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Suzie Sue Restaurant’s Workforce Motivation Strategy Essay

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2021

Introduction

Suzie Sue Restaurant is a local food outlet that started its operations in 2013. The firm operates in a market that has a unique culture when it comes to customer management. As Foreman (2017) observes, people from different socio-cultural backgrounds cherish different types of food. Many restaurants are currently moving towards providing culturally sensitive products to their clients. After identifying an attractive market segment, such food stores often make extra efforts to come up with a menu based on the target market’s cultural beliefs and practices (Muduli & Pandya, 2018). The goal is to make these customers identify with the specific product offered by the store. The strategy helps in creating a large pool of customers. When using customer-centric strategies, especially when the focus is primarily on clients’ unique culture, it is necessary to maintain a team of motivated customers. In this paper, the focus is to investigate how Suzie Sue Restaurant can maintain a team of motivated employees.

Suzie Sue Restaurant offers a variety of food products to its customers. The fact that employees of this firm interact regularly with customers means that their attitude and level of motivation directly influences customers’ satisfaction. The top management unit needs to ensure that it not only maintains a high level of motivation of its employees but also retains its talented workforce. Retaining talent within the workplace and ensuring that workers are adequately motivated is critical in achieving competitive advantage in the market. Hong, Choi, and Key (2018) believe that the feelings that employees have is often reflected in the manner in which they handle clients. When motivated, they tend to handle customers with respect, love, and concern. They strive to meet their needs in the best way possible. Such employees find it easy working for extra hours just to ensure that their departments meet the set goals within the right time. In this paper, the focus will be to discuss steps that could be taken to improve employees’ motivation at Suzie Sue Restaurant.

Steps to Improve Motivation within the Workforce

The ability of Suzie Sue Restaurant to manage market competition largely depends on the level of motivation of its employees. Employees can be motivated through structural, operational, or cultural changes within an organization. Kanfera and Chen (2016) argue that the fundamental factor that the management needs to take into consideration is the ability to meet their expectations in the best way possible. Workers need to feel appreciated by their employers. Their value should not be taken for granted and needs ignored. As Caligiuri (2014) explains, employees are critical components of the organization that defines whether it is successful or not. These workers have the responsibility of implementing policies and strategies developed by the top management unit. When they are motivated, they will be keen on ensuring that the strategies are implemented in the best way possible. As such, it is the responsibility of the top leaders to come up with a proper way of ensuring that they remain motivated. According to Kanfera and Chen (2016), there is no conventional pattern that every organization must follow to ensure that its workforce is motivated. Each organization may have varying factors that must be observed to motivate its workers. However, the researcher proposes the following five steps that should be observed within a given organization.

Having a Positive Workplace Environment

The first step in motivating employees at Suzie Sue Restaurant is to create a positive workplace environment. According to Muduli and Pandya (2018), the phrase ‘positive workplace environment’ may mean many things to many people depending on various factors. In this case, the phrase refers to an enabling environment where employees can explore their skills and engage colleagues and superiors alike without the fear of intimidation or unfairness within the workplace. It involves engaging the workers to understand their needs and expectations within the organization. As Foreman (2017) puts it, it starts with the creation of the right culture. Every organization has its unique culture that defines how employees should relate with one another and the superiors. Some embrace an open-door policy. In this case, the management creates an environment where employees can easily interact with senior managers without necessarily following strict bureaucratic channels.

The culture encourages employees to be courageous enough to engage the superiors whenever it is necessary. Such an environment has its pros and cons. The main strength of this culture is that whenever there is a crisis within the firm, it can be detected and addressed early enough before it can escalate (Trees 2015). When a junior officer identifies a mistake, especially if the immediate superior commits it, he or she has an opportunity to report to top managers so that appropriate action can be taken within the right time. This strategy is also beneficial when it comes to promoting creativity and innovation. According to Caligiuri (2014), innovative minds are needed to help a firm move to the next level within a competitive environment.

The open-door policy makes it easy for junior workers to engage superiors with their new ideas so that they can be developed into practical strategies or products. This approach to leadership has numerous disadvantages. One of the issues often raised is the fact that it may be too demanding for the top manager to meet the needs of the organization. These leaders are expected to come up with strategies that can enable the firm to realize its vision. They have to interact with the outside world, learn emerging concepts, and find ways of implementing them within the organization. They have little time to listen to complaints that junior employees have against their supervisors or such petty issues. In an open-door policy, disgruntled workers tend to consider visiting the top managers directly as a way of getting a reprieve from the issues they face. When they are told that the schedule of the leader is too tight to meet their demands, they get even more frustrated. As such, this policy should be implemented with care.

The structured system of leadership, also known as the hierarchical system, is the complete opposite of the open-door policy (Heggeness, Evans, Pohlhaus & Mills 2017). In this case, employees are expected to communicate through the set systems and structures at all times. Junior workers are not expected to engage their superiors directly. Instead, they are required to engage their immediate supervisors. The supervisor will address the issue, and if it is too serious to be handled at that level, it will be passed to the immediate superior officer. The advantage of this policy is that enough time is created for the top managers to concentrate on policy issues as opposed to concerns and complaints of the employees. It eliminated cases where top leaders are forced to address issues that can be managed by departmental heads or even junior officers. However, Gould-Williams (2016), warns that this policy has its disadvantages that should not be ignored. It limits the ability of the top managers to understand specific challenges within the organization. When there is a crisis, it will take a long for the top management unit to learn about it. If such an issue needed their immediate action, then the action will be taken at a time when the problem has escalated to serious levels.

