The principles of employee motivation

Why is it important for the manager to be able to understand and apply the principles of employee motivation? Give examples from theory and practice to support your answer. From organization studies, we understand that motivation is part of human resource management, and Human resource management is one of the most important sections for organization and management. Therefore the motivation is one of the most important reasons for employees and employers to improve their work in the company.

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This essay will define what are Malsow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-factor theory , then will explain how Maslow and Herzberg’s theories are influential both of in motivating employees and employers. In addition, I will analysis some cases into those two theories to support how motivation affects workers, and finally, summarize how the motivation affect the company and how to stimulate it

Motivation is a process of thought or feeling that makes someone act in a specific way. (Maitland 1995: 1) However, there is more to it than is implied by this short definition. Generally speaking, Malsow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory are two most important theories of motivation, and usually those are first choice for employers to consider how to manage employees’ motivation. Firstly, as Maslow (1943) as cited in Maitland (1995:1) et al believed that’ all individuals have a set hierarchy of needs, which they want to be satisfied.’ There include: as a physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, self-esteem and self-actualization. The “Hierarchy of Needs” is shown as following.

From this graph, it is easy to understand how the Hierarchy of needs work. If the low-level of needs cannot be solved, it is cannot process to higher levels of needs. From the Hierarchy of needs, the managers will easily understand employees’ needs and solve the problems step by step. Secondly, Herzberg. F as cited by Sjaus (2003:20) state that:”…the factors involved in producing job satisfaction and motivations are separate a distinct from the factors that lead to job dissatisfaction…”The’ Herzberg’s Two-Factor’ is shown as following: From this picture, we understand as his theory, he thought there are two important groups of factors to motivating employees. He said that Hygiene Factors (or dissatisfaction) cannot directly affect employees’ motivation, but managers still need to care about this problem. Herzberg believed that the job is the most important motivator to employees’ performance, and the other possible points are not as important as the Nature of work.

On the other hand, motivation can be divided for two parts, one is the internal motivation and other one is external motivation. The internal motivation is depends on the personality of the employees, while the external motivation is influences from outside. It is quite similar as Torrington. (2005:303-306) et al state it is separate for a few parts: Malsow’s Hierarchy of Needs can always connect and affect both Social needs and the work itself ,and Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory only links importance to the work itself. In addition, recognizing different people are motivated by different things and Social influences on motivation.

The motivation should affect both employees and employers. At the beginning, as Maitland. (1995:3) et al analyzed, such as several factors to affect motivating people in practice, those are being a good leader, working as a team, improving jobs, developing people, paying staff and providing a safe and healthy workplace. Leadership is the process in which an individual influences other group members towards the attainment of group or organizational goals.

Shackleton (1995) as cited in Torrington, Hall and Taylor (2005:300). A good leader could be the manager or team leader who can understand about her/ his colleagues’ needs, such as their personalities, their knowledge, skills or experience. In the opposite situation, if the leader cannot understand his colleagues needs, that means they can be influenced in their work, to make them increase the number of goods of poor quality. As Torrington. (2005) et al state the best way to leadership style is to use that McGregor’s (1960) as cited in Torrington, Hall and Taylor (2005:303-304) work, and it is called theory ‘X’ and theory ‘Y’, it is usually aimed at asking the manager how to determined the way they managed their employees and this in turn determined how the employees would do and work hard.

When the company has a good leader, teamwork becomes the other the most important way for manager to motivate people. Working as a team also affects both of group. If you want to be a winning team, the team should be unified, self-organized, self-supporting and small. (Maitland.1995:14). As he mentioned, we can understand the team or group is pulling together in the same things to do the work and create their own structures, sharing work with their colleagues in the small organized team. It is important for managers to know this, the employees’ position in a team should be clear.

The team usually has: a thinker, an organizer, a doer, a team worker, a checker and an evaluator. A good leader understands which employee should have which position. Conversely, if he/ she put them in the wrong position, motivation decreases immediately. To understand the position in performance, it is easy to help manager to organize their employees and make them to do their best in their jobs. ( Rabey.2001)

Improving jobs are the easy way to improve employees’ motivation, however there are three main areas we need to consider in improving jobs. Those are: content, security and prospects. (Maitland.1995:21). If the employees working without these three areas, they should be leave immediately. For example, the people who work in the big company, but he/she doesn’t like work with lots of responsibilities, he/she cannot feel satisfy from their jobs. Furthermore, she/he does a simple work, that makes staff lose their passion to their work, they should think about duty, which they have not. It should affect staff to think whether they have prospects or not. These three areas is indirectly effect employees’ motivation, work quality and work productivity. Content, security and prospects are linked well matched to the employees; it is will increased employees’ motivations. Almost time, manager use different methods to enhance their employment. (Arnold.1998)

Developing people is one of the most important parts in Human Resource Management studies. There are two parts in the developing people, one is about personal development, it is usually by you, and the other one is about professional training, it is usually by company. Torrington. (2005) the people development is aimed at employee, who wants to improve their personal skills. The company usually gives some training to their staff, it is useful to increase their professional skills and know ledges.

The employees feel fully about development, it is easy to help them to raise their work productivity. If employees can achieve their personal development, at the same time, they should increase their personality during the developing. Training staff is the necessary in the company if the company wants to be global company, owning to as be training, employees have more opportunities to learn more new skills and knowledge, they can make their own work being well as they wished.

As Maitland. (1995:38) et al evaluate:” Pay and related financial benefits have a part to play in motivating people, although money is more likely to be a potential demotivator that a powerful motivator.” People usually doesn’t like to talk about paying, almost of people thought that is very impolite and that is a sensitive topic for people talking , nevertheless, the paying always directly affect employees’ motivation immediately.

Clearly, human needs to consider about their life, they cannot live without money. Employees and employers both think about the paying, the employees always want to get higher wages and employers always think about how much should he/she get from pay. Although about the paying, the people in different situations, that they will get different ideas. At present, employees not only consider about paying wages, they are also looking for the benefits from the company. For example, the company pays higher wages than others companies’, employees will harder than other companies’

Work environments have become the biggest concern of the present-day world. People care about their workplace, where a safety and health. As usual, a company has to consider about the working conditions and they need to build a healthy environment. (Torrington, Hall and Taylor 2005) The good working environments, which make employees, increase their motivations. A leader also needs to consider about working conditions, such as “Fang Chui”. Recently, more and more company become to think about this, the reason of that the correct work areas makes staffs work harder.

To sum up, Evidence the above points. Motivation is not only affected by employees, there is more than one thing that managers need to consider. As Malsow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory shown us, I think the one of the most important way to understand employees’ motivation, the managers/ leaders should really care about their employees’ need. The more benefits or needs they get, the harder job they done. Being a good leader, working as a team, improving jobs, developing people, paying staff and providing a safe and healthy workplace are not all parts of motivation, there is still have lots of ways and factors to affect employees’ motivations. As I compare those areas, I think that being a good leader, developing people, paying staff are three more importance than others.