Certain staffs of any firm are more essential than others, Murphy and Burgio-Murphy (2005) argue, subsequently the higher degree to which a corporation focuses on keeping the enthused employees that perform higher than employees with low motivation who perform poorly, the success level, as a result, will be raised. This was the strategy used by Barclays when encountered with some difficulties in productivity, where the bank purposefully located employees with high level of performance with the aim of boosting up its productivity. It is a matter of give and take where organizations that assure its employees with job security and financial support will undoubtedly have employees that are highly motivated.
Competitive environment in banking industry will be manipulated and influenced knowing the fact that the financial services provided by Barclays, is accessible to the customers through many other financial organizations.
The competitor firms can effortlessly replicate goods, or imitate the quality of services that are recognized by one company, nevertheless if something is unattainable for a rival company; it would be nothing but the employees and their proficiencies. It is almost impossible to imitate Human resource strategies within an organization due to path dependency, since they come with certain organizational policies that have evolved in their due course. evidently then human resource management along with its associated practices have rightfully come to be acknowledged as one of the most important factors that could pass on a strategic lead to an organization in competing in the global marketplace.(Boxall and Purcell, 2003).
Baron and Kreps (1999) argue three points for the improvement of any organization. Primarily, it is of crucial importance that employees should get cleared about the profit of their organisation and the means and approaches of accomplishing the best for the company. Subsequently, the employees should be flexible enough in facing the changes that will be made to achieve these goals. Ultimately, in order to perform their tasks, both their mental and motor skills should be brought into play realizing that they have the ability to put into practice their judgment when needed in deciding what decisions to be made and taking initiatives and coming forward with their creative thoughts, thoughtful ideas and instrumental solutions in order to advance their organization.
Serving the best interests of the organizations in banking industry surprisingly was not among the goals of many high level employees. The guiding force in the market was the economic theory with the basic assumption that markets are self-correcting. Though this policy once dominated economic policies and financial regulation, however it is now being held responsible as one of the causes of the global financial disaster (Wighton, 2009). With the existing global recessionary atmosphere, a much higher level of contribution on the part of employees is required. In order to facilitate employee participation and upgrade employee input of skills and knowledge, most organizations are developing a set of human program targeting employee’s motivation, performance and productivity at the workplace. Batt (2002, p.589) argue that employee participation via representation and direct partaking in decision making may be instrumental, what he calls “complementary vehicles for employee voice at work.”
In the context of the Barclays organization this may hold pertinent, because the decisions taken within the organization so far have disastrous outcomes in terms of profitability and productivity and the ability to outlive the hardships of a recessionary environment.
Although Barclays’ takeover of one lucrative arm of Shearson Lehman may have saved it from going down, however this should not delude us from denying the fact that decision making at the top executive level may not have served the best interests of the Company. Therefore as an approach to avert personal greed of top executives nourished by the excessive bonuses and reward schemes offered to them under the employment contract, It may be worthwhile for Barclays to re-evaluate its strategy and involve more lower level employees in the corporate decision making process.
Pfefferr (1998) assert that employee can be significantly motivated provided that duly given financial incentives should be given the leading role.
Treanor (2009) maintain that bonus allocation in a business environment where the Company has suffered losses and where the executives have barely performed to the kind of consummate levels that is fairly considered as a prerequisite for the payment of bonuses is meaningless and does not appear to be justified. However Diamond responded to the questioning of this very aspect, stating that bonuses to top executives are defensible despite the losses because they have “performed well in the context of a very difficult environment.”
According to Pfeffer (1998), employee investment can be very profitable for an organization vis-à-vis increased productivity. He states that practicing high performance management method in most of the reviewed studies comes with substantial gains, on the order of 40 percent or so (p. 32). Another study that was carried out by Batt (2002) also authenticated the beneficial impact of providing monetary benefits to employees where she scrutinized the correlation between the quit rates of employees in call centres and their organizational performance to the kind of human resource practices that were being used at the firm. The findings in this study showed the varieties of incentives affected the quit rate and sales growth unenthusiastically and optimistically respectively. The result affirmed that quit rates were lower and there were high levels of sales growth in those call centres where employees contributed in decision making and were offered HR incentives such as job security and high levels of pay.
The benefits of monetary incentives in the context of Barclays bank and the banking industry in general are open to discussion, as they are not made contingent on performance, but are handed out as a regular part of an employment contract. As a result, there may be little, if any stimulus for these executives to work in the best interests of the Company, since they are much likely to lose their drive and , on the contrary, to be driven by greed and the complacence that they will receive their fat pay packets irrespective of their performance level.
High payment in other industries similarly may not inevitably achieve its goal of satisfactorily motivating employees to hold them off from other particular organization; quite the opposite, Herzberg (1968) argue, the focus on pay-related incentives could send an employee looking for another job as s/he purely draw on monetary benefits as a criterion in work related performance and run off if s/he is offered better pay elsewhere. It would be much better if employees are motivated on higher levels by satisfying their most inherent needs, such as the need for gratitude and respect. Hence, the question of whether performance related incentives can accomplish the desired objectives is open to discussion.
