Maintaining A Motivated Workforce In RMN Commerce Essay


Hiring people who are motivated to do what employers need remains one of the biggest challenges in the world today today be it in the private sector or in the gorvernment services. Often, employers think that the best motivators for employees are reasonably good pay or good fringe benefits. Some employers think that employees are motivated by "perks" such as bonuses, parties, gifts or outings. There are researches discovered that such things do not motivate employees. They merely prevent workers from becoming unhappy. What motivates people, is the work itself. When the work is meaningful, it provides opportunities for learning, recognition and responsibility. That is when employees will be motivated to make full use of their abilities. The truth is, both meaningful work and adequate money and benefits are necessary. Provide both, and you can get a person to do what you need to have done. By providing workers with continuous learning opportunity, regular challenge and progressive responsibility, employers can motivate employees to give their best performance on an ongoing basis. Enriching work through continuous learning is what career development is all about. It benefits both the individual employee and the company. Career development stimulates the employee to improve current performance, as well as to prepare for the future.

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Getting people to do their best work, even in trying circumstances, is one of the leaders 'most enduring and slippery challenges. Indeed, deciphering what motivates us as human beings is a centuries-old puzzle. Some of history's most influential thinkers about human behavior-among them Aristotle, Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud, and Abraham Maslow-have struggled to understand its nuances and have taught us a tremendous amount about why people do the things they do.

Such luminaries, however, didn't have the advantage of knowledge gleaned from modern brain science. Their theories were based on careful and educated investigation, to be sure, but also exclusively on direct observation. Imagine trying to infer how a car works by examining its movements (starting, stopping, accelerating, turning) without being able to take apart the engine. Fortunately, new cross-disciplinary research in fields like neuroscience, biology, and evolutionary psychology has allowed us to peek under the hood, so to speak-to learn more about the human brain. Our synthesis of the research suggests that people are guided by four basic emotional needs, or drives, that are the product of our common evolutionary heritage. As set out by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria in their 2002 book Driven: How

Human Nature Shapes Our Choices, they are the drives to acquire (obtain scarce goods, including intangibles such as social status); bond (form connections with individuals and groups); comprehend (satisfy our curiosity and master the world around us); and defend (protect against external threats and promote justice). These drives underlie everything we do. Managers attempting to boost motivation should take note. It's hard to argue with the accepted wisdom-backed by empirical evidence-that a motivated workforce means better corporate performance. But what actions, precisely, can leaders take to satisfy the four drives and, thereby, increase their employees' overall motivation?

The Four Drives That Underlie Motivation

Because the four drives are hardwired into our brains, the degree to which they are satisfied directly affects our emotions and, by extension, our behavior. Let's look at how each one operates.

1. The drive to acquire.

We are all driven to acquire scarce goods that bolster our sense of well-being. We experience delight when this drive is fulfilled, discontentment when it is thwarted. This phenomenon applies not only to physical goods like food, clothing, housing, and money, but also to experiences like travel and entertainment-not to mention events

that improve social status, such as being promoted and getting a corner office or a place on the corporate board. The drive to acquire tends to be relative (we always compare what we have with what others possess) and insatiable (we always want more). That explains why people always care not just about their own compensation packages but about others' as well.

2. The drive to bond.

Many animals bond with their parents, kinship group, or tribe, but only humans extend that connection to larger collectives such as organizations, associations, and nations. The drive to bond, when met, is associated with strong positive emotions like

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love and caring and, when not, with negative ones like loneliness and anomie. At work, the drive to bond accounts for the enormousboost in motivation when employees feel proud of belonging to the organization and for their loss of morale when the institution betrays them. It also explains why employees find it hard to break out of divisional or functional silos: People become attached to their closest cohorts. But it's true that the ability to form attachments to larger collectives sometimes leads employees to care more about the organization than about their local group within it.

