Sample Research Paper on Motivation:
With such a rapid moving economy, a shortage of qualified workers, and plentiful business opportunities, the topic of motivating employees has become extremely important to the employer, as motivation has a great impact on the way employees perform in an organisation. If employees do not enjoy their work, it will affect the success of the organization’s goals. As an internal drive to satisfy unsatisfied needs, motivation can direct individuals’ behavior to satisfy those needs. Hence, the employer must understand what employees need and how to achieve those needs.
To be effective, the employer needs to understand what motivates employees within the context of the roles they perform. Different people are motivated by different factors because individuals differ in the level of their needs. Some employees may want more income but others may require a more interesting and challenging job. In today’s world, it seems that money has become less of a motivator. The employee’s request is more than just good wages. They now do require some benefit and flexibility to bring their work and personal life together. A good working relationship with colleagues, as well as the opportunity for growth is a must. It becomes the employer’s responsibility to involve employees in the business and let them know that the employer appreciates their ideas and suggestions.
Knowing what it takes to do what is right for employees can help a business succeed. Accordingly, motivating staff is part of an employer’s responsibility to attract and retain employees. The motivation process will help maximise the ability of human resource and develop sustainable management strategies for the organisation seeking success and longevity.
Terms of Reference
Over the past few years, society has had a great interest in studying motivation, business owner is the one who wants to know what motivates their employees to be successful, to reach higher, and value work well done. If employees do not enjoy their work, it will affect to succeed organization’s goals. Motivating employees and staff is one of the most common concerns of supervisors and managers. This report will examine the factors that influence motivating staff within the modern work organisation. In addition, this report contains facts, analysis of motivation, and some examples. Data and information in this report were investigated from all sources.
This report has been prepared by Miss Luxporn Boonprasoptanachot. It is limited main body 3000 words for module Managing People in semester 1/ 2002 and hand in before 4.30 pm in 20th November 2002.
As a result of the powerful force of technology, which is driving the world towards a converging commonality, we have seen various changes in the world’s economic expansion. One of the changes that brings the most challenge not only to the international firm but also the domestic one is the emergence of a global market. In order to be successful in the long term, managing people is one of the most crucial tools for a global business in today’s competitive world. Specifically, for an international organisation, human resource becomes a more and more important factor to reach its goal. The word ” Human Resource Management (HRM)” has been used widely and increasingly in recent decades as a vital approach to create a successful organisation, however, the more worldwide the firm, the greater the complexity of the international HR requirement.
Hence, in order to maximise the benefit from the performance of the employees, the employer must develop strategies to manage and improve their human resources so that they can perform their best. To create an effective strategy, the employer needs to understand that there are many factors that affect the employee’s behaviour within the organisation. One of the key factors that has an impact on the performance of an individual in the organisation is their motivation.
Thus, this report will focus on the motivation of the individual within a contemporary organisation. This report will enable the employer to answer why it is their responsibility to motivate the employees and explain how to improve and maximise the efficiency of their staff’s performance.
Even though many advances in technology have changed the workplace in recent years, humans still play a vital role in the operation of a business. Thus, it can be said that the human factor is crucial to business success. According to the Hawthorne Studies, employees are not just another input into the production of goods and services as they are not motivated solely by money, and employee behaviour is linked to their attitudes (Dickson, 1973). Accordingly, in order to improve the performance of the manufacturing business, there is a need to understand how to manage and empower people or employees.
In today’s world, managing people is also known as “Human Resource Management (HRM)” and refers to “the activities an organisation carries out to utilise its human resource effectively” (Blair, 2000). As an international company, the employer should understand that managing people to succeed in today’s highly competitive global environment is important. Oftentimes, the employer finds it difficult to balance all of the responsibilities of operating the business and taking care of its employees. In order to develop effective management strategies, the employer should understand organisational behaviour i.e. employees’ behaviour is a consequence of their attitude towards their work and that their needs and wants could control their behaviour. Thus, the employer should develop an approach to motivate employees to perform their best for the organisation, as motivation can manipulate the performance or behaviour of the individual. It can be said that motivating an individual in their work is one of the crucial functions of people management.
The definition of Motivation
Motivation refers to “the emotional forces, needs, wants, urges or drive within us that influence our behaviour” (http://www.Jasper-Associates.com), or ” something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act” (the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary: http://www.m-w.com/netdict.htm). Motivation is therefore providing a conscious or subconscious inducement that will influence an individual’s decisions and provide an incentive to produce a certain action or set of actions.
Motivation shows a person’s uniqueness and intention. This means different things and different people influence each individual in making choices about their actions. An individual’s motivation has many sides and is complex. Accordingly, each action of behaviour or performance required by the employee may involve various different motivating factors, not just one.
Before creating a programme to motivate staff, it is necessary to understand why the employer needs motivated employees in their organisation. The answer is survival (Smith, 1994). Motivated employees are needed in rapid changing workplaces. Motivated employees also help create a long-term successful business. Motivated employees are also far more productive than those without motivation.