Recommendations for Barclays to improve motivation of employees:
Practicing traditional motivation that was considered to be effectual may not necessarily hold true in the case of the banking industry, Barclays bank in particular. Since the bonuses paid to top level employees are not contingent upon performance, they will not be as productive as expected to be. Therefore it is plausibly necessary to formulate a different motivation policy founded upon a high commitment HR system, as set out by Marchington and Wilkinson, (2005, p. 72) based upon the views offered by Pfeffer (1998), which comprise: (a) Sophisticated selection of applicants while recruiting (b) Broad extensive training as a part of employees preparation, as well as opportunities for learning and development (c) Employee participation in company operations, contribution of information and worker voice (d) Team playing self-managed by the workers themselves (e) Great attitude toward compensation which are contingent upon levels of performance (f) Employees should be Harmonised among and their differences should be abridged (g) job security and internal labour markets
Among all the ingredients of thriving businesses Pfeffer (1998) views the offer of employment security as being the most vital Human Resource practice, based upon which all other components are derived, because the job security that is offered, will somehow reassure employee contribution in terms of his or her hard work, skill and dedication to the job. Although Barclays bank offered its top level executives such levels of security however it may be advisable to transfer their attention and start to provide high levels of security to lower level employees.
Preffer maintain that the key factor in destabilizing employment security is the resort of an organization to practices such as compulsory lay-offs and downsizing whereas employers can advisably consider alternative provisions such as reduction of labour hours, cutting back on incomes, suspending new recruitment and transferring production workers into sales to stimulate demand (1998, p. 183). Conversely, companies with job security for their employees provide a powerful impetus and driving force to the employees to contentedly put in their best performance and practice their skills in the best interests of the organization through communicating an indirect message to the employees that their welfare comes as the organization’s main concern and expressing a long term commitment to them.
Nevertheless, reassuring job security to employees may not always be feasible for an organization In a trembling business atmosphere and especially when a recession characterizes an environment as is the case at present,; even in a steady business environment, the extent to which an organization can guarantee job security to its employees is confined since It would be impractical or unrealistic for an employee to expect that s/he will have a permanent job. Nevertheless, providing an assurance of job security does come with a sense of stability to an employee that s/he will not be send home so long as there is a job for them to do and an employee can rest assured that s/he can go on with the organization on a long term basis. Such guarantee of employment security however is based upon the understanding that whilst the organization will struggle to hold on to an employee as far as possible, the employee is also indebted to share in the responsibility and in response to this job assurance try to achieve a superior organizational performance on a consistent basis.
Taking the case of Barclays as an example, The high bonuses and incomes paid to the top executives are likely to have provided them with adequate financial resources for many years to come which in turn are likely to avoid them living the nightmarish fears about their job security in a recessionary business climate. It is the offspring employees who are made redundant in large numbers attributed to the recession and the crisis that has infected the financial services sector. Hence, it is these employees who need to be motivated to remain with the bank, through selective employment of the most gifted, proficient and competent employees and by offering them bonuses and financial shots in the arm. Alternatively, the other measures put forward by Pfeffer (1998), such as offering part time job or decreasing salaries and making bonuses and monetary incentives contingent upon performance could also be implemented. Where top level executives are concerned, items of employment contract such as the practice of offering bonus as a part of the must be done away with and strict contingency on performance should be required for the payment of such bonuses.
High commitment HRM practices seek to recruit employees with competence and of the best calibre in order to ensure high levels of motivation at the workplace which Boxall (1996, pp. 66-67) in his terms portray this as “capturing a stock of exceptional human talent”. Furthermore, the prudent way for its realization is through selective hiring and the use of sophisticated selection criteria. Some of these would comprise (a) providing a correct definition for the job criteria in order to evade unqualified and ill-equipped candidates applying for it (b) taking prior employment tests before hiring, to see whether the employee got what it takes in terms of performance potential and (c) the exploitation of polymetric tests and realistic job previews. (Marchington and Wilkinson, 2005, p.75). These are expected to be effective techniques for Barclays to follow on different levels because it is not only cost effective but also time friendly as it will save the time of the human resource personnel who would need to interview and select these employees.
It should be noted that imparting effective training, after the best employees have been hired, may also be necessary to extract the best performance out of them. The process of training, Boxall (1996, p.67) maintains, can help to synergise the competency of competitive skilled employees and provide the organization with an advantage in terms of “organisational process” and have contributing factor towards maintaining a competitive advantage in the global market. To a large extent, the financial crises that Barclays has suffered may have been mitigated if employees had been provided with adequate levels of training in approving mortgages and in the assessment of derivates and the risks associated with other financial instruments.
