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The responsibility of each manager in the workplace is to ensure that organisation's objectives are being achieved through employees. In order to do this, it is necessary for the manager to motivate employees. However, motivation can often be a daunting task.
In spite of the fact that enormous research on motivation has been conducted, this subject is yet not well understood and what is worse, it is not much practised.
Motivation can be defined as "the act or an instance of motivating" or "desire to do; interest or drive" (Collins English Dictionary, 2009). This could be explained as a process that brings motive to an individual to perform certain action. In order to understand secrets of motivation, manager needs to understand human nature and this is what is making it even more challenging since not every human is same and is motivated by the same things.
Motivation factors and theories
Motivation can be internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic) as confirmed by Hagger and Chatzisarantis (2007). Internal motivation can be explained as the force that is derived from within individual such as pride or feeling of accomplishment and external motivation can be defined as motivation that is being given by another individual or organisation such as bonuses, certificates of accomplishments etc. It is believed that internal motivation (rewards) is stronger since no matter how strong external motivation (reward) is, it takes individual to decide to be motivated. Carnegie (1948) stated that happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions; but it is governed by our mental attitude.
However, economists have not spent much on studying and dealing with intrinsic factors. Wilhamson (1985) as cited by Osterloh and Frey (2000), suggests that although many economists admit the existence of intrinsic motivation, they leave it aside because it is difficult
to analyse and control.
Research conducted by Prendergas (2008) suggests that firms do at least partial observation of the preferences of their employees. The research further suggests that organisations should be able to sort their employee preferences in order to understand better what motivates them.
Before discussing motivation in workplace, we need to briefly discuss what motivates humans because every employee is firstly a human, and then an employee. Moreover, motivation at work can sometimes depend on social situation of the human outside the working place.
Some of the factors defined by Shanks (2007) that can effect human motivation can be:
Healthy Relationship - in which humans can develop sense of connection with other humans.
Competence - a human is able to develop skills that allow him/her at certain standards
Choice - a choice to belong to certain group or organisation and active participation in decision making.
In order to understand motivation factors, we will first examine Abraham Maslow theory of needs. He suggested that individuals have their strong needs, and one's action is derived from these needs. Maslow (1943) as citied by Ramlall (2004) suggested that there are at least five sets of goals which can be referred to as basic needs and are physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. These goals are:
This is first level that consists of strongest needs and this includes body, shelter, food and other life necessities. It is in the nature of human kind to first reach these needs and then move to next level of basic needs.
This involves both, security and safety needs. This can be interpreted as job security, proper insurance, pensions, security of source of income etc.
Social needs will be of an interest to individual after the second level of basic needs has been reached. He further claimed that the human being will seek to socialize and "be present in environment where is love, affection and friendship needs are satisfied".
Humans are concerned with self esteem needs which include self respect, confidence, prestige, power etc. These needs give to one a feeling of worthiness and satisfaction.
After all other basic needs are met; man will consider need for personal achievement. Man will often seek to be challenged and use same challenge as motive for work which is of benefit to him personally, or society.
What Maslow (1943) suggested is that once one need has been satisfied, it is no longer being treated as "a need" and once one level of need has been completed, man will treat a need of a higher level. It can be concluded that this theory is important in understanding motivation however it has its limits. It can be said that each individual has his own particular order of needs and there can be cases when for example self actualisation needs will be prioritised before social or safety needs.
Furthermore, there are cases when even an individual may not be fully aware of his/her needs. If this is the case, how will others surrounding this person, in this case manager know what best motivates this person?
Furthermore, it can be considered that Maslow's theory cannot be considered enough to understand motivation.
It was Clayton P. Alderfer (1969) who has formulated Maslow's theory based on three needs which are often abbreviated as ERG needs:
This type of need combines Maslow's psychological and safety needs and include needs which can be treated as basic for surviving.
Composes of Maslow's esteem and social needs and claims that this need is reached by engaging in social activities and personal relationship.
Clayton (1969) concluded this type of need will be achieved when one searches for opportunities and new challenges and compared it to Maslow's self actualisation need.
