Managing People – Employee motivation

In this paper I intend to discuss the influence of the following two concepts on employee motivation: a) Performance Management and Appraisal b) Managing leadership style The issues I will discuss will be based on my observation and experience with my current employer: SUNDANCE MULTIPROCESSOR TECHNOLOGY LTD. A company which I have been involved with for the past 3 years.

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2. Introduction

Sundance is a small electronics company established in 1989 in England. The company is made up of 30 highly specialized employees. Sundance designs and develops a range of products that can be combined, as part of a parallel processing system, to provide an expandable processing resource. The products are designed to address the needs of high performance computing applications in defense, industry and leading edge research such as telecoms, image processing, DSP, simulation and real time applications. For the purpose of this assignment, given the small size of the company, I will be looking at the whole of Sundance. The activities of Sundance can be divided into three main areas:

a) Research and Development b) Production c) Sales and Marketing As with most small organizations, there are few problems with structure in Sundance. The distribution of tasks and the definition of authority and the relationship between members of the company are established on a personal and informal basis. None the less, for the purpose of this paper, in order to appreciate the complex nature of employee motivation, I feel it is necessary to understand the above “functional structure” at Sundance. What motivates the individuals in one group is different to the needs of the other. The techniques used in motivating the staff in the Production division for example, differs to those of the R&D group. In this paper I intend to find out the reasons behind such differences. I also seek to investigate the effectiveness of the management at Sundance in meeting the different needs of the individuals.

We will first start by looking at the nature of employee motivation at Sundance. We will analyse the behaviour of the different groups and try to establish an understanding of their needs and motivational requirements. We will then discuss the nature of performance management at Sundance and see how it effects the 3 main groups. We then move on to looking at the leadership style in the different groups and analyse the effects on the employees.

3. Motivation at Sundance 3.1 Research and Development The members of the reassert and development team at Sundance are all young and ambitious electronic engineers. As such, the most important factor in motivating them is to satisfy the need for professional development. McClellands achievement motivation theory best fits this group at Sundance. McClelland identified four characteristics of people with strong achievement needs. So how does this system effect motivation in the various groups? The production team sees the importance of performance appraisal primarily as a means of getting a pay rise. Other aspects such as training and feedback are secondary concerns. The clear link to motivation is therefore money. A high pay rise constitutes a happier and

more motivated employee. Here, performance management and appraisal is seen by the employees in its more traditional form. But that is not what performance management is about. The continuous all year round monitoring, reviewing and discussion of issues relating to performance, also has an influence on motivation. If this is done correctly and carefully, it can have a positive psychological effect resulting in a more productive and motivated group. My observation of the production group has showed that by getting the individuals involved in the process of forming agreement through discussion, their moral will increase.

The performance management process has a different edge in the R&D group. A modern approach is executed. The individuals in R&D demand a more sophisticated analysis of their performance. Factors such as career planing, identification of professional training and development become more important. Performance management can therefore have a great impact on motivation, depending on how it is handled. A brief interview of this group suggests that a lot of focus needs to be given to regular feedback and goal setting. What the individuals demand is a technically experienced manager who is able to appreciate the complex nature of their electronics designs.

And finally how does performance management affect sales and marketing? The approach here is similar to that of the R&D group. Regular feedback and constructive criticism are an important part of performance management, and can have positive influences on motivation and job satisfaction. The general consensus seems to be that at Sundance, performance management is having a good effect on the individuals in all 3 groups. The only complaint the employees seem to have is that the actual end of year appraisal is done by the MD only. Most employees feel the MD should not be the only one present at the annual appraisal meeting. This is specially the case with the R&D group who feel the nature of their work is such that a more technical person needs to be present.