Motivation, in a plain language, is what makes people do things, to provide with a motive to impel one to action. This paper discusses how to motivate employees at workplace to perform well. There are many reasons and methods to successfully motivate employees.
Firstly and obviously, motivated employees are much more productive than employees who are not. Therefore Managers need to know about the factors that create motivation in order to be able to induce employees to work harder, more efficiently and with greater enthusiasm by knowing their employees’ needs. The objective of this paper is to explore three theories of motivation, Instrumental (focusing on Scientific Management), Content (covering theories by Maslow, Herzberg and McClelland) and Process (Covering equity, expectancy and goal setting theories). It will also identify the advantages and their shortcomings.
Secondly this paper will look at NMB bank case to identify motivators and demotivators in a workplace. Finally provide practical recommendation that will effectively address the demotivators in the workplace. 2. Theory of Motivation Motivation studies have aimed to discover what triggers and sustain human behaviour at work. Motivation can be described as goal directed behaviour i. e. the will to work and achieve certain goals e. g. earn more money or achieve promotion. It can also be referred as external or internal factors/forces that influence an individual positively (Gibson et el, 2000).
Motivation Theories try to describe why people at work behave the way they do. The theories describe what organizations can do to encourage employees apply their efforts and abilities to achieve organizations’ goals. Motivation theories are also concerned with job satisfaction and factor that create satisfaction and its impact on their behaviour (Gibson et el, 2000). There are a number of different motivation theories and these theories do not all reach the same conclusion. Motivation theories can be classified into three categories, Content Theory, Process Theory and Instrumental Theory (Armstrong, 2008). 2. Instrumental Theory of Motivation Instrumental Theory assumes that a person will be motivated to work if rewards and punishment are tied directly to performance (Armstrong, 2008) i. e. people are rewarded for behaving as expected. This theory originated from scientific management theory, and according to this theory, it is impossible to get people to work much harder than others unless assured on rewards. However, according to Armstrong (2008), Instrumental Theory failed to appreciate the fact that the formal control system can be affected by informal relationships between employees or between management and employees. . 2Content Theory of Motivation Content Theory falls in the second category, it emphasizes that it is needs that motivate people. There are a number of theories on providing the need for motivation. However, this paper will look on three most influential theories that advocate needs as motivators. These are Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, Herzberg’s two-factor theory and McClelland’s acquired needs theory. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs proposes that people are motivated by five levels of needs, first Physiological needs, these are the most basic human physical needs like food, shelter, clothing etc.
Secondly Safety and Security needs, these are concerned with physical safety and emotional security. Third is Belonging and Social needs, the need for friendship, affiliation, interaction and love. Most people are motivated by the social contacts they make at work. There is a need to belong to a certain group and this need is a motivator in a way. Fourth is esteem and recognition needs, the need for respect and recognition from others. And finally Self-actualization needs which is the highest level of needs in Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs theory.
It is the need for self-fulfillment and using abilities, skills and potential to the fullest. In proposing this hierarchy of needs, ranging from basic to highest level, Maslow suggested that a person attempts to satisfy the more basic needs before directing behaviour towards satisfying upper level need. For example, once basic needs (physiological & safety) are taken care of, people look for love, affection and affiliation and after they meet their social needs, people focus on matters such as self-respect, status, recognition etc. However, needs are never completely satisfied.
Maslow’s theory has been criticized for its apparent rigidity since not all needs are equally important to different individuals, different people have different needs and priorities, each person has different intensities of each need and these intensities change in different situations. Furthermore, the theory is neither that accurate nor thorough enough to explain individual levels of behaviour. The second Content Theory is Herzberg’s two-factor Theory. Herzberg identifies a number of fundamental needs with his two factor theory.
Herzberg advocates that work satisfaction and dissatisfaction arise from two different factors. Work satisfaction came from motivating factors and work dissatisfaction come from hygiene factors (Gibson et el, 2000). Motivating factors are concerned with what will make employees satisfied while Hygiene factors addresses why are employees dissatisfied. According to Herzberg, motivators include achievement, recognition and advancement and hygiene factors refer to policies & procedures, working conditions, job security and salary (Armstrong, 2008).
Motivators lead to positive satisfaction and hygiene factors only prevents dissatisfaction and they do not in themselves lead to employees’ satisfaction. However, the theory relies on the findings from the study done on accountants and engineers and this has brought up questions about its validity and accuracy to other fields and occupations. Another content motivation theory is McClelland’s acquired needs theory, which states that three needs i. e. achievement, affiliation and power are major motives determining people’s bahaviour in the workplace (Armstrong, 2008).
McClelland believes that people are not born with needs but they acquire them from culture and life experience and the need to achieve is a primary motivating factor. Graham & Bennett (1998) look at McClelland’s needs theory, and according to them Achievement-oriented people are said to prefer tasks which they had sole responsibility, avoid risks and monitor continuously the effect of their actions. Power-oriented were motivated by the prospect of controlling subordinates, while Affiliators wanted pleasant relationships with colleagues. 2. 3Process Theory of Motivation The final category of motivation theory is the Process motivation theory.
