MT140 Introduction to Management
RE: Employee Motivation
Previously there was a discussion on how to go about delegating the monumental task of creating a sick leave policy to go along with the explosive growth as a company. The task has been delegated, and goals set for the employees to meet. The final product of this team is to be a proposal for the V.P. to sign and issue an effective date for the policy. After some time, it has become clear that the employees tasked with creating the draft of the sick leave policy are not meeting the goals set out at the beginning of the project. Now it is time to find out possible reasons why, and what can be done to get the project back on track.
There are several reasons why the employees have not been meeting the goals as laid out in the project plan. These reasons fall into three main categories and are all tied to motivation. The first category is “he believes he can’t perform well enough to achieve the positive outcomes he knows the company provides to good performers” (Bateman, 2017). This means the employee(s) do not believe they have what it takes to produce a product worth of the expectations of the company and therefore, trying is not worth putting in the efforts. The second main category is “he knows he can do the job and is fairly certain what the ultimate outcomes will be (say, a promotion and a transfer [for doing a good job]). However, he doesn’t want those outcomes or believes other, negative outcomes outweigh the positive” (Bateman, 2017). Employees who fall into this category are confident they can do the job and will receive something that many people might want; yet these individuals believe that those good things have too many negative implications. These implications could be more responsibility, or less time with family, or more people to report to. The third category is “he knows he can do the job and wants several important outcomes. . . . But he believes that no matter how well he performs, the outcomes will not be forthcoming” (Bateman, 2017). These employees want to have highly positive outcomes for themselves, but in their mind, they do not believe their output (regardless of success) will not get them their desired rewards.
One theory that can be employed to motivate employees known as the Goal Setting Theory. This theory states that goals must have these things in order to be motivating: “clarity, challenge, commitment, feedback and complexity” (Fusion, 2019). In practice, a goal must be stated clearly for the employees offering them a challenge to show off their talents and skills so that their reward will be earned, rather than handed to them. To garner the commitment of the employees, they should feel as if they have been included in the goal-setting process. This ensures that they have skin in the game, and a vested interest in seeing the goal come to fruition. Feedback must be provided along the way, which gives the employees an opportunity to correct any course deviations or spur them on toward completing the goal on or before the agreed upon deadline. Having a goal that features several moving parts that need to come together as a finished product stretches the minds of the employees assigned the task so that at some point, the task plays to everyone’s strengths and does not feel like a robotic task.
Another theory of motivation is the Expectancy Theory. This is a theory that states people have a certain expectation about their performance. They have an expectation that their performance will lead to a certain outcome (positive or negative). The employees put a value on that outcome and put in the effort commensurate with that value to themselves. In order for this theory to work to the best extent of its abilities, the employees’ expectations that they can succeed, and will receive objectively valuable (in their opinion) rewards for achieving the goals, must be both be high. Personal recognition of their individual efforts when they do something well reinforces the expectations managers have for the employees’ output.
One specific way to motivate employees to offer incentives. Incentives are tangible and intangible inducements for employees to perform beyond their normal means. Incentives can be monetary in nature like a bonus if a project is completed early or under budget (if there is a monetary consideration to the project). Monetary gains can produce a healthy sense of urgency in the team, and a bump in their paycheck could be forthcoming. An employee can take that cash incentive and put it into savings, or spend it immediately on something that they desire, but cannot be provided by the company. Other incentives are accolades or other valuables, such as a promotion to a higher position in the company, or flexible work hours and telecommuting (if appropriate to the position). For an ambitious employee who is looking to climb the corporate ladder, the opportunity to advance and receive more training for a new position, creates a motivation to outperform their own best in furtherance of the goal (Scott, 2019).
Another way to motivate employees is empowering them to make some decisions about their job, and how they are doing it. This gives the employees a sense of ownership of the job they are doing. “Most employees have ideas about how they can be more efficient, but they may not share them with you unless you specifically ask them” (Jacoby, 2017). Empowerment must be done in a careful way that does not send mixed messages to the employees. If they are asked for ways to improve their own working conditions and more authority to accomplish their jobs, as reasonably as possible, these should be followed through with. A disempowered employee will have thoughts of being undervalued and disrespected because they are not listened to (Bateman, 2017).
Motivated employees are a gift to companies. The motivation of employees should be an important consideration for managers because of the benefits for the company. Employees with high motivation drive company growth and improvement, because they feel as if their contributions are meaningful to the company, their managers, and their peers. They are proactive about accomplishing the tasks set ahead for them and show a higher degree of productivity in achieving their goals (SMARP, 2019). This also leads to them getting the rewards they desire, like a carrot and stick.
In conclusion, in order to get the team back on track toward meeting the goals of creating the sick leave policy, a review of each employees’ impressions on the project itself is in order. Finding out if each member of the team wishes to work on the project, and if not, why not. Finding out what motivates each employee to perform well on the job; and how best to incentivize their hardest work. Playing to some of these motivations, within reason, will go far in going back in the direction of how get the team working again on the sick leave policy. For those employees who do not wish to be a part of the team, unless there is no one else with that skill set, should be removed from the team with no bias or withholding of praise for their capabilities, as disgruntled employees can be their own detriment to the motivation of a team and business.
Bateman, T., Snell, S., Konopaske, R. (2017, February). M: Management, 5th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from vbk://1260149749
Fusion, Jennn. (2019, February 12). Motivation & Goal Setting Theory. Small Business – Chron.com. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/motivation-goal-setting-theory-1187.html
Jacoby, Margaret. (2017, September 08). Top 5 Ways to Motivate Your Employees (It’s Easier Than You Think). Huffpost.com. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/top-5-ways-to-motivate-yo_b_5839504
Scott, Sherrie. (2019, February 05). Rewards and Incentives in the Workplace. Small Business – Chron.com. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/rewards-incentives-workplace-11236.html
SMARP. (2019, June 26). Top 15 Employee Motivation Tips and Benefits. Retrieved November 12, 2019, from https://blog.smarp.com/top-15-employee-motivation-tips-and-benefits.
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