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Figure Success is the ultimate goal for every company and in order to fulfill this, employees must strive and put their best effort towards accomplishing this goal. If employees are not happy and satisfied, there will be poor productivity. The backbone of a business success resides in the productivity and output of employees. An unsatisfied employee could lead to: poor performance, absenteeism, unionization attempts, substance abuse, stealing at work, undue socializing tardiness, using company time to do personal work, turnover and the list goes on and on. No company would want to lose a productive employee therefore managers should do things that generate positive job attitudes. As Lencioni (2007) confirms "Three out of four people hate their jobs-and this misery costs employers $350 billion a year in lost productivity. Job dissatisfaction kills morale and drives up the cost of recruiting, hiring, and retraining employees." On the other hand, when employees are happy there are high chances of job involvement and organizational commitment which boost productivity. Imagine going to work every day and having to be depressed just about the thought of going to work? Our work environment is like our second home; most of our time away from family is being spent there and if we are not happy at work, it affects other areas of our lives.
Managers should take upon their own interest to be able to recognize employees' attitude. As Christopher Mills, co-owner of Prime Debt Services, a debt-management firm in Dallas claims, "I found the more I listened, the better they pepped up. It takes time from me, but it's worth it" (Needleman, 2010). Mr. Mills met with his employees once a week to share ideas or raise any concerns they might have. He found that these meetings were valuable to him as much as it was with his employees; they both gained. One employee raised concerned about being upset due to some sales leads not evenly distributed. Mr. Mills quickly met with his sales teams after to explain that was a mistake. Mr. Mills shows his staff appreciation by preparing them breakfast every Wednesday. Another entrepreneur, Bert Martinez, a small-business adviser in Houston takes extra steps to make his employees feel valued. He claims, "If there's anything you can do to make your employees feel secure and that they're important, they're going to work better" (Needleman, 2010). We have all heard the saying, "Happy employees are more productive."
Employees tend to lose interest in their work when they see there are no motivations or compensations for what they are doing. Yes! They are getting a salary, but people tend to contribute more to their work when they see it is being recognized. They will love their job even more because they are being rewarded. Perman (2009) suggested some ways to motivate employees:
Identify all the benefits the company offers, from tuition reimbursement to 401(k) matching contributions, and make sure your staff knows about them and recognizes the importance of taking advantage of them. Give your employees SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals. This will help them feel a sense of accomplishment on a regular basis. Tell them when they're doing a good job. Don't underestimate the power of small gestures, like having an occasional casual dress code day. Make some sacrifices, like taking the team out to lunch even if you have to pay out of pocket. Break out of the ordinary. Have off-site team-building exercises when you can, or invite an outside speaker to speak at a team meeting, for example.
Motivational techniques do not always have to involve money. It could be a simple thank you note. Lise Myers, area operations manager of Personnel Performance Consultants in Purchase, N.Y confirms, "When the boss says 'thank you,' it goes a long way. A memo complimenting someone's work will also do the trick," she adds (Delaney, 1995). The bottom line is that people want to feel a sense of appreciation; we are human beings and it is only logical that we feel that way. When employees find they are not rewarded when it is being needed it could lead them to seek other jobs somewhere else which decreases their sense of belonging to the company and makes them less keen on doing their work correctly or efficiently. Not only is the company losing a productive employee but they are also losing training cost spent on that employee.
Motivation is one of the most important keys to performance improvement. Having worked at S. Grover & Company, PLLC - an accounting firm in New York, working through the tax period provided firsthand experience with working in an environment that negatively affected morale. It was common for employees to work extremely long hours which lasted until 10pm. The effect of this period was evident in the low morale displayed by most of the employees in the department. In order to counteract the problem of low productivity, the management routinely rewards the staff with a gift certificate for a day of pampering at the spa of their choice. Employees will usually respond favorably to this offer as they feel that their long hours of work are constantly being recognized; this practice also boosts team morale and it makes the job of working together to accomplish one goal a lot easier.
Robbins & Judge (2008) believes that Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs is the most well-known theories of motivation. The basic human needs, according to Maslow, are:
Physiological needs - this includes the basic needs for survival (food, water and oxygen)
Safety needs - this include a safe and secure physical and emotional environment and freedom from threats. In a company, safety needs reflect the needs for safe jobs, fringe benefits and job security.
Social needs - in a company, these needs influence the desire for good relationship with coworkers, participation in a work group, and a positive relationship with supervisors.
Esteem needs - Within a company, esteem needs reflect a motivation for recognition, an increase in responsibility, high status, and credit for contributions to the company.
Self-actualization needs - this need can be met in the company by providing people with opportunities to grow, be creative, and acquire training for challenging assignments and advancement. (Robbins & Judge, 2008)
The hierarchy of needs is often represented as a pyramid, with the larger, lower levels representing the lower needs, and the upper point representing the need for self-actualization. Individual moves from the lower level to the upper level and in order to motivate them one needs to know which level they are currently in. Society plays a major role hampering someone to move from self-actualization to the lower levels. Education can be used to address this issue. Bringing in an outsider to speak at meetings can help motivate employee, they can open up new horizons; maybe solve existing problems within the organization.