Allowing employees to share in information about the Company, its goals and operations, etc, produces a higher level of motivation in them. Sharing of information about company strategy and performance provides employees with the sense that they are trusted. Additionally, it also enables employees to use the knowledge residing within the firm to its fullest potential (Pfeffer, 1998).Thirdly, team working among employees is likely to be more successful if workers are provided a base of information on which to base their suggestions and make contributions to improve organizational performance and productivity.(Marchington and Wilkinson, 2005, p.77). This may also have relevance in the case of Barclays, because while the top management may have been aware of the internal crisis within the company, which resulted in substantial borrowings from the bank of England in 2007, attempts were made to disguise it as merely a technical problem (Stepek, 2007). Allowing employees greater access to information may also help to enhance the corporate governance within the firm and help to spotlight any financial anomalies that may occur.
However, care must be taken to implement these measures properly. For instance, the argument that providing employees with high levels of information about the Company is likely to enhance the value of their contributions has been contested on the basis that providing a cascade of information from management is unlikely to be helpful in eliciting worker contributions (Guest, 1997). Rather, since such a flow of information is primarily one way, i.e, from management to employees, and is selectively imparted, it may be viewed as a controlling measure by management that emasculates employees.(Marchington and Wilkinson, 2005:78). If information about the internal operations of the Company are imparted in this way, it is likely to be counter-productive in terms of achieving the desired goal of motivating employees. Employees are unlikely to feel empowered, unless the sourcing and transmission of information through the firm is managed in a manner that does not appear to be authoritarian.
Finally, presenting equal opportunity in the bureau by reducing status distinction and harmonizing member of staff’s status could help enhancing the employee motivation. Through minimizing of these differences, employees on the lower positions in the company hierarchy such as workers who do physical activities and office staff with lower grade level get the feeling of a valuable individual to the company as the employees in the higher positions (Marchington and Wilkinson, 2005). The purpose of such harmonisation is to break down the hierarchal obstacles and promote higher levels of team-working and networking among employees to enhance productivity.
Barclays Bank is likely to gain significant benefits by implementing such policies within the organization. There has been a wide disparity in pay between top level executives and employees in lower levels of the organizational hierarchy, which has largely relegated decision making into the province of these executives, who have been motivated by greed rather than the welfare of the Company. Creating a more egalitarian culture within Barclays bank would promote team work and networking among employees at all levels in the hierarchy and enhance communications, so that lower level employees also feel as valued and as informed about internal company operations as those placed higher up in the organizational hierarchy.
Harmonisation can also be achieved by allowing staff members to share uniformly in share allocation schemes, whereby they also gain some level of profit participation in the organization.
Pfeffer has argued that this allows employees to gain some measure of ownership in the Company which, if “effectively implemented, can align the interests of employees with those of shareholders, by making employees shareholders too.” (Pfeffer, 1998, p.38). This could contribute towards enhancing the motivation of employees to provide their best efforts in the firm’s interest and would also help to ensure better corporate governance which is especially relevant in the context of the banking industry.
Other Motivate Ideas
As a manager or supervisor, you are cabable of having an enormous effect on your company’s work environment. According to the basic principles of environmental psychology, the actual setting or work environment can have a dramatic impact on overall employee morale, enthusiasim for the job, and productivity. Managers and supervisors need to be aware of this and do what they can to enhance the work environment whenever and in whatever way possible. Managers must be willing to make time to alter the environment if and when necessary. And it’s easier to do than you may think. Contrary to popular belief, altering the work environment to envourage and support more positive and high-performing employees isn’t about spending a lot of money or having fancy digs. That’s not what makes people love where they work. Because none of that matters if the managers and supervisors who reside there do not genuinely care for and love their people. When I talk about altering the environment, I mean altering workplace behaviours and improving the way that leaders communicate with and treat their people. Love your people and they will love where they work. Managers caring about people at every level in the organization, treating them with respect and dignity, and caring about their families is often enough to create an atmosphere that nurtures joy, employee satisfaction, and higher employee morale (Bruce, 2003).
Employees want good jobs that keep their interests high and maximize their talents and abilities. They what jjobs that will help them to develop and fulfil their greatest potential. Line any thing else, jobs can get stagnant, so managers need to come up with inventive new ways to redesign jobs if they are to keep their stars and motivate them to perform at their personal best (Bruce, 2003).
Give people more responsibility, not just more work. Let employees take more responsibility for setting their own work schedules, coming up with their own work methods, deciding on standards of excellence, and then determining when they’ve achieved them. Give them the right to decide when to take breaks and even when to start and stop work. The objective here is to enrich their work with empowerment and authority. It’s not about handing off more tasks. Responsibility enriches jobs and builds employee morale (Bruce, 2003).
Encourage employees to get cozy with customers. Managers can’t be effective it they’re paranoid about workers getting too close to their customers. For employees who want to hone their interpersonal skills, increased customer contact will sharpen their ability to troubleshoot pro blems, solve customer complaints, develop solutions, and manage customer relationships-all great ways to establish closer customer ties and get valuable feedback for the company (Bruce, 2003).
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