Factors that influence the motivation of an individual
There are several factors for the employer to consider in the motivation of their workforce. However, In order to understand the factors that influence the motivation of the individual, there is a need to have an understanding of motivational theories. The purpose of this understanding is to try and predict behaviour at work and therefore performance and potential performance.
The employer should realise that each employee has different motivation according to the level of his or her wants and needs. The factors influencing the motivation can be described by using Maslow ‘s need-hierarchy theory. According to Maslow, employees have five levels of needs (Maslow, 1943) as follows:
· Physiological needs
Each person has a need from the moment of birth for basic sustenance such as food and drink. Physiological needs also include shelter, clothes, sex, medicine, and air. In order to satisfy their needs at this level, the employer should consider responding to the following factors to motivate their staff.
The fact cannot be denied that money is one factor that influences people’s way of life. Even though money becomes a less important factor to influence motivation of the individual to perform their best for the organisation, it still has an effect on the performance of the employees. As money can still satisfy peoples needs, such as buying basic necessities, a trip to Hawaii, or a nice house, the employer should consider money as one option to influence their staff to maximise their performance by offering regular pay rises, seasonal bonuses, or performance related bonuses. For example: As one of the top ten Poultry companies in the world, C.P. group offers seasonal bonuses as well as performance related bonuses every Chinese New Year for all employees. This varies between 10% – 20% of their salary according to their performance (http://www.manager.co.th). For the international company, the employer can sometimes offer the employees a salary on a tax-free basis.
- Temporary accommodation
In places like London or other big cities where employees can’t afford to live, or if the employees live very far from where they work, the employer should provide temporary accommodation or subsidy to help their workers to have a better life and place to live. For an international company, the employer can provide accommodation for employees working abroad. For example, MAERSK, a major international shipping company, provides accommodation for all employees who have to reside aboard (http://www.jasper-associates.com).
The company can provide company cars or company buses for the employees’ convenience. Most companies located in Bangkok provide company buses to pick up and drop off their employees from main roads throughout the city. For example, Thai Airways International provides buses from major roads in Bangkok to the office in the morning and provides buses back in the afternoon(http://www.thairath.co.th). The company also provides a shuttle bus between the airports and hotel accommodation for all staff while working aboard.
The above motivators are just a few examples of how the employer can response to their employees needs. However, these are not the only motivators that influence the individual to perform their best. As people have higher needs than just physiological needs, the employer should consider other factors that can fulfil the individual needs on a higher level.
· Security needs
Good pay or a nice house can provide a response to individual needs to some point, but there are more factors that can motivate people to work effectively. People need security and protection from physical and emotional harm. Accordingly, to motivate staff, the employer should support or provide some security that can help the employees feel safe.
This can be:
- Job security
The employer should provide a programme of development to promote the staff’s ability and confidence. This can also lead to potential career progression. Contracts of employment should have regular reviews and be of such a length to instil a feeling of security.
- Fringe Benefits
The employer should provide health insurance, life insurance, and pension plans for their employees. This is because it instils a sense of commitment and security on behalf of the employer and encourages staff loyalty.
· Affiliation/ Social needs
A human being can be described as a social animal that needs to be taken and accepted as part of the group in which they participate. In order to motivate the employees to perform their best in their job, the employer should create an atmosphere that lifts the morale of employees by considering the following factors.
- Sense of belonging
The employer should create a sense of belonging and responsibility. This means that if the employees believe the organisation is theirs, they will try their best to bring about its success. Encouraging the employees to become company shareholders on favourable terms is one method in which the employer can encourage the employees to identify more closely with the organisation’s aim and to be part of the organisation. This can also increase employees’ personal loyalty. For example, BP gives an opportunity for their employees to gain profit sharing in terms of share ownership. This gives the employees an enjoyable, stimulating and rewarding career with the opportunity to progress (http://www.manager.co.th).
- Trust and Acceptance
Trust and Acceptance are vital for human beings to be part of a group. The employer should realise that the more the employees believe that the employer trusts and believes in their ability, the better the result of their performances. Allowing them to take part in the decision-making is also a necessity. Involving employees in decision-making processes, giving employees the opportunity to share in decision-making, and letting employees be part of the planning and problem solving processes give them a personal interest in seeing the plan succeed, creating a clearer communication and better understanding of what role they must play as part of the team. For example, A Xerox customer service centre turned decisions about work schedules over to the employees. Employee work teams now control the scheduling, resulting in improved morale, better customer service, and a 30% percent reduction in the absenteeism rate. (http://www.bizjournals.com)
Appraisals should take place at regular intervals of 6 months or a maximum of one year. This is an assessment of the individual by themselves usually in association with their immediate manager or supervisor. The employee is asked to judge themselves in terms of their skills, motivation, punctuality etc. and encouraged to discuss ways in which they can improve. At the subsequent appraisal meeting, a reassessment would be made in order to monitor the progress of the individual.