Laft (2009) discussed two recent motivational trends: "Empowering employees to meet higher needs and giving meaning to work through engagement." He believes that if employees have empowerment they will think independently and assist the company achieves its goal; they will respond with increased work effort and greater efficiency. When employees have information about the company performance and are part of decision making they feel valued by being involved. Employees do not need to be micromanaged in everything they do. Laft thinks with employee engagement the company will be successful; employees would care deeply and wants only the best for the company. Harrison (2007) reports that, "Leaders who keep their employees involved, engaged, and connected are ultimately improving business performance through their people. Employees want to believe their ideas are being heard and want to feel empowered to make decisions and changes in the workplace. Taking time to build relationships with employees through personal interactions is a key step managers can take to keep morale high."
Another way to boost productivity is through communication. When employees are uninformed about changes occurring in the company, they tend to assume the worst - not having a secure job. D'Aprix (1990) suggested to, "Let people know exactly what the business is up against these days." On the other hand, when they are informed and engage in decision making, they are much happier employees; they perform better, feel like part of the team, and adjust to changes more easily. D'Aprix thinks that when they are aware of the company changes, it will be no surprise to them because they are living with those realities. Managers need to communicate both positive and negative aspects of change within the company - they need to be honest about the future of the company. Communication should also be two-way; not only from managers but also employees should be giving feedback. When employees give feedback, there will be a better working environment - managers know how employees feel toward a given situation. Fostering open communication within the workplace will lead to productivity within any company.
Jenner (1994) discusses some techniques to improve employee morale. These are:
Eliminate absenteeism - Jenner believes "A few frequently absent workers often can lower the morale of all coworkers." She thinks, "What's needed: an attendance policy that provides positive reinforcement for those who comply and negative reinforcement for those who don't."
Reduce turnover - She points out some managerial issues that often lead to high turnover: "Lack of guidance, lack of trust, lack of objectivity and fairness."
Raise productivity - She proposes some techniques that can improve when managers adopt a motivational management style: "Supply information, provide feedback, give recognition, listen for comments and ideas, encourage involvement."
We live in a world where employees keep whining about their jobs every day. Some of them keep looking at the clock and cannot wait to go home, some wishes it was Friday when it is only Monday, others have a headache, stomach ache, this hurts, that hurts and some just simply complains about not having a break. Managers may sometimes take these little things for granted, however come to think of it, it affects productivity. Employees should not look or feel as if though their job is a pressure or burden upon them. A long day of work can cause someone to feel burnout. I know the Federal wage and hour laws do not require employers to provide employee work breaks, but a work break can help employees refresh their mind and work effectively. Yes, I know they are getting a lunch break but sometimes sitting at one's desk for hours can cause that person to feel exhausted and even make simple errors within their work. Sweeney (2005) points out:
A recent study confirms that people run out of steam as the day wears on. Thirty- three percent of executives surveyed said 4 P.M. to 6 P.M. is the least productive time of the day for employees. Lunchtime, or noon to 2 P.M., came in a close second, cited by 29% of respondents. The national poll includes responses from 150 senior executives -- including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments -- from among the US' 1,000 largest companies.
Figure Giving employees a little break and letting them know that the company is concerned about their health and wellness will go a long way toward helping them work better, which in turn will boost their productivity. People want to have fun while they are at work. Laughter reduces the levels of frustration, anger, depression and burn out among employees. It also boosts morale and people enjoy their work. Bailey (2009) suggested that, "Productivity in the workplace is always higher when people have fun. Almost any mission becomes more successful when people have fun." Companies should have social events such as: a day at the park with games, potlucks, happy hours and occasionally include family members of employees to some of these said events. I know we are not living in the best economy right now, and companies may feel pressure having to finance these costs but employees can come together and contribute to some of these costs.
There are other ways to have fun within a company other than those mentioned above. Hulett (2002) suggested that, "Find every excuse to celebrate-birthdays, holidays or work accomplishments are all reasons to have a little fun between getting the job done. All of these ideas create the social pressure you need to inject the right attitude in your practice. Staff members working in this environment will, in turn, adopt a similar attitude." I know this may be inappropriate for some company, since they may have very strict business etiquette, but it does not have to be anything extravagant. I recalled being at S. Grover & Company, PLLC it was appropriate to celebrate all personal events like birthdays, anniversaries and engagements inside the office. Again I would say every company is different and may have different policies regarding these celebrations - some of them think it is too much and may affect productivity and work, while others think it boost productivity. I know one successful company that engages in these celebrations is goggle.
We are all aware that the nature of managerial work means that managers are obligated to cultivate a supportive work environment for all employees. However, I think people need to take responsibility for their work lives too. What about the employees who are having issues at home or outside of the work environment? For these employees to bring their problems into the workplace would not be fair on manager and the company as a whole. Also they would be ruining morale for others within the work environment. Managers cannot be solely responsible for someone else's happiness. Therefore, I believe everyone is responsible for their own morale. Managers can only motivate employees to some degree; it is up to the employees if they want to go forward. If we are to examine the employees who exhibit high morale within the workplace, they are the ones who not depend on managers to provide a satisfactory work environment; these are employees who are capable of assessing their professional and emotional work needs and take steps to see that those needs are met.
Figure Our economy is in currently in a recession and it is only going to get worst if companies keep laying off and downsizing. What causes companies to layoff and downsize? There are many answers to this question: not making any or enough profit, bankruptcy, low employee productivity and morale, excessive workforce etc. Companies want to hold onto their talented employees. As I mentioned before the cost associated in trainin g these employees could be lost also when a company loses an employee, so companies need to ensure that employees are happy with the work environment and the job itself. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, figure 3 gives the unemployment trends within the U.S. for the past ten years with unemployment only rising. We can see for the current year (2010) it just keeps rising. Graph.gif