Understanding Motivation In The Workplace Business Commerce Essay


Motivation in the workplace is factors that encourage employees. No matter in the short run or the long run, satisfying the individual's needs is very important. Some employees are interested in financial rewards while others prefer non-financial rewards. These two motivations are regarded as financial and non-financial methods of motivation. High efficiency and profits for a business always result from well motivated employees. Therefore, it is essential for a business to find out ways of satisfying its employees' needs and motivate them effectively (Hall et al, 2008). Namely, the managers in a business should be able to motivate employees; however, it is much easier said than done (Accel-team, 2010). This essay will examine financial and non-financial methods of motivation by explaining how Maslow's, Taylor's and Herzberg's theories correspond to the methods separately, as well as analyzing how they are used by companies.

Maslow's theory refers to both financial and non-financial methods of motivation, and it is beneficial to find out what the needs of employees are. Abraham Maslow was the first person who attempted to examine needs of employees. He set up the hierarchy of needs which classifies needs and indicates how the classes are related to each other (Hall et al, 2008). As figure one shows (Businessballs, 2009), from top to bottom in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, there are in all five layers. They are self-actualization, esteem needs, love and belonging, safety needs and physiological needs. In the hierarchy of needs, physiological needs belongs to financial methods while the other layers are concerning on non-financial methods. Only if lower layers of needs are satisfied are employees able to consider the higher layers of needs and develop themselves. For efficiently motivating employees, a large number of businesses adopt Maslow's theory. For example, nowadays, businesses tend to set up a minimum salary for employees, buy insurance for them and give them chances to share profits in order t increase the productivities and profits. As a result, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory not only refers to financial motivation, but also relates to non-financial motivation; it is a good way to motivate employees.

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Figure 1: Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Financial methods of motivation is using money to provide an incentive to employees, which plays a significant role in a firm as money is one of the basic needs of employees. Methods of financial rewards are as follows: time-rate pay, performance-related pay, piece-rate pay, commission, bonuses, shares and options, as well as benefits in kind and pensions (tutor2u, n.d.a). All of these financial rewards can improve productivity and increase profit by encouraging employees. For instance, at First American, managers use different financial rewards to encourage employees to work harder, such as performance-related pay. Performance-related pay is an extra pay for the employee who makes a large progress or has an achievement that other employees do not have. A person who works at First American, who is the best at solving computer problems can get a toy and a fifty dollar dinner. Likewise, each employee gains two hundred dollars with a cake during each anniversary (Businessknowhow, 2010).

Piece-rate pay is another financial motivation that is widely used in various industries nowadays, which is payment based on the number of the units produced. Workers may attempt to produce more for higher payments in the case of piece-rate pay, and increasing productivity and their earnings (bizhelp24, 2009). An opinion relates to piece-rate was held by Frederick W. Taylor, who created the principles of modern management in 1899 (Hall et al, 2008). The opinion is that money is the best motivator of workers, and the pay for employees should be through piece rates. Taylor put forward a new proposal that is 'A fair day's pay for a fair day's work'. His approach is a typical example of financial motivation, which is not only refers to time-rate pay and piece-rate pay, but also improves the equity and incentives between employees. For example, in a shoe manufactured factory, a large number of workers are willing to work overtime for producing more units because the more they produce the higher income they can get.

In addition to financial motivation, non-financial motivation is another key inspiration for workers, which are the motivators that do not link with money. Non-financial methods of motivation contain team working, job enlargement, job enrichment and empowerment (tutor2u, n.d.b). Team working is employees working together in a group, which is essential in a firm because the firm is a small community. And every employee has his or her own strengths and job skills, which contributes to the firm's operation and increases the productivity. Team working requires high cooperation between the employees; they can help and learn from each other as well as fully use their skills. Only if realized team working is a firm able to make good use of employee resources and be more successful. Moreover, team working appears in the theory of human relations set up by Elton Mayo (Hall et al, 2008). The theory believed that good communication and cooperation can motivate employees to work together, which relates to team working and gives full play to workers' strengths. The strengths could be the ability to use computer programs or the ability to work with others, for example.

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A typical case of non-financial motivation is Deloitte. It built up Deloitte Career Connections, an organizational network and career training program for all employees. These programs provide vast information in various fields in the company and offer new job opportunities to the employees. From the information, employees can broaden their horizons about their careers and expand their roles in the company. Other benefits can be gained from these strategies as well, just as full use of job skills, information sharing and individual development, which also improve the situation of communication, unity and working environment in the company. Therefore, Deloitte is regarded as one of the "Top 100 Best Places to Work" (businessknowhow, 2010).

Another theory in the non-financial methods of motivation is Herzberg's two-factor theory, which contains motivators and maintenance factors, and it is usually links with job enrichment (Hall et al, 2008). According to Hall et al (2008:390), 'Job enrichment is extending employees' responsibility by enlarging their roles in the production procedure'. A company usually increases their employees' responsibility by giving them power. A case in this point is an advertiser given responsibility to carry out a program. In the process, the advertiser is in charge of designing and ordering materials based on his or her own arrangement instead of just following the superiors' footsteps, which is positive to make good use of the advertiser's job skills. Furthermore, it is also beneficial to employees' contribution, achievement and improves their job ability.

Even though motivators are vital in the work place, there are some demotivators doing harm to employees and companies. In another word, demotivators appear when the motivators do not meet. Demotivators can also be divided into financial demotivators and non-financial demotivators. Financial demotivators might be operating problems, inadequate earnings, quality, and changes in payment. When a firm provides lower salaries or wages for employees than other firm, the employees are not willing to make their effort, which is demotivated by the low income. Moreover, non-financial demotivators might be low quality of working life, jealousy, measure performance and team-based rewards as well (Hall el al, 2008). As referred above, Deloitte attracts and motivates employees successfully because of its wonderful working environment. Therefore, to improve the efficiency of production and gain more profit, managers in companies should attempt to solve demotivators and incentive the employees to maximize their potential.

To sum up, lack of efficiency will appear where employees are not satisfied and motivated effectively. As a result, good use of financial and non-financial methods is needed in a firm because the motivation contributes to giving employees incentives and improving productivities, likewise, the theories referred above can be alternatively used by companies to achieve their goals, such as the theories of Maslow, Taylor and Herzberg. In my opinion, all motivational methods used in a company should be based on different circumstances. What is more, managers should find out what the needs of employees are and how to satisfy their needs, as well as dealing with demotivation. In a word, different motivation theories should be combined using both financial and non-financial rewards in a business depend on the business's own position.

Reference section:

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[Accessed 2010-3-25].

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