This theory is more concerned with the thought of how people decide to act, i. e. how employees choose certain behaviour to meet their needs (Gibson et el, 2000). It attempts to explain and describe some of the factors that are typically outside of the individual. Whereas Content theory simply try to understand employees needs, process theory goes further and try to understand why employees have different needs, what behaviours satisfy them (Armstrong, 2008). The three most influential Process motivation theories include, Expectancy Theory, Goal Achievement Theory and Equity Theory.
Goal theory, which was developed by Latham and Locke, states that motivation and performance are higher when individuals set specific and difficult goals and there is feedback on performance (Armstrong, 2008). The attributes highlighted are goal specifity, goal difficulty and goal intensity. According to Gibson et el (2000), Goal setting techniques has offered viable motivation techniques to many managers. However, in order to motivate employees, it is strongly recommended that setting of goals should be both specific and challenging and this leads to increase in performance.
Generally, the more difficult the goal the higher the level of performance is expected. The Equity theory of motivation asserts on employees own assessment of whether he/she is being treated fairly, in comparison to his/her colleagues, as a major factor influencing motivation. Employees are motivated to see fair treatments, no matter how fair managers think the organization’s policies, procedures and reward systems are, each employee’s perception of those factors is what counts (Armstrong, 2008). Employees’ participation in important decisions that affect their welfare helps to promote perception of fair treatments.
Expectancy Theory suggests that employees are motivated by two things. Firstly, how much they want something and secondly, how likely they think they are to get it (Armstrong, 2008). In other word, when people have choices they will make the choice that assures them best outcome or best rewards. According to Expectancy theory, your motivation depends on the relationship between your efforts, performance and desirability of the outcomes i. e. recognition for your performance. 3. Motivators and Demotivators in the workplace Taking NMB Bank as point of reference, this section will look into motivators and demotivators in the workplace.
NMB Bank is the biggest Bank in Tanzania with more than 130 branches all over the country. 3. 1Motivators: It is NMB’s policy to recruit internally first, this helps to ensure employees career growth within the Bank. Employees take pride, as they feel Management recognizes their contributions and hence give them first priority when filling any vacancies within the Bank. This policy also provides opportunities for more responsibilities, that is when a more challenging job is advertised within the Bank, all employees qualifying for the post have equal opportunity to grow and achieve their career goals.
It is also the Bank’s policy to give bonus at the end of every year depending on the performance of the Bank for that year. This promotes recognition for employees’ performance hence they feel valued and seen as part of the winning team. Another motivator to employees of the Bank is training opportunities for employees. Every new and fresh graduate who joins the Bank must go to a two week induction course. This training has two parts, theory and practical on how to do the job. This increases the interest of the job to the new employee.
And the Bank does have in-house training programs for other employees. Job enlargement, challenging and complex tasks motivate NMB employees. Due to the size of the Bank, it increases the number of tasks in a job and therefore the work is challenging and complex. Employees deal with big volumes of workload they encounter different and complex challenges. For example, with large number of customers’ transaction bank reconciliation becomes complex. And even more for employees in the Zone offices who have to oversee the more than 10 branches within the zone and similarly to the Head Office employees.
Working under such environment give employees a good chance of learning new things almost every day and this motivates employees for good performance. 3. 2Demotivators: Like any other workplace, there are factors that create dissatisfaction (demotivators) at NMB. As it has been prior illustrated, absence or inadequate of demotivators or hygiene factors promote dissatisfaction to employees. These factors include working conditions, relationship with subordinates/supervisors, policies and procedures and pay. It is the policy of the Bank that the entire Bank’s operations are centralized.
Therefore employees especially in the branches have very little room to make decisions and command. With so many customers and most approvals are required to come from Head Office, employees’ job become dull. This causes dissatisfaction to branch employee as their participation on important and challenging tasks is taken away from them. For example, Head Office may change or give different instructions to Branch management on certain procedures. Sometimes such instructions may not be very practical and consequently may be the cause of long queues in the Branches.
This may lead to customer complaining and in return employees are also dissatisfied with their jobs as they could be involved in decisions regarding their work. For instance, when the server is down they have to wait for assistance from Head Office of which takes more time. Working environment (not internal working conditions) of employees working in the rural areas may not be satisfactory. This refers to the external environment of these branches, since many of the Bank’s branches are located in rural areas.
NMB Bank has a branch in every district in Tanzania, although this is good for business and customer base, in terms of life styles for employees working in those branches the external environments may not satisfy their personal and private lives. And this in turn may influence their performance in the workplace. As a sign of being demotivated, absenteeism and labour turnover in some of these branches is high as most of these employees are trying to look for better environment for their personal and private needs.
