increase their performance.
Thus, it can be assumed that if managers want to improve the level of staff performance, they should attempt to connect the concepts of intrinsic motivation to extrinsic factors. It is necessary for managers to utilise the concept and practice of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to influence workers. This is not just because both ideas can produce a high level of performance, but they also have a connection to the inner drives of a person (Kominis & Emmanuel, 2005; Why did you do that?, 2006). This means that managers can use both concepts to satisfy and fulfil personal needs. Managers can do this by showing workers that what it might be if they do their best not just to rewards, but what they will look if they are being smart at their job. If manager can successfully identify the welfare and interests of workers and use them to motivate them to work with their best effort, managers should expect to see a greater individual performance and productivity.
2.2.4 Other Common Models to Influence Employee Motivation
Evidence in the literature indicated that managers try to motivate workers by using both positive and negative results by using one of three motivation tactics, including using fear, increasing incentives and giving opportunities for personal growth (Amaratunga & Baldry, 2002). Some critics explain that there motivation models have both up and down sides and managers should use them in the right situations to ensure that they gain a lot of benefits from them.
In general, fear motivation normally peaks when the economy is at a difficult time and when the number of available jobs in the market is less than the number of qualified workers in the labour market (Tomkiewicz et al., 2005). The current difficult economic conditions represent a good case scenario. During this time, most workers will consciously work with their best effort and continuously expand the energy to produce towards the assigned tasks. For example, workers may get to work early, stay late at work and work more that what the assigned tasks requires. However, when a fear is the main factor that influences workers to work hard, they are not so much trying to achieve, but they are just trying to make sure that they can save their jobs. Thus, employers should expect to see a great performance to stay effective temporarily, but this will still give an increase in the organisational productivity.
This strategy might be good for employers, but the potential trap of using this approach is that the high performance from workers will not last and it could even backfire on the firm. This is because when managers use fear as a motivation to influence workers to work hard, staff will eventually get used to it and at one point, fear will become the key emotion that they connect to their job and work-life. This will in turn cause bitterness, resentment and hatred which will have a negative impact on communicati
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