Thursday, December 29, 2011

“Motivation is internally generated; it can’t be forced upon someone.” Discuss this notion, describing some specific human resource management techniques to support your views.

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Provisionally I agree with this view that motivation is internally generated, not forced, as each different person has different drives in their heads, and if one man does not want to work he will not, or at least not well. Many outside factors can affect this though, influencing motivational drive, which causes a reasonable argument for both sides of the question. In this essay I will attempt to outline all the most important arguments flying both ways to come to a rounded conclusion.

Armstrong described personal motivation in 1, saying that ‘a well motivated person is someone with clearly defined goals who takes action which he or she expects will achieve these goals’. This would be the most textbook description of motivation, as there are different motivational goals to be achieved by every separate person and different factors that motivate them in the first place, this is where the theories come into play. Motivation can though be split into two obvious categories, the first being extrinsic, which means the externally driven factors that affect peoples motivation, covering such things as reward structures, threats of punishment or pay and promotions; the second category is intrinsic, or the internal, more personal factors like the feeling of true achievement to a job well done and pleasure in the end product, this category is the one that defines any one persons real motivation inside.

I am now going to look at what motivational aspects are there and available for which management teams can motivate their staff with, including straight from the induction process, communication, rewards, training and development programmes, appraisals, teamwork, all things that help the management recruit the right person for the right job.

The first of these that is encountered in any job is the induction process; this defines how welcome they feel from the offset. A good induction process will ease the preliminary stages of settling into a job when the person might be finding everything strange and unfamiliar; it will also make the person seem welcomed, reflecting a good atmosphere from the company, which will in turn make the new employee keen to stay and work hard there; the process also aims to fit the new employee into their new job as soon as possible to start producing results, so all training and explanations must be given. This process is very laborious and time consuming but is definitely worth it in the long run for the work gained from the employee, the first week of it would be incredibly dedicated to achieving the ultimate goals, with the first day the most exhausting. The process must include where and when to arrive; the terms and conditions of employment; where they are going to work and who with, with full introductions; the management and supervisors techniques; details of salaries and other financial factors like travel and pension schemes; holiday entitlement and rules of illness; where the basic amenities can be found like the toilets, cloakrooms and canteens; the jobs hours and break times; job descriptions and standards and how it fits into the companies goals; health and safety rules and first aid facilities; the company rules and potential disciplinary action; any training potentially needed and available; promotion opportunities; and the organisations main vision.

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The next motivational tool for management is communication. There are many different types of communication including talking to people, in groups or face-to-face, through written information, like memos or letters, or electronic communication like e-mails. All these have good and bad points, and better and worse ways of deploying them. Talking is the most hands on way of information transfer, but it should be used in a way where the sender and receiver are making sure they both understand the information conveyed, for instance rather than giving one big block of information which may not be understood properly, questions should be asked throughout conversation to ensure people know exactly what to do. This rule applies for face-to-face communication and meetings, which are much more planned briefings and where questions must be accepted throughout. Written communication has clogged up offices for years and is often not needed, as it could be replaced by a phone call, which usually gets a follow up memo anyway; computers and e-mail was also meant to replace paperwork, but paperwork proves useful for proof of communication, particularly in situations of complaint. Electronic communication is becoming more of a thing nowadays with the use of e-mail, but starts with telephone communication, which is the first form of contact for many clients and customers.

Another factor used in motivation is rewards, and reward systems. These can range from financial rewards to indirect and non-financial rewards. Payment is not the best motivational tool, but using payment reward schemes can increase the value of payment in job satisfaction. This can be achieved through bonuses, pay raises, overtime pay, commission pay for profit or performance or a profit-sharing scheme. There is a much larger range of non-financial rewards, from sickness pay, travel pay, private health treatment, company cars, subsidised meals, and pension and insurance help. These are seen at different levels of importance by different ranks of employee, as it depends on many personal circumstances, like financial situations, how they see their job and how long it will last. The manager should therefore analyse carefully which rewards should be given to what kind of staff, though often it is not his decision in the provision of awards.

The next method to increase motivation is the offer and availability of training and development programmes. These should either be supplied internally by the company or subsidised by the company for an employee to visit an external training department for a day or so. It is up to both the company and the employee to make this work as the company have to supply good and suitable training and the employee must use the opportunity to the full to gain the needed skills. These programmes include induction, coaching, mentoring, delegating, job rotation and job shadowing, and they are fulfilled through seminars, workshops, videos, case studies and role-play, external courses and the acquirement of qualifications to complement the job at hand.

Another means of giving motivation through feedback of good performance is through appraisal systems. There are many different methods of appraisal, the main being the one-to-one appraisal. Other common methods are ‘self-appraisal’ where individuals assess their own performance and compare it to their previous targets; there is also ‘peer appraisal’ where comments are collected from colleagues, but this is unpopular because it can disrupt working relationships; the third is ‘upward appraisal’, where the employees subordinates complete a questionnaire which are compiled together into a report, this though could seem to undermine the superior and may also be half hearted as the subordinates would not want to be found out if they make a harsh comment. These are either annual or every six months as it takes up a lot of the manager’s valuable time. They are designed to praise, identify and examine an individual’s present level of performance that defines any rewards, to give a chance to give and receive feedback, and any training and development they might need to advance their career; also to re-classify the ultimate goals of the company and the new targets that should be set for the employee. The most crucial role of appraisals is to improve working relationships and communication within the company, especially between the senior management team and the regular office worker. A good appraisal system should work by stating the organisations business plans and translates this into high-level objectives, which is split into departmental objectives, which is then broken down into individual objectives and task definition. This motivates the individual in question because they can hear in words from their employer why they are so valuable to the company and it supplies satisfaction to the employee through the knowledge that they do a good job.