Having a positive work environment requires an integration of the two cultural practices. Workers should feel that they are valued and that their input is critical for the success of the firm. Embracing Adams’ equity theory may be critical in creating that environment. According to Muduli (2016, p. 1570), the theory “is based in the idea that individuals are motivated by fairness, and if they identify inequities in the input or output ratios of themselves and their referent group, they will seek to adjust their input to reach their perceived equity.” Workers should feel that there is fairness in the workplace and that their input is properly appreciated using the right mechanism within the workplace.

Recognition and Rewarding

When the right environment has been created for the employees to explore their skills and talents, the next step that top managers at Suzie Sue Restaurant should observe is to develop a proper system for recognition and rewarding talents. While it is true that workers value an environment where people are treated equally irrespective of their demographical differences, it is critical to appreciate those who put extra effort into their work. Caligiuri (2014) believes that appreciation can be done in two ways. First, there is the recognition of the effort of individual employees by the management. Publicly praising an employee for exceptional performance can be psychologically rewarding. This non-monetary strategy is meant to create admiration and respect among the identified individuals. The whole company will get to know them and their effort. The main strength of this strategy is that it creates a strong bond among the workforce. The desire to earn the respect of their colleagues will motivate every employee to make the extra effort in their respective workstation. The main disadvantage of this strategy is that it may not be easy to measure the performance of the individual employee regularly. The time that would have been spent in undertaking other duties will have to be spent measuring their performance.

The second approach is to use financial strategies to achieve the goals. The management will have a system that regularly measures the performance of its workers (Muduli 2016). In most cases, it is done by the end of each financial year. Workers’ performance is measured and those who emerge at the top are rewarded financially. Based on the capacity of the firm and many other internal factors, the amount may vary. The advantage of this strategy is that employees will be pleased by the financial reward offered by the firm. The problem with this strategy is that workers may fake their performance to get the reward (Trees 2015). In an attempt to have additional earning by the end of the financial year, some unscrupulous workers may try to cheat on their performance. Such acts deny genuine performers the opportunity to benefit from their effort.

Involving and Engaging the Workforce

The third step would be to involve and engage the workforce, as Gould-Williams (2016) strongly suggests. In the current dynamic workplace environment, it is impossible to avoid change. The top management unit at Suzie Sue Restaurant is expected to redefine the firm’s strategies and goals based on the emerging market forces. It is expected that this firm’s top leadership will always be responsible for making such strategic changes. However, it is important to engage and involve workers adequately. When introducing a new concept, it is prudent to ensure that employees understand the need to shift from one system to the other. Using Kurt Lewin’s model of change can be useful. As shown in figure 1 below, the first step of unfreezing involves preparing the team for a change. The top management will explain the new path, the factors that made it necessary to embrace it, and goals that should be achieved through it. During the second stage of change, all stakeholders will be prepared for what is to come. They will know their new roles and the tools needed to achieve goals. The last stage involves reaffirming the new practices and systems within the organization.

Kurt Lewin’s change model.
Fig. 1. Kurt Lewin’s change model (Afsar, Badir & Kiani 2016).

Having such a systematic way of introducing change has many benefits. The fact that stakeholders are engaged from the initial stage makes them own the introduced system. They will feel that they have a responsibility to ensure that the new system is a success. It avoids confusion because the role and responsibilities of the employees will be defined in clear terms. When workers are engaged in developing new policies, they can come up with new ideas that can improve the implementation process. However, one must appreciate some of the challenges that it has. Kanfera and Chen (2016) argue that making a decision when the views of numerous people have to be taken into consideration can be time-consuming. It is expected that different views may emerge, and convincing everyone that the firm has to take a specific path can take a long time. Finally, the top leaders have to choose the right strategy and explain to those opposed to it that it is the right method.

Developing Workers’ Capabilities

The fourth step in enhancing employees’ motivation within an organization is to develop their capabilities. According to Caligiuri (2014), people tend to be motivated when undertaking tasks aligned to their skills and experience. They develop a sense of satisfaction when their work meets the expectation of the management. As Gould-Williams (2016) observes, changes in the workplace environment and market may require new skills. As such, it is the responsibility of the management to ensure that every time a new concept is introduced, proper training is done to match the requirements with the skills of the employees. Training may take different approaches. There can be simple on-job training where experts are bought into the firm to help workers to understand how to operate under the new system. In other cases, it may be necessary to partner with institutions of higher learning to ensure that the new skills are passed on t the employees. The chosen strategy should reflect the nature of change within the firm. The goal should always be to ensure that the capabilities of employees at Suzie Sue Restaurant are improved to the level where they can undertake their duties without doubts or uncertainties of any kind.

