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Management Challenge of Motivating Employees Essay Sample

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Management Challenge of Motivating Employees Essay Sample

One of the major challenges management faces is motivatingemployees to do their best at work. Successful organizations have motivatedand enthusiastic employees. In this paper I will summarize three articles I’ve found in Harvard Business Review and relate them to chapter 16 from our text on motivation. In this summary I will show the relationship between a motivated workforce and corporate performances. I will then apply the concepts from the articles and the text to management in a personal organizational setting. The first article was abouta new model of employee motivation. For centuries thinkers and behaviorists have studied whatmotivates human beings. Today knowledge of brain science, neuroscience, biology, and evolutionary psychology has allowed deeper studies. Lawrence (2007) and Nohria (2007) suggest people are guided by four emotional needs. The four drivers that underlay motivation are the drive to acquire, bond, comprehend, and defend. We are all driven to acquire physical goods, experiences, and social status. We tend to compare these physical goods and experiences with others. People drive to bond with other employees.

They feel motivated when they are proud to belong to an organization. The drive to comprehend leads to adesire to make a meaningful contribution. Employees are motivated by jobs designed to challenge them and enable them to learn. Fulfilling the desire to defend leads to feelings of security and confidence. People have a quest to promote justice and have clear goals and intentions (Groysber, Lee, & Nohria, 2007). The organization and individuals should strive to fulfill all four basic emotional drivers. The drive to acquire is satisfied by an organizations reward system. The most effective way to fulfill the drive to bond is to create a culture that promotes teamwork, collaboration, openness, and friendship. The drive to comprehend is best addressed by designing jobs that are meaningful, interesting, and challenging. Fair, trustworthy, and transparent processes for performance management and resource allocation help to meet peoples’ drive to defend. Companies can receive the best results in employee motivation by improving all four drivers a little rather than just improving one driver. Some drivers influence some motivational indicators more than others.

A study done at Aflac proved the effectiveness of fulfilling all four emotional drivers that motivated the workforce ,which lead to better corporate performances(Groysberg, Lee, & Nohria, 2007). . The secondarticle explains how to maximize your return on people. Since employees are a very important asset, which contributes to the success and survival of organizations, there needs to be a measurement for the bottom line contributions of investment in human capital management (HCM). Bassi (2007) and McMurrer (2007)have developed a system for assessing HCM, predicting organizational performance, and guiding organizations investments in people. They found a core set of HCM drivers that predict performances across a broad array of organizations and operations. The drivers are leadership practices, employee engagement, knowledge accessibility, workforce optimization, and organizational learning capacity. By using surveys to score the organization on the range of HCM practices across the five major categories it is possible to benchmark organizational HCM capabilities, identify strengths, and weaknesses and link improvements or backsliding in specific HCM practices with improvement or shortcomings in organizational performances.

A HCM sample survey can be found on pages 8 and 9. The following cases showthat their HCM methodology can be used to identify and manage process variations in HCM. In each case the HCM maturity score was directly linked to a range of performance outcomes. South Carolina’s Beaufort County School district students were not doing well on the state achievement tests. Bassi (2007) and McMurrer (2007) worked with the schools for four years to help them identify and manage the HCM practices that created the biggest impact onstudent achievement. Students, who attended school with high HCM maturity scores in key areas such as employee’s learning culture and work design, performed better. They found that the school district’s traditional emphasis on teaching to state standards had less to do with student performances than did the teachers’ overall work and learning culture, the schools’ ability to reinforce and retain talent, and other factors relating to human capital processes ( Bassi & McMurrer, 2007). Bassi (2007) and McMurrer (2007)also did a four year study at American Standard, a manufacturing business.

They found several specific HCM factors with high maturity scores were most closely associated with high sales performance, including executive and supervisory skills(both in the leadership practice category), information sharing(in the knowledge accessibility category), and innovation( in the learning capacity category). A similar study at American Standard revealed a strong relationship between HCM practices and accident rates. Plants with lower accident rates excelled in three areas: supervisory skills( in leadership practices category), information sharing( in the knowledge accessibility category), and supporting employee skill development ( in the learning capacity category) ( Bassi & McMurrer, 2007).

They did a final study that revealed the power of HCM to drive stock performances in a financial service. Assessing your own HCM, you need employee and management surveys that can be used to quantify HCM performances and measures of organizational performances. The measures of organizational performances can be financial like sales productivity, profit margins, or revenue per employee. They can also be nonfinancial like safety, customer satisfaction, loyalty, or employee retention. Findings should reveal the factors that significantly drive organizational performance as well as areas of weakness. The third article explains how a company can successfully create and communicate their “signature experience” which consists of their values and work environment toattract and keep motivated employees. By explicitly communicating what make your firm unique, you can dramatically improve employee engagement and performances. What truly makes good companies is their ability to attract and retain the right people- employees who are excited by what they’re doing and the environment they’re operating in (Erickson & Gratton, 2007).