Moreover, since rural areas are areas that are technologically challenged areas, employees do not have access of internet for communicating, information, learning or researching and thus they cannot be in touch with the rest of the world. While it is very expensive for the Bank to provide internet to rural branch employees, employees feel that they are neglected and this leads to dissatisfaction and demotivation. Salary is another demotivating factor in NMB, employees are not paid well compared to the market rate. Additionally there is no proper salary scale that has uniform across the Bank.
More so, there is no real essence in the fringe benefits provided to the Bank to its employee. For example, interest rate for employees’ loans is 9% compared to 6% of other banks. Relationship with subordinates is another factor that may create dissatisfaction if not well managed. Some of the Branch Managers and line Managers do not interact with their employees in acceptable manner, i. e. with respect, transparency and trust. For example, some managers will not inform or allow their employees to apply for any job advertised within the bank for fear of losing them, but this leads to losing these employees to other employers.
According to Graham & Bennett (1998), instead of controlling, Managers and supervisors need to motivate and inspire employees. 4. Practical Recommendations There are two types of motivation, extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic Motivation comes from outside the performer, for example pay/money (high salary), performance pay system, promotions, pleasant working conditions and trophies. Extrinsic is normally a short term motivating approach. Intrinsic is self motivation, comes from within the performer and it is more effective and long term approach because a person has a real interest in doing what is doing.
Intrinsic motivations refer to achievement, responsibility and competence. There different factors that promote motivation, for example challenge, curiosity, competition and recognition are factors that promote intrinsic motivation. To effectively address the demotivators in the Bank, the Management may focus on both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Some research conclude that interesting work, appreciation, pay/salary, good working conditions, company policies, supervision and job security are important factors helping to motivate employees.
People like to take pride in their work, belong to a winning team and be part of their organization they believe in. Therefore to address Supervision, Managers should be responsible to create an environment in which people can motivate themselves. This can be done without relying on merit increases, incentives and bonus but through non-monetary motivation for example open communication, recognition and career developments plans. Moreover, Managers should assist in making difference in motivation levels of their employees by leading by example. According to Gibson et el. 2000), if employers wish to have motivated, passionate and energetic staff, leaders/managers should demonstrate the attitudes, values and mindset that they wish staff to develop and demonstrate. Secondly managers should create job satisfaction and provide employees with more challenging work and should encourage creativity by providing recognition and rewarding creativity. The rewards need not to be costly to have an impact, for example a simple ‘thank you’ has much bigger impact to employee. Employees will be more motivated to work hard if they know Employer/manager recognize and appreciate their contributions.
Thirdly, the Bank should promote employee participation. This refers to the process whereby employees are involved in the decision making processes rather than simply acting to orders. Manager should act as his employees advocate. For example when communicating with other departments or head office, manager should act as an advocate for the employees and be visible champion for them. That is if there are instruction from head office or other department that is not as practical as it seems, the manager should be able to stand up for his department and provide/offer a true scenario from practical point of view, rather than accepting everything.
This will increase employees’ commitment and eventually motivation. In addition managers should provide the resources and support required for employees to do and complete their jobs to the required level and restrictions that are preventing employees from doing their job well should be removed. Employee participation is part of empowerment in the workplace. Fourthly, to implement work/life balance initiatives, this helps employees cope with their responsibilities at work and those outside of work. It is now accepted that external pre-occupations can cause stress, absenteeism, resignations and reduced motivation (Armstrong, 2008).
Other ways to reduce demotivators at workplace include, promote and provide two-way feedback, redesign jobs, learn through exit interviews and trust and respect to employees. An environment where it is safe to take risks and staff are trusted to try new things can be inspiring and motivating to employees. For example employees should try out new ideas and improve the way they do their job without fear. Therefore the Bank has ensured that every employee has clear job description, thus operating tasks and duties are clear and organization structure is clear. . Conclusion Motivation Theories are study of human behaviour and can be used as guidelines for Managers and Employers to create motivated teams within their organizations to achieve their desired goals. Understanding motivation begins with understanding the employees. That, it is not necessarily employees are to be blamed (for being lazy or unskilled or unwilling to perform the task at hand) if their performance is not what the employer/manager expected. The wise manager tries to understand why the employees are not performing to his expectations.
While it may be that the employees do not have the requisite skills, however there may be other factors involved which are more complicated and need to be addressed by the management. In conclusion, it can be established that, there are a wide variety of human needs operating at work place, and to motivate employees management must do analysis to identify which particular needs are most important to employees and develop a reward system that would address it. This paper has discussed the theories of motivation, their advantages and disadvantages.
It has also look at NMB Bank as example case in identifying motivators and demotivators in the workplace. The paper, also gave practical recommendation on how to effectively address and get rid of the identified demotivators at NMB Bank.
6. References: i. Armstrong, M. (2008) A Handbook of Human Resources Management Practice, 10th Ed. , Kogan Page Ltd, Philadelphia. ii. Gibson J. L. , Invancevich J. M. , &Donnelly J. H. (2000) Organizations: Behaviour, Structure & Processes, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Columbus. iii. Graham H. T. & Bennett R. (1998) Frameworks: Human Resources Management, Pearson Education Ltd