The approach has merits and demerits that the management should take into consideration. One of the benefits of the strategy is that it empowers workers. Their motivation is driven by the new skills they gain through regular training. It also promotes innovation. Purohit and Bandyopadhyay (2014) argue that when workers are taken through regular training, they learn new skills that they can use to improve their overall performance. However, management must understand the challenges associated with the strategy. Regular training of the employees can be costly. The cost can be even higher if there is a high turnover rate of employees. Every time a competitor hires a highly trained worker, the firm not only loses the talent but also offers the competitor a better opportunity to succeed in the market. It means that the management will require ways of ensuring that such employees are retained once they have been equipped with unique skills.

Evaluating Job Satisfaction

The final step that the management of this restaurant should observe would be to come up with a system for evaluating job satisfaction. As Nowackia and Bachnik (2016) observe, there is always a need to ensure that the quality of the workforce is continuously improved. With every major step made in improving the skills of employees, the management often ensures that performance measurement accompanies it. Similarly, there should be a way of measuring the level of motivation based on the improvements made. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one can determine how to measure the level of satisfaction of the employees. Junior employees recently hired by the firm can only be motivated if their psychological and safety needs are met. All their basic needs should not be compromised. The low-ranking managers have a belongingness and love needs, as Rosenzweig and Wigfield (2016) observe. They want to feel appreciated in their respective positions.

The mid and some high-ranking managers often have esteem needs. They desire to have a sense of accomplishment. For instance, the marketing director will achieve such a need when the sales forecast is met or surpassed. Finally, there is self-actualization, which few often realize. It may be the chief executive officer who feels that he or she has realized all the dreams of climbing to the top of the ladder and steering the firm to great levels of success. Using this model, it is possible to understand specific goals by an individual employee to enhance their level of motivation. The benefit of this model is that it classifies employees and defining the needs that should be met to enhance their satisfaction. However, its main demerit is that the generalization may sometimes cloud the judgment of the evaluating team. The fact that one is a top manager does not necessarily him or her to have esteem needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Fig. 2. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Njoroge & Yazdanifard 2014).

Conclusion

Having a team of highly motivated workers is crucial for the success of Suzie Sue Restaurant. When motivated, employees tend to give their best in their respective workplaces. They tend to be creative in everything that they do. As such, the management of this restaurant must ensure that workers have the right motivation. The paper has discussed five steps that can be taken by the top leadership of this firm to ensure that their subordinates are motivated. As explained in the paper, unique factors and characteristics of an organization may define the right steps to take to achieve the desired goal. Of importance is to ensure that workers feel contented appreciated and that they have the right environment to achieve personal and organizational goals.

Reference List

Afsar, B, Badir, Y & Kiani, U 2016, ‘Linking spiritual leadership and employee pro-environmental behavior: The influence of workplace spirituality, intrinsic motivation, and environmental passion’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 45, no.1, pp. 79-88.

Caligiuri, P 2014, ‘Many moving parts: Factors influencing the effectiveness of HRM practices designed to improve knowledge transfer within MNCs’, Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 63–72.

Foreman, E 2017, ‘Utilising a scholarship program as a workforce strategy for the community-managed mental health sector’, The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 12, no. 6, pp.360-376.

Gould-Williams, J 2016, ‘Managers’ motives for investing in HR practices and their implications for public service motivation: A theoretical perspective’, International Journal of Manpower, vol. 37, no. 5, pp. 764-776.

Heggeness, M, Evans, L, Pohlhaus, J & Mills, S 2017, ‘Measuring diversity of the national institutes of health-funded workforce’, Academic Medicine Journal, vol. 91, no. 8, pp. 1164–1172.

Hong, P, Choi, S & Key, W 2018, ‘Psychological self-sufficiency: A bottom-up theory of change in workforce development’, Social Work Research, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 22–32.

Kanfera, R & Chen, G 2016, ‘Motivation in organizational behavior: History, advances and prospects’, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 136, no. 1, pp. 6-19.

Muduli, A 2016, ‘Exploring the facilitators and mediators of workforce agility: An empirical study’, Management Research Review, vol. 39, no. 12, pp.1567-1586.

Muduli, A, & Pandya, G 2018, ‘Psychological empowerment and workforce agility’, Psychological Studies, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 276-285.

Njoroge, C & Yazdanifard, R 2014, ‘The impact of social and emotional intelligence on employee motivation in a multigenerational workplace’, Global Journal of Management and Business, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 1-6.

Nowackia, R & Bachnik, K 2016, ‘Innovations within knowledge management’, Journal of Business Research, vol. 69, no. 5, pp. 1577-1581.

Purohit, B & Bandyopadhyay, T 2014, ‘Beyond job security and money: Driving factors of motivation for government doctors in India’, Human Resources for Health, vol. 2, no. 12, pp. 1-13.

Rosenzweig, E & Wigfield, A 2016, ‘STEM motivation interventions for adolescents: A promising start, but further to go’, Educational Psychologist, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 146-163.

Trees, L 2015, ‘Encouraging millennial to collaborate and learn on the job’, Strategic HR Review, vol. 14, no. 4, pp.118-123.

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