One important key to the overall motivation of companies is teamwork, which stems from individual motivation combining as a collective. All companies work in teams, which develop good and close working relationships, and it emphasises the virtues of cooperation and the need to make use of the differing strengths of separate employees. All the different tiers of employment in a company and even the whole organisation can be referred to as a team and it is a proven fact that companies that reorganise their workforce into teams claim to improve morale, job satisfaction, productivity and quality, which in turn increases competitiveness. Being put into teams satisfies most of the main principles of a good job design, which leads to higher job satisfaction. The criteria of which is a larger variety of tasks, fulfilled at an unfixed pace; the feeling of greater contribution to the bigger whole; the feeling of responsibility for each other and constant interaction between each other; and also the opportunity for each team member to help others out to balance the workload.

My next topic within this essay is with the theorists of motivational factors in the workplace, including Maslow and Hertzberg, who had conflicting ideologies concerning the root of motivation. There are many motivational methods, stemming theories, two approaches of which are content and process, so respectively Maslow said that motivation is needs related, and Hertzberg that people are motivated by both motivators and hygiene factors equally.

The most famous theorist of the content approach is from Abraham Maslow. He identified five different levels of needs, forming a hierarchy in order of importance and complicatedness. For this system to motivate the individual, you must move up one level at a time, as it is the need for the next level that is the motivator, not the already acquired previous level. The first level is that of physiological needs, which are the most basic needs we require to live, for instance food, water, warmth and comfort. A company satisfies these obvious needs by method of payment. The second level is that of safety needs, which include security and stability, so that the subject feels safe from harms way; these are satisfied by the benefits offered by the organisation to the employee. The third level is social needs; this means the desire to be part of a close-knit group of colleagues and friends, which achieves a sense of belonging; these needs can be achieved by collaborating in fun activities, for instance sporting and other social activities, like parties and dinners. A supervisor can help these needs by practicing a real care and concern for his group of employees individually. The fourth level is esteem needs, which are the desires of respect, from self-respect to respect from others around you. This is initially achieved by the company by appointing the right person for the right job from the start, so that their skills are put to the best use with the best results, prompting recognition from other employees, this can be built on by the supervisor showing appreciation through praise to the employee. The fifth and highest level of the hierarchy of needs is self-actualisation needs, which means true self-fulfilment and the realisation and practice of ones full potential. The supervisor can test this by setting tasks to challenge the individuals mind and stretch their current state of knowledge and training.

There are another couple of theorists with the content approach, which I will now briefly outline. The first is ‘Alderfer’s ERG’ model. The main transgression from Maslow’s is that he implements a frustration- regression process, which means if one level is too tricky to reach then they must regress to the previous to move up. The ERG part stands for existence, relatedness and growth, which are shortened versions of Maslow’s theory. Existence means basic needs to live and for well being like food and water; relatedness is for the need of relationships and friendships within the working environment; and growth stands for the desire to be productive and creative. Another model is ‘McClelland’s Learned Needs’, which splits motivational needs people have into achievement, power and affiliation. Achievement motivated people are motivated by the need to achieve their specific targets and goals to the full. Power motivated people use every opportunity in work to dominate or eclipse others they work with, citing the influence they give as a motivator. Affiliation motivated individuals crave for social security in work and see relationships as a greater importance to work related achievement, so prefer working in teams and may not achieve as well.

The next style of approach to motivation is the process theory. The main theorist for this type is Frederik Hertzberg, and is called the process theory because he sees motivation as a two-step process, first hygiene and then motivators, which are examined in dissatisfaction and satisfaction respectively. The extrinsic hygiene factors refer to things that do not motivate employees but could prevent it and cause dissatisfaction in the job. Hygiene factors include pay, status, job security, working conditions, company policies, peer relations and supervision. If any of these are missing or poor it is likely to cause dissatisfaction somewhere; these factors are the ones that correspond to Maslow’s lower tier aims. The motivators, which are intrinsic, are the aspects that generate true satisfaction. These are variables that transform a job from being average to good. Once the hygiene factors have been fulfilled, these then come into play. They include achievement, recognition, advancement, responsibility, the actual work and growth possibilities. These are referred to as motivators because they involve the actual job content, and in turn affect it so meaning that these will actively motivate the individual, prompting substantial improvements in work performance and correspond to Maslow’s higher level needs of self-actualisation and creativeness.

In conclusion, we can verify that motivation is a very tricky aspect of the working world to define, as it differs with every different living individual, as the title of this essay suggests, it ‘cannot be forced on someone’. We have looked at many different techniques that can be used to help motivate an employee, and also the models that the success of motivation should be rated on, but in the end motivation is just the set of procedures that moves an individual toward an eventual target, through personal differences, job characteristics and organisational practices, or rules. At the end of the day though motivation is definitely ‘internally generated’ as everyone feels different feelings of accomplishment within a job; while one employee may be exceptionally dutiful they will feel very satisfied with a job well done, another may not respond so well to any job and will not be so internally invigorated for it, so therefore will find it more laborious and time consuming to them, not filling their potential. This is the one thing that we have to take into account when assessing personnel using the models outlined above, as they must diverge for every separate employee.

People Management- R Thompson (Orion, London, 18)

Understanding Motivation- J Adair (Talbot Adair, Guilford, 10)

Human Resource Management- I Beardwell and L Holden (Pitman, London, 14)

Managing Through People- J Humphries (How to Books, Oxford, 18)

Managing Teams- R Heller (Dorling Kindersley, London, 18)



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