Employee Motivation Strategies for Productivity

Abstract

Organizations need to maintain a healthy working environment to motivate workers. This report seeks to analyze critically the monetary and non-monetary factors that motivate employees. To achieve this, the report uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Herzberg’s two-factor theory to study the impact of motivation on employee’s productivity. It also identifies the rationale of motivating workers by using Aristotle’s seven cause factors. This report identifies the problem statement, participant, and methodology used to reach its conclusion. It concluded that there should be proper communication between managers and employees to maintain a motivated workforce. However, the recommendation is based on an abstract perspective because there was no data for qualitative analysis.

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Participant

The participants in this study are the study items where the study data would be obtained. The sample size of the participant will be obtained through a sampling technique known as convenient sampling. This involves selecting the best organization and assigning random numbers to the whole population.

Problem statement

The main challenge when motivating workers is to identify the best strategy that will motivate all employees to increase organizational productivity.

Methods and procedures

Since the data collected is qualitative, it was prudent to use quantitative aggregate for analyses. The procedure was designed in terms of questionnaires that were formulated to ensure they capture all relevant data required in the analysis.

Introduction

In today’s dynamic workforce, managers need to understand the factors that inspire their workforce. It is imperative to understand what motivates employees since they are the most valuable assets of a company. Many managers do not understand what truly motivates their workforce. To inspire people, there are specific factors that have to be met, specifically for workers to be motivated while in the workplace. Motivating workers to require more than just the “old-ways of gift” or money.

Today, managers have to meet both psychological and monetary factors to maintain a motivated workforce. This paper seeks to analyze critically the different factors that motivate workers in the workplace. To achieve this, this paper will examine various theories and data collected to establish factors that motivate employees. According to Lloyd (2015), the best way to motivate workers is through effective communication (p. 9). Communication is imperative because it can be your best friend or worst enemy in the workplace. Employees consider communication as a tool through which management pass policies and meet their need.

They are several works of literature and theories that try to explain the factors that motivate workers. For instance, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Aristotle’s seven causes, and Herzberg’s two-factor theory. These theories argue that employees are at different stages in their life that must be matched with specific motivating needs. Although a company does not have to fulfill individually all the needs, they are factors that have to be met. Employees are motivated by many factors. However, this report will focus on financial and non-financial factors.

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Literature review and definition of terms

Employee motivation is a well-studied field that can be analyzed from different academic disciplines such as psychology, education economic and political science. In this literature, we shall define motivation as “factors that cause people to behave as they do” (Barsade & O’Neill, 2016). However, this definition has a deeper meaning than what can be extracted from the face of it. Although different scholars have different understand and approaches on what motivate workers, there tends to be a consensus on the definition of the term motivation. For instance, Luo, Kanuri, and Andrews (2014) defined motivation as factors that express, initiate and direct people to be persistent in a behavior (p. 502). Pagett (2015, p. 18) noted that motivation can simply be defined as goal-directed (it outline how workers achieve and pursue their goals).

Since it is difficult to define what constitutes motivation, a deeper analysis can help in identifying what motivation is not. For instance, Nobuo (2015) noted that motivation is not directly controllable, satisfied, or observable (p.272). Motivation is a psychological state that causes people to behave the way they do to accomplish their goals and that of the organization. Pokorny (2013) argued that it is only possible to observe the external manifestation, but not motivation itself. Motivation differs significantly from satisfaction. Satisfaction is more of past-oriented, whereas motivation is future-oriented (Langan, Lonsdale, Blake & Toner, 2015, p. 298). Therefore, to motivate employees, a company has to communicate effectively with employees.

When a manager communicates to employees, they can be able to identify a problem at an early stage before it affects normal business operations. Therefore, managers need to encourage and foster continuous communication with employees because it is likely to keep them motivated. Managers should also appreciate employees for work well done. Being recognized shows an employee that managers care about the hard work that encourages them to improve and give the best. However, they should avoid empty praises because they can demoralize workers.

