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Workplace motivation is one of the major determinants of the success of a business organization. Generally, a motivated workforce is associated with high productivity, commitment to the organization and creativity. This improves the competitiveness of the company (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 75-88).
However, motivating employees is often a serious challenge in most companies. At my workplace, low motivation is attributed to high stress levels among the employees. The main causes of the stress include job insecurity, unmanageable workload and lack of growth opportunities. Even though the employees have fulltime work contracts, they are likely to be retrenched if the company is underperforming.
There are very few opportunities for promotion because nearly everyone in my department is a gifted engineer, and senior positions are limited. Thus, the competition for promotion is very high. In some cases, the employees work for long shifts but they are not paid for the extra time. The resulting increase in workload causes frustrations and stress among the employees. In this paper, a motivational plan will be developed to address this problem. The plan will be based on four workplace motivational theories.
The Motivational Plan
A quota-based program will be used to enhance the employees’ motivation. This program involves rewarding the employees who are able to meet or exceed their performance goals. Financial incentives and formal recognition will be used to reward the employees for achieving their goals.
The managers will collaborate with the employees in order to set high but achievable goals. These goals will be used as the metrics for measuring the employees’ performance. Periodic performance appraisals will be done through manager-to-peer reviews and peer-to-peer reviews. The employees who are not able to meet their goals will benefit from on-the-job training programs in order to improve their performance. This plan will work as follows.
According to Maslow’s theory, each employee has unique needs which can be met through appropriate incentives. Maslow’s need hierarchy include “physiological needs, safety needs, love needs, esteem needs and self actualization” (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 75-88). An employee’s motivation improves if he or she is able to move from a lower level of need to a higher one.
In this regard, setting achievable goals will reduce the employees’ workload. Hence, the physiological needs will be fulfilled due to the fact that the employees’ fatigue will reduce. The financial rewards will motivate the employees to increase their productivity. The resulting improvement in the company’s financial performance will guarantee job security (safety needs).
By supporting the underperforming employees through training programs, the social needs will be met. Concisely, the employees are likely to develop a sense of belonging if they are helped to overcome their weaknesses (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 193-207). Finally, formal recognition of excellent performance will boost the employees’ esteem. Consequently, the employees will realize their potential and strive to achieve challenging goals.
Alderfer improved Maslow’s theory by classifying human needs into three groups namely, existence, relatedness and growth (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 75-88). In this context, the physiological and safety needs belong to the existence need category. The social (love) needs belong to the relatedness need category. Finally, the esteem and self-actualization needs belong to the growth need category.
According to this theory, employees can be motivated if they are able to achieve the next higher or lower level of need (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 75-88). In this regard, the quota-based program will help in reducing the dissatisfaction that is attributed to limited growth opportunities. There are only a few managerial positions which the employees are competing for. In this case, motivation can not be achieved through promotions due to the inadequacy of senior positions.
Thus, encouraging the employees to focus on the next lower need level is the best way to enhance motivation. In a nutshell, training programs will be used to improve the employees’ skills so that they can become experts in specific fields. Financial incentives will encourage creativity and skill improvement. Consequently, self-actualization and high motivation will be attained.
McClelland identified three types of needs namely, achievement, power and affiliation. The importance of these needs varies from employee to employee. Additionally, these needs determine the employees’ behavior.
The need for achievement is associated with excellence, competition and ambitious goals (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 75-88). It is against this backdrop that the quota-based program will use formal recognition and financial incentives to facilitate excellence and competition. Furthermore, the high performers will be able to set challenging goals for themselves.
Regular performance appraisals will enable the employees to obtain feedback on their performance in regard to goal achievement. The need for power is characterized by the desire to change others. Thus, the employees who value this need will be identified as the change agents whose main responsibility will be to influence their colleagues to develop a positive attitude towards their work and the new motivational plan.
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The need for affiliation is characterized by the desire to establish strong relationships with other employees. In this context, the training programs will be an opportunity for strengthening interpersonal relationships. The employees will be assigned to specific teams through which they will interact and learn from each other. Moreover, mentorship programs will be provided in these teams.
Herzberg categorized human needs into two groups; these include the need to avoid pain and the need for psychological growth. Fulfillment of these needs depends on the work conditions that exist in a given organization (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 75-88). Work conditions that reduce pain lead to job satisfaction and high motivation among employees. In this regard, the proposed motivational plan will alleviate the employees’ pain by reducing their workload through achievable goals.
Additionally, the performance based incentive system will ensure that the employees are compensated according to their efforts. Recognition is also a motivational factor that will encourage the employees to improve their productivity. This will involve acknowledging the employees’ achievements and praising them for their efforts. Consequently, their motivation will improve.
Motivation helps in improving productivity through its positive effects on employees’ psychological health. Motivational theories identify the human needs that must be fulfilled in order to facilitate high motivation among employees. These needs are often met through motivational factors such as financial incentives, recognition and promotions (Nelson & Quick, 2012, pp. 75-88).
In the proposed workplace motivational plan, recognition and financial rewards will be used to improve the employees’ motivation by alleviating their work-related stress. These motivational factors will be complemented by training programs that will enable the employees to achieve their goals.
Nelson, D., & Quick, J. (2012). ORGB 3 Student Edition. New York: South-Western Collage Pub.