3. The drive to comprehend.

We want very much to make sense of the world around us, to produce theories and accounts-scientific, religious, and cultural-that make events comprehensible and suggest reasonable actions and responses. We are frustrated when things seem senseless, and we are invigorated, typically, by the challenge of working out answers. In the workplace, the drive to comprehend accounts for the desire to make a meaningful contribution. Employees are motivated by jobs that challenge them and enable them to grow and learn, and they are demoralized by those that seem to be monotonous or to lead to a dead end. Talented employees who feel trapped often leave their companies to find new challenges elsewhere.

4. The drive to defend.

We all naturally defend ourselves, our property and accomplishments, our family and friends, and our ideas and beliefs against external threats. This drive is rooted in the basic fight-or-flight response common to most animals. In humans, it manifests itself not just as aggressive or defensive behavior, but also as a quest to create institutions

that promote justice, that have clear goals and intentions, and that allow people to express their ideas and opinions. Fulfilling the drive to defend leads to feelings of security and confidence; not fulfilling it produces strong negative emotions like fear and resentment. The drive to defend tells us a lot about people's resistance to change; it's one reason employees can be devastated by the prospect of a merger or acquisition-an especially significant change-even if the deal represents the only hope for an organization's survival. So, for example, one day you might be told you're a high performer and indispensable to the unit's success, and the next that you may be let go owing to a restructuring-adirect challenge, in its capriciousness, to your drive to defend.

Each of the four drives we have described is independent; they cannot be ordered hierarchically or substituted one for another. You can't just pay your employees a lot and hope they'll feel enthusiastic about their work in an organization where bonding is not fostered, or work seems meaningless, or people feel defenseless. Nor is it enough to help people bond as a tight-knit team when they are underpaid or toiling away at deathly boring jobs. You can certainly get people to work under such circumstances-they may need the money or have no other current prospects-but you won't get the most out of them. To fully motivate your employees, you must addressn all four drives.

The Organizational Levers of Motivation

Although fulfilling all four of employees' basic emotional drives is essential for any unit, it is suggested that each drive is best met by a distinct organizational lever.

The reward system.

The drive to acquire is most easily satisfied by an organization's reward system-how effectively it discriminates between good and poor performers, ties rewards to performance, and gives the best people opportunities for advancement.


The most effective way to fulfill the drive to bond-to engender a strong sense of camaraderie-is to create a culture that promotes teamwork, collaboration, openness, and friendship.

Job design.

The drive to comprehend is best addressed by designing jobs that are meaningful, interesting, and challenging. This can make the employees have a sense of belonging to theis work and understand what they are doing and why they are there doing it.

Performance-management and resource allocation processes.

Fair, trustworthy, and transparent processes for performance management and resource allocation help to meet people's drive to defend. The management must make it clear to every men and women in the unit and in their responsibility why do they do something, what are the reassons for them making such a decision. The personnel might not agreed to it but it is the officer's responsibility to make sure that every men and women understand everything.

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Work in an occupation is usually regarded as the principal long-term activity of human life, at least in civilized societies. However, it can be argued that in many cases people are forced to work by the necessity of gaining a livelihood, and by social pressures to do this, rather than instigated by persistent goal-directed motivation hence the Navy need to answer: "Why do warriors work?" in order to truly understand why the people join the navy and how to motivate them to stay in the navy.

There are many different types of employee motivation that appear to elicit different employee responses depending on the individual. These motivators can be classified in many different ways. For addressing sailors in this discussion, they will be grouped into four basic categories: Compensation (short term survival), future opportunities (long term survival/future security), quality of life, and job satisfaction. It will be argued that these four areas must be satisfied in a complimenting manner to achieve the required level of warrior motivation. While each category is important for

addressing specific aspects of sailor motivation, the collective package tailored to individual needs and desires is the key to optimum warrior readiness.


This category of motivation not only refers to putting "Food on the table," it also includes financially based benefits such as health care, housing, and commissary privileges that contribute to basic survival. There is another often-overlooked aspect to compensation that has direct ties to the quality of life category. That is, once the basic survival needs are met, the excess salary that allows Navy personnel to buy nicer cars, go on vacations, live in more pleasing neighborhoods, etc. Unfortunately, other than bonuses, the Navy organization has little ability to manipulate military pay and benefits.