A signature experience is visible, distinctive element of an organization’s overall employee experience. It serves as a constant symbol of the organization’s culture and values. When looking at companies with highly engaged employees they found varied approaches by talented management. The found organizationsexcel at expressing what makes them unique. They understand their current and future employees. They recognize that individuals work for different reasons and accomplish tasks in different ways. These companies hire people who easily, and enthusiastically fit in ,and thereby cultivate a more committed workforce. Studies conducted by Erikson (2007) and researchers Dychtwald and Morrison suggest that work plays six general roles, which correspond to six types of employees. Employee Type – The Role of Work Expressive Legacy – Work is about creating something with lasting value. Secure Progress – Work is about improving one’s lot in life and finding a predictable path.

Individual Expertise and Team Success – Work is about being a valuable part of a winning team. Risk and Reward – Work is one of multiple opportunities to live a life filed with change and excitement. Flexible Support – Work is a source of livelihood but not yet (or not currently) a priority. Low Obligation and Easy Income – Work is a source of immediate economic gain. They looked at Whole Food Market, who has been one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For for nine years in a row. Whole Food empowers the team concept and a profit sharing program. They convey the firms core values of collaboration and decentralization. The Container Store sends a message with their commitment to training to potential employees about what it takes to succeed at the company. The firms they studied had highly productive, engaged workforce. The firm acknowledged and addressed some general principles for creating, supporting, and preserving their unique employee experience.

JetBlueattracts registration employees who value flexible schedules more than an above average compensation. Registration employees work from home. The Harvard Business Review articles correspond with Draft (2008), chapter 16 on motivation. Draft (2008)describes the contemporary approach to employee motivation as being dominated by three types of theories – content, process, and reinforcement theories. Content theories stress the analysis of underlying human needs. It helps managers understand how people’s needs can be satisfied at the workplace. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, Clayton Alderfer’s ERG theory, and David McClelland’s acquired needs theory correlates with the new model in the first Harvard Business Review article, Employee Motivation-A Powerful New Model. The needs drive our motivation. Levers are used by organizations to meet those needs. The second type of theories under the contemporary approach, described in the book isprocess theories, which explain how people select behavioral actions to meet their needs and determine whether their choices were successful.

The two basic process theories are equity and expectancy theories. Equity theory focuses on individual perceptions of how fairly they are compared with others. If employees perceive their compensation as equal to what others receive for familiar contributions, they will believe that their treatment is fair. This tiesto the idea of the reward system to the driver of acquire. The authors Groysberg (2007), Lee (2007), and Nohria (2007) said the reward system should sharply differentiate good performers from average and poor performers, link rewards clearly to performance, and pay as well as your competitors. If a good reward system is in place a state of equity for the employees should exist. The expectancy theory can be seen in the reward system and culture of the organization. The rewards system and culture can reward and value employees for their strong effort and performances to the employees’ desired outcome. The third theory the chapter describes is thereinforcement theory which focuses on changing employee’s on-the-job behavior through appropriate use of immediate rewards and punishment.

The first Harvard Business Review article mentions reward systems should be tied clearly to performance and performance-management should emphasize company’s fairness and build employee trust by being just and transparent in granting rewards, assignments, and other forms of recognition. Chapter 16 mentions job design as an application of motivation for improving productivity and satisfaction. Draft (2008) and Groysberg, Lee,& Nohria (2007) emphasize that an organization should design jobs that are meaningful and foster a sense of contribution to the organization. Our book gives an example to evaluate how a manager or a company is doing in engaging employees by meeting high-level needs. The questions developed by Gallup researchers arecalled the Q12. Organizations with the majority of employees gave high marks tend to have less turnover, are more productive and profitable, and enjoy employee loyalty. On page 10 is a sample Q12. This test is similar to the HCM test which helps management realize strong and weak areas. These theories and tools on motivation can be very helpful in the success and improvement of an organization.

Managers should be familiar with the different theories of motivation and understand that individuals are different. In the past I have worked for an organization that applied some of these theories and tools. The company had a reward system that paid a little better than the competitors. The company participated in profit sharing with employees and rewards were given for ideas they decided to use. The company’s culture valued our input, they were always interested in ideas for saving money. We were broken down into teams of about 15 people in our area. We were given a half hour every week to meetto discuss issues about safety, changes happening, and current production. We got a chance to voice our options and request items to improve our jobs. The team members were allowed to rotate jobs every hour if you wanted too. This helped reduce boredom and fatigue. We were rewarded in pay as we learned more jobs. My workplace supported continuous education and learning by offering each employee aneducation allowance per year.

We did take HCM surveys but I never did hear about the results. We had a workout room for employees and volunteer organizations you could join. A nearby 24 hour child care was offered for a payment that could be deducted from your pay. This company worked at satisfying their employee needs, which motivated us to perform better. At my present job at Complete Petmart we try to satisfy needs with a good reward system and a competitive payrate. Our company culture is caring, friendly, open to ideas, and we work as a team. Everyone’s job is important because we all have direct contact with the customers. We strive for outstanding customer service. We should do a HCM or Q12 survey to find areas of weakness and where we can improve.

I believe the learning capacity is an area we need to focus on. The more knowledgeable we can be about our products, the better we can inform and help customers. In conclusion,management has the tools and information to help them understand how to hire and keep motivated employees who will help the company succeed. Human capital is an important asset. In today’s global economy a company’s path to profitability is to base their competitive strategy on exceptional human capital management. Before superior technology and access to capital were to our advantage but now they are available in other countries. Human capital management is a challenge for managers with results that correlate motivated employees with companies’ performances.

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