Motivation can occur unconsciously. This notion is central to Sigmund Freud’s human behavior theory that argues that motivation is a result of repressed impulses, desires, and memories that direct human behavior (Chung, 2015, p. 55). This is based on Freudian slip theory that argues that when a person accidentally slips a word, it betrays his real intentions. However, although many works of literature have identified factors that motivate workers, different people are motivated by various factors.

Problem statement

Employees exhibit diverse behavioral tendencies that make the entire paradigm of employee motivation very complex. In simpler terms, a motivation strategy that works for a certain individual may be ineffective to another person due to external factors such as different cultural orientations, previous value systems, and individual-based factors. However, it does not mean there are no factors that motivate workers. Motivation strategies do not affect all workers in the same way.

There are extrinsic and intrinsic factors that have been known to motivate employees, but each organization needs to survey to establish what would motivate workers in the organization effectively. If employees are not motivated, production and quality measures might be negatively affected. Moreover, it has been established that employees who are not motivated are more likely to lose focus. Given that there are numerous ways to motivate employees, the main question is what are the best practices that motivate workers?

Objectives of the study

  • To determine practices that motivate employees.
  • To identify those factors that have the greatest impact on employee motivation.
  • To determine key motivators, that enhances employee productivity.

Purpose of the Study

This study helps to identify factors that employee perceives to be the most effective motivating factors in the workplace. Furthermore, it identifies practices that are best suited to achieve the goals of a company. The recommendations are appropriate for ensuring that the organization pursues the most effective motivation practices to enhance productivity and quality measures. This will be achieved by focusing on employee satisfaction data.

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Research design

This framework gives the report a logical and coherent flow. In particular, this tool encompasses, among other elements, research questions, statement of the hypothesis, variable definition, as well as data collection techniques (Nobuo, 2015, p. 273). Employee motivation is a complex framework and given that each employee is oriented to individual motivational factors, the data collected shall be qualitative. The qualitative data will be coded to achieve quantitative properties. Therefore, this report shall rely on the following variable to assess the quality of the recommendations;

  • Payment- higher salaries can be used to motivate employees. This notion is supported by Chen and Bozeman (2013).
  • Job security – employees that are assured of job security can focus more on tasks than those who feel insecure (Chen & Bozeman, 2013, p. 596).
  • Promotions- practices such as career advancement as well as internal promotions have been known to induce a positive attitude in employees (Körhasan, 2015, p. 1090).
  • Training- this is a tool that enables employees to achieve their goals. This training allows people to perform their duties better.
  • Friendly environment- a friendly environment has a positive impact on employee loyalty thus enabling them to carry out their duties better.

Methods and problem statement interaction

The data collected is qualitative. Therefore, it is prudent to code it into quantitative upon which quantitative design techniques are applied. It is easier to analyze and interpreted quantitative aggregates. This is the reason the quantitative research design was preferred to address the problem statement.

Participants

Participants are the study items through which study data would be obtained. The sample will be obtained through a sampling technique known as convenient sampling. Convenient sampling involves going to a specific organization to assign random numbers to the whole population and to get the final sample. Therefore, the participants are the workers of organization X, which is hypothetical, who have been working in the organization and meets the basic criteria; they must have worked in the organization for more than six months.

Apparatus

This exercise shall rely on two pieces of apparatus; questionnaire and the analytical software SPSS. The questionnaire, which is the electronic-based, shall be employed in the sample size selected earlier. Employees will be expected to respond to questions that directly affect their motivation while in the organization. The Software Package for Social Science (SPSS) is the data analysis tool where all the output; figures, charts, and graphs will be interpreted.

Procedure

The exercise was as follows;

The structured questionnaire was designed and formulated to include all items that would capture all aspects of the data. The organization’s research office assisted in finalizing the questionnaires to ensure that they followed all guidelines.

The next face was the sample selection criteria. Since the population was known, the best sampling technique that would be effective is a convenient technique. The team obtained all employees’ contact details from the HRM office, and e-mails were sent out to all those who had been working with the organization for more than six years. We got a successful response rate of 75%, which translated to 145 willing participants. However, we only needed a sample size of 130 employees due to time and resource limitations. To achieve this, random numbers were assigned to the participants. By doing so, it helped to lower potential bias. The questionnaires were sent to the sample population via the e-mail addresses that required them to respond within 7 days.