Future Opportunities

Future opportunities refers to long term survival and security, and might include either the goal of a better job or eventual retirement with a lifetime salary. Some experts assert that humans fundamentally strive to see their circumstances improve. Many workers will endure a lower paying job or poor working conditions for the experience and education required for a future better job, one that provides a more attractive overall motivation package. Others seek the long term security and basic survival provided by a military retirement plan.

Quality of Life

In many cases quality of life can be tied to the compensation aspects of the Navy. The more money a sailor makes, the better quality of life he can afford. One important lifestyle contributor that isn't financially controlled is free time, it should be noted that improving the current situation of limited leisure time for sailors will likely have a significant impact toward sailor motivation.

Job Satisfaction

The final category is perhaps the most promising for the Navy because it is so powerful, yet generally costs very little to improve. In many cases, simply targeting leadership practices can enhance job satisfaction.


An eternal military truth is that as the craftsman designs a bigger and better sword, the shield to counter the improved weapon gets thicker and stronger. For example when radar technology advanced, electronic warfare to counter the new sensor also improved. Similarly, advances in ships and submarines led to upgraded mines, new aircraft prompted development of double-digit Surface-to-Air-Missile systems, stealth technology resulted in counter-stealth efforts, and overwhelming conventional warfare capabilities gave birth to asymmetric warfare. Any new gadgets from any armed forces will have it's counter threat from the other armed forces, but one thing remains is the personnel it self. Thus the navy must find ways on how to really retain the best personnel in the workforce.


Despite a large variety of incentives available for warrior motivation, many could, and should be improved. The scope of improvements should address the following:

· Compensation, sailors should be paid for sea duty. This is to compensate for the time they are at sea doing their job. The navy sholud also experiment on rewarding personnel base on their work to the unit's safety and warfighting capabilities.

· Free time. As a sailor's time is often considered a free commodity to Navy leadership, more leisure time can be a powerful source of motivation. In the past, the Navy has under-funded fleetmanning requirements which although having produced intended savings, has also caused many good overworked sailors to leave.

· Sailor interaction with the Navy. In addition to the chain of command, another significant line of communication between sailors and the Navy organization is the detailing process. Detailers should be empowered to create and compose unique motivational packages suitable to individual sailors. Hard to fill assignments should be appropriately enhanced to attract sailors. Desirable sailors should not be forced out of the Navy simply because they don't want to move or take a job.

· Better defined career path. Many believe the Navy values its warrior's services only until the completion of his or her current tour, at which time he or she will be re-evaluated for follow-on assignments. What Navy leadership doesn't realize is that individuals are simultaneously performing their own evaluation on the Navy's lack of commitment and are responding with their own decisions to leave for a more stable and rewarding environment. The Navy may want to commit to its people and their families by offering the option of defining careers as much as five years into the future.

· Improved family support. There are many scenarios in today's society where a child's school or a spouse's employment might lead to a sailor's decision to move without the family. Currently, there are few Navy policies that recognize or compensate sailors for making this incredible sacrifice for the organization. A future Navy human resource vision should address the geobachelor reality and attempt to alleviate some of the associated financial, housing, and travel burdens.

· Embracing the transition to a civilian profession. As every sailor leaves the Navy and in a way becomes the Navy's ambassador to society, it is wise to let each one leave with positive memories of the service.

The key towards building an innovative and efficient Navy is providing optimum motivation to its sailors. Navy leadership should craft an efficient vision to guide the way it deploys, manages sailors, and addresses an uncertain future. Equally important, the multitude of warrior motivational factors should be strategically improved. Leadership, the organizational structure, and the human resource system need to be aligned towards the common vision. Finally, mechanisms and processes for continuous improvement are needed for the Navy to remain militarily and fiscally efficient in the global environment of change.