ERG theory debates that Maslow (1943) was wrong and predicts that an individual does not remain at certain level until that need is reached and suggested that one can work at the same time in two or more needs. The advantage of ERD theory is that it makes us understand that man needs can be different taking into consideration the culture surrounding him and his background. In his book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living", Dale Carnegie (1948) explains how many basic needs in Sahara Desert have been considered by the local population as "Gift from God" whilst the very same needs would be considered as hygiene amongst the people of developed countries who do not experience Sahara warm weather and poor living conditions.
ERG theory has its limits too. Even though it clearly defines three needs, no clear information is provided on how one might measure if these needs have been met. However, we must not forget that this theory is relatively new, if we compare it to Maslow's theory and would need more time to prove itself.
Motivation in workplace
Motivation in workplace is of an immense importance for success of every organisation. It is crucial for an employee to experience the work as something meaningful and be aware that his/her involvement will have direct impact in organisation success.
An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success (Covey, 1991:15).
Buchbinder and Shanks (2007) have explained that nowadays, most of managers believe that people are only motivated by money. This is an opinion shared by the scientific management as well. It was Taylor (1911) who claimed that the most important motivator for an employee is salary and wages. Although, this without doubts is an important external factor in motivating employees, it can be considered that they are no longer enough and that intrinsic motivation is of a higher importance to an individual. Furthermore, it can be considered that financial motivator does not have same effect in every individual. For example, a graduate who is engaging in working relationship might be more interested to learn more about the work than the salary itself.
Apart from financial motivators, non-financial motivators can effect employee motivation and success at work.
Hygiene Factors and Motivation
It was Frederic Herzberg (1959) who dealt with motivation factors in workplace. He claimed that hygiene factors are non-motivational but prevent humans from being dissatisfied and often maintain status quo. Motivation factors defined by him are:
Company policy and Administration
Inter-personal relations with Supervisor
Inter-personal relations with peers
Helzberg concluded that today's motivational factors can be tomorrow's hygiene factors and continued further by saying that one's motivational factor can be hygiene of another person. He also claimed that many factors are work-oriented. In order to discuss Herzberg's definition from critical point of view, we must first deal with methods applied by Herberg (1959) to produce such definition. As stated by Ramlall (2004) in late 1950 and late 1960s, Herzberg, with help of his associates, conducted a research that was based on interview of 200 accountants and engineers, in 11 firms. These workers had to answer to set of questions that dealt with what they liked mostly and what they hated mostly about their jobs and additionally rate how much their feelings were impacted for better or worse. There is no doubt that Herzberg(1959) contributed to understanding motivation better, and it is especially managers who will benefit mostly from it because most of the factors mentioned are mostly job-related. However, it is obvious that his study was limited to engineers and accountants and thus raises a question if it can be considered valid for other professions. Finally it can be argued that Herzberg did not discuss much job satisfaction and simply put too much emphasises on job enrichment.
It is believed that employee motivation will be impacted by way their job is designed. Hall and Lawler (1970) concluded that the way in which job is designed has a substantial impact upon attitudes beliefs and feelings of the job holder. The author also indicated that even there is no clear empirical evidence; job satisfaction and involvement have often been discussed as determinants of performance at work. To support the fact that employee is not only financially motivated but job design and contribution can play its role, work done by volunteers can be taken as an example. Even though they are not being financially compensated, people who are volunteering are simply enjoying their work and to give contribution. Clary and Snyder (1999) as citied by Katherine, Mayer, and McNary (2010) have identified six elements that motivate volunteers and third elements is satisfaction of employee with the work and belief that such work will contribute in making the volunteer feel better and further grow and develop his/her needs.
Providing an employee with opportunity to take place in decision making or various important processes can serve as a powerful motivator. Type of involvement such as allowing employees to make suggestions in their field can further increase their creativity and contribution and this will make them feel as important part of organisation family. It is important to encourage employees to take various responsibilities that deal with quality and efficiency of products and solutions which meet customer requirements. Podmoroff (2005:65) states that "participative management enables staff, at all levels, to find practical solutions and design better business practices for their own companies". Therefore, key motivation would be to entrust organisation development and success to employees as well, not only to management.
This type of motivator can have positive impact in increasing performance of an individual (Fort Worth Business Press, 2006). Recognition from superiors can be given in form of praise, miscellaneous awards such as certificates of achievement, letter of appreciation of individual's achievements etc. There are companies who have specific programme of "Employee of the month" where an employee is being appreciated for his hard work and contribution to organisation. It is recommended that such award is to be given in a special ceremony, preferably in front of management or other employees and research suggests that personal recognition is more effective than the general one. This without doubts will serve as a powerful motivator.
