Motivation

Motivation has a great affect on employee quality and quantity of work. It is a big part of management's job to achieve high employee motivation.

Some items which affect employee motivation and will also affect turnover include:

  • A feeling of self worth which includes:
    • Being a contributing member of a productive team.
    • The esteem in producing a quality product.
    • Belief that the organization cares about the employee and considers them valuable.
  • Being rewarded for desired behavior or punished for undesired behavior in a timely fashion.

Ways to achieve motivation

  • Training - Training does two things to help the employee achieve motivation.
    • They feel the company considers them valuable and trustworthy since they are investing in them.
    • They do not feel technologically stagnant and believe their career is progressing.
  • Career planning - Working with the employee to help determine how they want to plan their career and helping it happen so long as the employee goals can fit company goals. If the employee is forced to go a career direction they do not want to go, they will not be happy and will leave sooner or later.
  • Produce a product the employee is proud of (quality).
  • Be aware of the fact that the employee is human. They have lives outside the company. If their lives outside the company are stressed, their perfomance will decrease. Work with the employee and don't expect an amount of overtime that is disruptive in the long run to employee's lives. Remember the employee normally works there for the primary benefit of the family.
  • Show trust in employees. Visual supervision for many employees should be unnecessary. Of course this depends on the individual and the situation, but with experience and by seeing the product produced, management will learn who to trust.
  • Give authority with responsibility.
  • Be pre-occupied with being the best.
  • Provide for basic needs and provide required individual intrinsic satisfactions.

Ways to Lower Motivation

  • Micromanagement
  • Be vague about the employee individual role in the team and organization.
  • Allow employees to compete in an unfriendly manner.
  • Allow employees to criticize each other.

Intrinsic Satisfaction

Providing basic needs and intrinsic job satisfaction are very important to help motivate and keep employees. Intrinsic satisfaction can vary from person to person. Some individuals may be interested in being part of a dynamic team, power, esteem, autonomy, making a useful contribution, or any combination of factors. If an individual does not get intrinsic satisfaction on the job, they will seek it elsewhere, either at home or on some other job. If a job has few intrinsic satisfactions for employees, they will try to minimize time spent on the job. Recognizing what intrinsic statifactions are important to various individuals is important and can be difficult to do. However, as supervisors get to know their employees, they are more able to recognize these needs and make any required adjustments. This is another reason why communication is very important.

Motivational Theories

In the book "Organizational Behavior and the Practice of Management" (OBPM) by Hampton, Summer, and Webber, there are several motivational theries discussed. These include:

Theory Combination

I believe all these theories are legitimate and work well. Based on my experience the truth is a combination of these theories. When there is a real threat to basic needs (needs theory), whether direct or through physicological intimidation, a dissatisfier (Motivation/Hygiene theory) is triggered. For instance some factors that may trigger these dissatisfiers include:

The above factors are negative factors. When these exist, productivity is likely to be low or the employee will seek other employment. The following factors are satisfiers (Motivation/Hygiene theory) or can be considered to be high level needs (Needs theory) such as esteem and self-actualization:

When employees perform well, they will expect to be treated with respect and recognized for their hard work. While these expectations are met, most employees are happy and enjoy their jobs. If these expectations are not met (Expectancy theory), the factors will turn from positive factors to negative factors. This is why supervisors cannot be friends with their employees (unfortunate and sad, but true). If supervisors are friends with certain employees, it can be viewed as showing favoritism to a few even if that is not the case. This would break the expectation of hard work being fairly rewarded without bios. Therefore, those who are not favored would ask "Why should I work hard?, I won't be rewarded". Those favored may think "I don't have to work hard since I am favored." It would destroy teamwork and productivity.

Other Motivational Factors

Other motivational factors include the need for power or affiliation with other people. These needs vary from individual to individual. This is why it is important for the management staff to become acquainted with employees. The management must know how to react to individual needs dynamically.

Power vs Affiliation

Studies have shown that bosses that tend to be more concerned with affiliation than power have departments that perform poorer than those concerned with power. This is due to the fact that managers concerned with relationships with employees did not treat all employees equally. As mentioned in the above section, "If supervisors are friends with certain employees, it can be viewed as showing favoritism to a few even if that is not the case". Performance loss in the majority of these cases is due to the employee perception of unfairness and the broken link between rewards and hard work. Therefore, it is concluded that power managers that are concerned with organizational power rather than personal power are the best managers. This is due to the fact that employee loyality is directed to the good of the organization where both the employees and the manager get their power. Organizational power managers must have the confidence (of experience and self-sacrifice) to believe that acting for the good of the organization is more beneficial than acting for the good of themselves.

Therefore, in my experience, managers should be other centered rather than self centered. Other centered includes being concerned both for the organization and the workers. Therefore, the best managers are somewhere between a power manager and an affiliation manager. They should use power to motivate employees and strive for the good of the organization and workers. Therefore managers should be:

Performance Feedback

Rapid feedback is essential. It is counterproductive both for the employee and the organization to wait six months before communicating a performance problem to an employee.

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