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Data analysis

The filled questionnaires were returned with the stated timeframe and the data was coded into SPSS. Descriptive and inferential techniques were applied to the data, where graphs, tables, and the regression model were presented. Some of the descriptive statistics used include standard deviations, means, and frequencies for each of the factors analyzed. This assisted us to know the nature of the data. The output was analyzed and interpreted to be in line with the problem statement and the final objective.

All the variables earlier highlighted are presented in a multivariate regression equation to determine which has the largest effect on the dependent variable: ‘motivation’.

The model output shall be as follows;

  • Y = β0 + β1x1+ β2x2 + β3x3+ β4x4+ β5x5+ e

Contextually, the model is as follows

  • Motivation = β0 + “Payment” + β1 “Job security” + β2 “Promotions”+ β3 “Training” + β5 “Friendly environment”

The ‘Beta’ notes labels as (β0, β1, β2, β3, β4x4, β5x5) shall be included in the ANOVA table. The adequacy of the model shall be tested using the individual Beta’ notes, to evaluate if it has any statistical significance. Stepwise regression analysis shall be used to assess which among the predictor variables have the largest impact on employee motivation.

Measures

A regression model has three parts, the dependent variables, the independent variables, and the error term. Employee motivation has been taken as the dependent variable because it is affected by other factors. It relies on other factors for its realization. The factor “Payment”, “Job security”, Promotions”, Training”, Friendly environment” has been taken as the independent variable because motivation does not depend on them.

Validity

Validity is defined as the extent to which a measure does what it is intended to do (Ciorba & Russell, 2014, p. 286). The validity of this data was difficult to determine because the data that was collected was coded to assume quantitative data, thus, the fundamental properties of the data may have been lost. The feeling, opinions, likes, dislikes are difficult to quantify numerically, and thus changing the properties of the data may necessitate an aspect of bias.

Reliability

Reliability is described as the consistency, stability, as well as dependability of the data, as conceptualized in the analysis (Matta & Conlon, 2015, p. 1702). Essentially, a reliable data set exhibits reliability and consistency. This was achieved by conducting the analysis and data collection twice.

Ethical consideration

The data analysis was treated according to APA guidelines to ensure that the ethical and legal issues were met adequately. The following steps were used to provide both legal and ethical issues;

  1. The company had to ensure it has an HR department that is responsible for reviewing and monitoring employees to determine what motivated them.
  2. A survey was conducted where employees were required to state what motivates them in the workplace. This information was used to ensure all ethical issues were observed.
  3. The organization ensured it has complied with rules regarding minimum wage and fair remuneration for all.

Recommendation

Maintaining a motivated workforce is imperative because it enables organizations to achieve a competitive advantage. Employees are the most crucial asset of a company because they play an active role in ensuring a company has achieved its goals. To motivate an employee, it is recommended that organizations should consider both monetary and nonmonetary factors. According to Herzberg, what motivates workers is distinct from what causes dissatisfaction.

Thus, organizations must be able to identify factors that motivate employees. For instance, companies must ensure hygiene factors are properly taken care of because they contribute to employee dissatisfaction. Moreover, they must be able to provide intrinsic factors to motivate employees. For example, job enrichment is critical to ensure a workforce remains motivated. Managers should also ensure the jobs are challenging to utilize fully the workforce. This will encourage employees to be more responsible and remain motivated (Shultz, 2014, p. 14).

Those workers who demonstrate an increased level of responsibility should be given more responsibility. It is also recommended that managers should automate jobs that cannot be designed to use workers’ full capability. This argument converges with Herzberg’s argument that if employees cannot be utilized to full capacity, then they will be motivation problems. Companies can achieve a competitive advantage when they motivate their employees.

Motivational leadership issues can be addressed by ensuring that communication is open because it encourages workers to do their best. Employees consider communication as a tool through which management motivates them to perform better. Therefore, companies must ensure they have maintained an open communication channel to motivate workers. When a manager communicates effectively to employees, they can be able to identify problems at an early stage before they affect normal business operations. Managers need to encourage and foster continuous communication with employees because it is likely to keep them motivated.