However, manager should be able to distinguish between recognition and reward. Hans, et al (2002:65) suggest that "Recognition and reward represent two fundamentally different mechanisms of human motivation." They further conclude that taking time to recognize or appreciate our employees, we tend to strengthen our bonds with them.
This is without doubts an important motivator that will allow employees to use range of their abilities. Employees will find their work more interesting by being able to select their work methods. Job enrichment is great way to address negative effects that can be caused by boredom. Podmoroff (1999: 64) states that "Motivational Factors such as responsibility, achievement, growth and learning, advancement and recognition are further developed" via job enrichment. Some of the ways job enrichment can be done is by job rotation where people can see and understand the organisation better and gain new skills and experiences or by redistributing authority which will give employees control and authority over specific task. This will make them feel more motivated to perform the task. In order to initiate job enrichment process, the manager will need to identify what processes are causing dissatisfaction for an employee so understanding of employee wants can be considered as starting point for this process. All significant changes to certain task or process will need to be communicated to affected parties to eliminate any future confusion. Finally, it is manager's responsibility to re-evaluate efforts and ensure that any change in responsibilities or tasks will not affect negatively any process within organisation.
There are organisations who apply competition as motivator. Normally, management provides employees with objectives and deadline to achieve them. In return, employees will be given special bonus for reaching specific target. This can serve as powerful way to motivate employees to achieve company objectives and ensuring that each employee will be awarded for his contribution. There are researchers who believe that competition can increase intrinsic motivation of an employee. Research (Tripathi, 1992) on effects of competition on intrinsic motivation of employees found that competition produced higher intrinsic motivation to engage in a task and additionally indicated that subjects showed a more positive response to the task in indirect competition as compared to direct competition. However, management needs to ensure that each competition is fair and it will not serve as a tool to lead to any confusion or negative relationships amongst the employees.
It is the role of management to persistently seek best ways to motivate their staff. It would be very wrong for managers to believe that what motivates them will motivate others. Every human can be motivated by different factors.
Additional useful method which has been designed to help managers to deal with the employee motivation is Management by Objective which is developed by Peter Drucker (1954) which proclaims a goal setting process which aims to actively involve management and employees at every level of organisation. All employees are focused to work with aim of achieving final organisation goals, so all employee goals are related to organisation goals. Employees will have autonomy to select means required to achieve organisation goals. Podmoroff (2005:62) suggests that "The principle behind Management by Objective is to increase the motivational factors such as autonomy, responsibility and direct involvement in setting work goals".
Impact of training in employee motivation
Training is another important aspect that should be taken into consideration. Dysvik and Kuvas (2008) confirmed that a persistent training and investment in employee skills will bring additional motivation. An employee will feel that he/she is part of the company which is interested in his/her growth. Additionally, employees will enjoy more their work when they know how to perform a task and have necessary tools available. This will without doubts raise employee's productivity and bring better results for the organisation.
Management at Raiffesien Bank Kosovo was determined to invest in employee skills being aware how important trained staff is for overall success of the bank. The head of Information technology department was responsible for selecting I.T. staff that would undergo training overseas. However, most of the training was given to three staff who he assumed were very valuable to the department and who showed great results over the years. It was his belief that the organisation should only invest in people who are productive and motivated. Obviously, the head of department was ignoring other employees and was not interested to invest in them. This was certainly not the best approach, having in mind that management should not only deal with motivated employees. It is management's task to deal with de-motivation factors causing poor performance of employees. Without doubts, training would play its role in motivating staff who wasn't showing much motivation. Research (Dysvik and Kuvas, 2008) on impact on training on employee motivation, indicated that there is a positive relationship between perceived training opportunities and organizational citizenship behaviour for employees scoring high on intrinsic motivation.
Measuring progress of task is important because this can directly impact positively or negatively employee motivation. Thomas (2000) concluded that when an employee feels little progress, he will feel discouraged by the task. The manager will need to seek a way to hold employees accountable and make sure to facilitate this process. It is recommended that when a task is completed successfully, a celebration or reward to be followed in order to motivate employees to make sure that they are keeping the progress of their tasks and ensuring successful completion of tasks.
