Thursday, August 16, 2012

Companies Using Motivation Theory

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As organizations are challenged to do things better, faster and cheaper--often with fewer people and resources--employee motivation and rewards are critical tools. Improving employees performance is a complex process. Some common strategies include incentives for executives, middle managers and employee groups, performance management systems, and enhanced communication programs.

Employees have a very strong belief that they should be rewarded on the basis of merit and that these rewards should be distributed fairly. The impact when pay is not distributed on the basis of merit is a lack of commitment to the organization, decreased levels of effort, and perhaps the loss of valuable employees. It most often is high-achieving employees rather than low-achieving employees who become dissatisfied and look for jobs elsewhere

Pay-for-performance systems or incentive plans may be designed to reward individuals, teams, units or entire organizations. These systems may be known by various names, such as merit pay, bonus, lump-sum pay, awards (gifts), team-based rewards, gain sharing, profit-sharing, stock options, etc. To attract, retain, and motivate high performers and to be fair to all employees, an organization needs to reward employees on the basis of their relative performance.

General Electric involves its employees in decision processes. The management perspective is “that those closest to the work know it best”. “Views and ideas of every employee, from every function, in every business, are solicited and turned into action.” (http// Besides encouraging the free-flow of ideas, they also implement a vigorous education and recognition program. Crotonville, Americas first Corporate University, and various other training and professional development programs for all employment levels are prime examples of this belief.

Ford is the only auto company in Fortune magazines 50 Best Companies for Minorities. Much time, effort, and money can be poured into training. Their plants training program includes mandatory and optional classes in global economics, production control, standard operating procedures, and engine construction and operation. They know “if a worker isnt interested in doing good work--or has a bad attitude toward the company--then he or she likely wont perform well”. “That has a profound, pervasive effect on product quality.” (Quinlan) The “Wall of Fame” provides a lasting example of recognition for its employees. When a person receives the award, it goes to a permanent display. Amy Nikolic of Ford reported, We looked at a lot of information concerning what they want most from their jobs. By a large margin, we found that employees prefer recognition over rewards. So thats the form of reinforcement we give for good performance. Ford Motor Company has instituted many quality controls to help productivity. This includes employee empowerment, training, motivation, and communications. Ford had developed a process certifying suppliers, where its engineers and technicians visit the supplier shops to help guide them as the suppliers perform failure-mode analysis. “As a result of this program, we’ve been able to eliminate incoming inspection at CEP. We now can identify and correct all problems at the source,” said Bohen. “We conduct weekly meetings of all work teams, plus quarterly assembly meetings, just to hash things over, says Chris Bolen. Frank, honest suggestions are encouraged. If a worker spots a current or impending problem on a line, he or she can stop that line without fear of penalty”. (Quinlan http//

Regardless of which method companies seek to motivate its employees, all recognize the value of a motivated employee on increased morale, productivity, and cost reduction. In the end, “acceptance by employees is the ultimate determinant of a plans success. The more employees are involved and the more that it addresses their individual needs, the greater their commitment to the plan will be.” (Finigan)

XI. Conclusion

Motivation exists within all people. An important difference exists between people who motivate themselves and people being controlled or influenced by external events. Managers can influence certain aspects of the external environment. Motivation can be influenced. Not all employees will respond the same. Therefore managers can never become satisfied by thinking that one new program or decision will be effective for all. Instead they should reach out to understand the needs of their employees in order to sustain an industrious work force.

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