Managers must also keep their doors open because workers may frequently need assurance. Managers should give employee assurance and be honest with them. They should avoid empty promise that is likely to demotivate workers. Cerasoli and Ford (2014) argued that praising and recognizing workers for their hard work can motivate them (p. 282).

Although managers might ignore recognizing workers for impressive performance, it has a psychological aspect of keeping employees motivated. Being appreciated shows an employee that managers care about their hard work which encourages them to improve and give their best. However, they should avoid empty praises because they can demoralize workers. Managers can organize recognition events to honor good performance which can be a luncheon or a company picnic. The impact of a simple recognition event to honor good performance is likely to motivate workers to achieve organizational goals.

Conclusion

Motivating workers require more than just monetary factors. Today, managers have to meet both psychological and financial factors to keep a motivated workforce. Employees consider communication as a tool through which management pass policies and meet their motivational need. They are several literature and theories that try to explain the factor that motivates needs. The major problem is for managers to identify the extrinsic, and intrinsic factors that will motivate the employee.

Moreover, each organization needs to conduct surveys to establish what will motivate workers in their organizations. If employees are not motivated, production and quality measures will be affected which is likely to lower productivity. Therefore, managers must ensure they include both intrinsic and extrinsic factors to motivate workers. It is recommended that managers should recognize employees for hard work to motivate them. However, although this report reached this conclusion, there was no data set provided for qualitative analysis. Consequently, the recommendation is based on an abstract perspective.

References

Barsade, S., & O’Neill, O. A. (2016). Manage your emotional culture. (cover story). Harvard Business Review, 94(1), 58-66.

Cerasoli, C. P., & Ford, M. T. (2014). Intrinsic Motivation, Performance, and the Mediating Role of Mastery Goal Orientation: A Test of Self-Determination Theory. Journal Of Psychology, 148(3), 267-286.

Chen, C., & Bozeman, B. (2013). Understanding Public and Nonprofit Managers’ Motivation Through the Lens of Self-Determination Theory. Public Management Review, 15(4), 584-607.

Chung, D. J. (2015). How to Really Motivate Salespeople. Harvard Business Review, 93(4), 54-61.

Ciorba, C. R., & Russell, B. E. (2014). A Proposed Model of Jazz Theory Knowledge Acquisition. Journal Of Research In Music Education, 62(3), 291-301.

Körhasan, N. D. (2015). The Place of Learning Quantum Theory in Physics Teacher Education: Motivational Elements Arising From the Context. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 15(4), 1087-1101.

Langan, E., Lonsdale, C., Blake, C., & Toner, J. (2015). Testing the Effects of a Self-Determination Theory-Based Intervention with Youth Gaelic Football Coaches on Athlete Motivation and Burnout. Sport Psychologist, 29(4), 293-301.

Lloyd, J. (2015). Motivate by Showing How Individuals and Teams Are Doing. Receivables Report For America’s Health Care Financial Managers, 30(11), 9-10.

Luo, X., Kanuri, V. K., & Andrews, M. (2014). How does CEO tenure matter? The mediating role of firm-employee and firm-customer relationships. Strategic Management Journal, 35(4), 492-511.

Matta, F. K., & Conlon, D. E. (2015). Does seeing “eye to eye” affect work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior? a role theory perspective on lmx agreement. Academy Of Management Journal, 58(6), 1686-1708.

Nobuo, T. (2015). Japanese Work Ethic and Culture: A New Paradigm of Intrinsic Motivation. Annals Of Business Administrative Science, 14(5), 261-278.

Pagett, R. (2015). How to motivate your team. Manager: British Journal Of Administrative Management, 4(3), 18-19.

Pokorny, M. (2013). Getting to Know Your Employees and What Motivates Them. Employment Relations Today (Wiley), 39(4), 45-52.

Shultz, T. (2014). Evaluating Moral Issues in Motivation Theories: Lessons from Marketing and Advertising Practices. Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal, 26(1), 1-20.

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