Treating Employees fairly
There are cases when manager might treat an employee as a child. It is crucial to treat employee like an adult and provide clear guidelines what is expected of him/her. This will be a sign that the manager shows respect for employee and impact positively employee overall motivation for work. Palmer (2007) stated if employees are treated with respect, the same treatment they will give to their customers.
It was Dauglas Megregor (1960) who produced two extreme theories named Theory Y and X. Theory Y is mainly based on traditional approach to the way humans behave and states that:
Humans dislike the work and must be controlled or threatened
A worker will want to avoid responsibility
The largest number of workers will place their security above everything, including work
This theory supports the idea that works must be controlled and pushed into performance.
In contrast to Theory Y, some of the points that theory X raises are:
The average worker won't dislike the work
If proper conditions are given, a worker will be willing to accept responsibility
A worker is capable of bringing new and innovative ideas
It can be concluded that both theories represent two extremes and thus it is impossible for a person to only belong to one group (situation). To some degree, every worker might posses some traits from X and some other traits of Y theory. It can be said that workers who belong more to X theory are uneducated and therefore see work as something that helps them maintain their psychological needs.
Teamwork can make a difference
Gjelsvik (2007: 135) stated that "Good multidisciplinary team work gives motivation and learning to the whole team". A manager should organise employees into self managed teams where single team will have control over the quality of the work as well as be able to select work methods. This would contribute in creating interdependent environment where all teams work independently but for a single aim, increased productivity and better results for organisation they work for.
There are researches that link teamwork with emotional intelligence (EI). Jordan and Troth (2004) as citied by Othman, Abdullah and Ahmad (2009) stated that emotional Intelligence contributes to integrative conflict resolution styles and team performance. They further concluded that emotional intelligence can play big role in certain aspect of how effective will be team's performance thus in a way have an impact in employee motivation.
Creating and Maintaining Motivating Environment
In order for employees to be motivated, management needs to ensure that the environment is consistent with motivation. The best way for management to know what environment is most suitable is to simply communicate with employees. Employees might have different expectations when environment matters, some employees will probably value more competitive environment while some will value more leadership role.
Naryam (1999) suggests that, because motivation theory is so difficult to implement more and more companies are seeing that the link between motivation and performance improvement is communication. Communication is important element that manager can use to communicate recognition to employee and improve employees self-worth.
The manager should ensure that he is not over instructing employee as this might affect his esteem and belief. Timbers (1996) discussed how over-instructing can kill employee initiative, dulls his/her creative edge, and denies employee the pleasure of figuring it out himself.
Motivation beyond management's power
So far, miscellaneous motivation factors and theories have been discussed. There is no doubt that management plays key role in motivating employees but one must agree that there are some factors which are beyond management's power. Downsizing is something that can effect negatively employee motivation. As indicated by Condrey (2010:524) "the practice of replacing people with information technology, reduces the size of the workforce, resulting in a fewer opportunities and less job security". This can directly impact motivation of employees in organization. Same can be said for the financial crisis. Slattery (2003) argues that due to financial crisis, organisations may seek to cut its spending as result of decreased profit and this can affect employee motivation. During such crisis, it is important for management to communicate persistently with employees and inform them for any changes in organisation and why those changes are necessary.
There are many motivation theories available, and even though these theories differ from expert to expert, it can be concluded that all theories aim to assist us understand motivation factors and how to deal with specific cases. Motivation Theory is not exact science, thus there is no secret formula that can be followed to achieve employee motivation.
Employee motivation is one of the most challenging jobs managers are tasked with. Regardless of company nature or size, it is motivation that can impact abilities of employees to increase organisational performance or bring poor performance thus managers should seek for best ways to motivate their employees. It is wrong to believe that monetary compensation is main factor. Some employees might prefer personal achievement or recognition more. It is therefore manager's duty to determine if financial or non-financial incentive is of a higher value for an individual or group of employees.
Every manager should be able to differ what prevents job dissatisfaction and what factors motivate employees. In order for employees to increase their performance, they first need to be free from any feelings that cause dissatisfaction and then be motivated.
Employees are the greatest assets to every organisation and employee efficiency cannot be matched no matter how great and updated company equipment or technology is.