It is important to provide an opportunity for the employees to be able to express their views or feelings about all aspects of their working life. This would normally be done in the same session as the appraisal meeting and is a chance for the employees to convey their thoughts about things that should be changed to make things better for themselves and the company and to discuss any problems they might have. Most employees do not look forward to appraisal meetings, but, if done properly, they usually come out feeling better about themselves and with increased motivation and resolution.
As the foundation for increased productivity, the employer needs to boost employee morale to make them feel that they are part of the team so that they will work harder to help reach the goal of their organisation.
· Self-Esteem needs
Self-esteem is the feeling a person has with regard to his/her self-competence and self-respect. Self-esteem increases employees’ confidence and allows them to respect their own responsibilities. If they have confidence they will give priority to their work and they will also respect themselves. If they respect themselves they can respect others, so building self-esteem can help the employees improve their relationships in the organisation as well as their personal and work performance. Building self-esteem is one key to improve individual happiness while working for the organisation. When people feel good about themselves, it’s easier for them to be motivated. This is because when they have high self-esteem, they’re not worried about what others are thinking of them. Self-esteem needs can be satisfied by
The employees need to feel that they have accomplished something and that their achievement has been noticed. The employer can respond to their needs by offering them promotion and praise either publicly or privately. For the international company, offering employees a position abroad is an option.
The employees need the employer to feel that they are useful and have abilities to do several tasks. To satisfy their needs, the employer can increase or add more responsibilities to the employees to increase their self-esteem. Allowing staff to gain qualifications at work can boost self-esteem, too. Moreover, giving them more challenging work as well as more interesting tasks will increase self-esteem. This is because interesting work actually engages the employees’ their attention while challenging work maintains their interest and provides a sense of personal achievement when the job is done.
- Value and Appreciation
Kiersy said that what motivates people is appreciation (Kiersy and Bates, 1978). A motivated employee is one that feels appreciated. Most employees will spend a lot of time after work and on weekends working for no pay, and often working a lot harder than they do at their job, to do something that will be appreciated. A problem of low morale can result if the employees do not feel appreciated. Thus, the employer must convince the employees that their skills and knowledge are valued as well as increase communication and participation of the employees in management decisions.
Also the self-esteem needs can be provided for by rewarding staff with status symbols like cars, offices and new job titles as this is also about how the employees see each other at work. At this stage the employees are working independently, competently, productively, and have a sense of pride in performing at a higher level.
· Self-Actualisation needs
This is the need for realising the individual’s own potential for continual self-development. It involves realising personal potential, achieving their full potential, self-fulfilment, and seeking personal growth and peak experiences. To satisfy employee needs, the employer should provide the following fulfilment.
The employer must ensure that promotion is possible and that there are opportunities to use initiative. According to Blair, there are two types of advancement: the long-term issues of promotion, salary rises, job prospect; and the short-term issue of increased responsibility, acquisition of new skills, and broader experience (Blair, 2000). While the employees will be looking for the former, the employer should provide the latter and convince them that these are necessary and sufficient steps for the eventual advancement they seek. According to Herzberg, increasing responsibility can be seen as an advancement which gives rise to a sense of achievement.
- Opportunities for growth and creativity
The employer should provide individuals the opportunities for training continuously throughout their working life so that they can develop new skills and ideas to improve or adapt to their work and to keep up with changing technology.
Motivation can be defined as a factor that determines the direction and force of an individual’s behaviour. For this report, motivation can be described as the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organisational goals. Accordingly, if the employer could understand and therefore predict the ways in which individuals are motivated, then the employer could use that knowledge and understanding to arouse their employees to perform their best for the organisation.
People are motivated by different factors. There are several factors that influence the motivation of the individual’s performance in the organisation. According to Maslow, needs are the key factors that stimulate motivation of the individual. To create an effective motivation strategy, there is a need to understand that today’s employees are not looking solely for huge financial rewards from their career. They are also looking for their jobs to provide their social fulfilment, security means, and sense of identity such as the friendships, family support, community, flexible work, challenging work, etc.
Accordingly, the motivators can be mainly divided into 2 categories:
a. Financial factors such as good wages, pay rises, and bonuses.
b. Non-financial factors such as a thank you letter, health insurance, working conditions including opportunity for growth and advancement.
The employer could influence their employees’ organisational behaviour by changing components in the work process to achieve the desired performance. For instance, the employer may not be able to give all employees more money but the employer could change other factors that would motivate their behaviour in a positive way.
As motivation is that certain something, which gives an individual the desire to perform activities in the workplace, it is important for the employer to understand and create the effective motivators to motivate their employees to maximise their ability towards their responsibilities. It is the employer’s responsibility to motivate their talent and valuable staff to perform effectively as it will help increased productivity and business success. Thus, it is crucial that the employer should know what they want from their employees in terms of goals for the organisation. To attain long-term success, the employer must ensure that, whatever strategies the employer uses to increase motivation, the employees are allowed to identify their own goals and that these goals are aligned with goals of the organisation.
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