This report evaluates the importance of employee motivation in an organisation’s effort to achieve a competitive advantage with regard to human capital. The first part provides a brief background on employee motivation. Furthermore, the aim and scope of the study are illustrated in this section. The second part entails a comprehensive analysis of the various employee motivational strategies that HR managers can integrate into their quest to improve the level of employee motivation.
Some of the strategies identified include providing employees with an opportunity to progress through their career, adopting effective work-life balance policies, nurturing an environment conducive for working, and providing employees with the necessary managerial support. By adopting these strategies, HR managers can improve the level of motivation amongst employees. However, it is imperative for organisational managers to ensure that the motivation strategies adopted to align with the employees’ needs.
Background to the study
Employees are fundamental in organisations’ effort to improve their performance and their long-term performance. Employees are increasingly being considered as a source of competitive advantage. However, transforming human capital into a source of competitive advantage is dependent on the level of employee motivation. Iqbal, Yusaf, Munawar, and Naheed (2012) define motivation as “a force that gives the path to behaviour, energises behaviour, and triggers the tendency to stick with” (p.692). Alternatively, motivation can be defined as a psychological process, which influences an individual’s level of effort, persistence and behaviour (Iqbal et al., 2012).
Work motivation is subject to internal and external forces. Furthermore, work motivation is dependent on an individual’s innate forces, such as personal needs. Previous studies show that motivation leads to improvement in the employee’s ability to perform challenging job tasks. Currently, research on employee motivation is concerned with generating knowledge on how organisational managers can refine work motivation.
Devadass and Nasional (2011) argue that scholars and practitioners are increasingly being concerned with how to cultivate, improve, and sustain a high level of motivation amongst their workforce. The issue of employee motivation is multifarious and dynamic. Its complexity arises from the fact that it takes into different account disciplines such as economics, organisational development, sociology, and human resource management (Devadass & Nasional, 2011).
Aim and scope
This report assesses the various strategies that human resource managers can integrate into their pursuit for high competitive advantage with regard to human capital. The report specifically focuses on employee motivation as one of the strategies that HR managers can integrate into their quest to enhance organisational performance.
Elrod (2009) proposes that motivating employees is an essential aspect that HR managers and supervisors should take into account in their quest to improve the level of job satisfaction amongst employees. Motivated employees are likely to be more productive as compared to less motivated employees. Furthermore, the rate of employee turnover among motivated employees is relatively low.
Elrod (2009) further asserts that motivation is an issue of an individual’s will. Subsequently, organisational managers cannot force employees to be motivated, but they can only encourage employees to be self-motivated. Organisational managers can integrate diverse strategies in their strategic management practices in an effort to improve the level of employee motivation.
One of the aspects that organisational managers can consider entails ensuring that employees are compensated equitably and sufficiently. It is imperative for organisational managers to integrate both monetary and non-monetary forms of compensation. Examples of motivation strategies that can be integrated include providing employees with advanced training, employee promotion, and delegating additional responsibilities to lower-level employees (Lunenburg, 2011). The figure below illustrates some of the employee motivation strategies that organisational managers can incorporate in their strategic HR management practices. The motivational strategies should incorporate intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are illustrated in figure 1. Effective implementation of reward strategies increases the level of employee performance.
Employee motivation strategies
There are different aspects that organisational managers can consider in their quest to nurture a high level of employee motivation. Some of these strategies include integrating employee career development programs, adopting work-life balance policies, implementing a comprehensive employee reward system, nurturing an environment conducive for working and providing employees with sufficient managerial support as illustrated in figure 2 below.
Career path and employee development program
Currently, employees are no longer inclined towards attaining lifetime employment and job security within a particular organisation. On the contrary, employees are concerned with exploiting the various opportunities available within an organisation in order to progress through their career. Furthermore, employees no longer consider a career path as a unidirectional aspect by progressing through the various levels of management, but as a multi-directional aspect. Subsequently, a career path can be achieved through upward, downward, sideways, and backward progression (Cappellen & Janssens, 2005).
Career development is of great significance to employees and organisations. Previous studies show that developing effective career paths leads to significant improvement in the level of job satisfaction amongst employees, and hence their motivation. The numbers of employees who are career conscious have increased remarkably over the past few decades. This aspect has led to a significant increment in the rate of voluntary employee turnover as employees seek greener pastures. This element presents a major challenge to organisational managers in their pursuit to increase the rate of employee retention. Aktar, Sachu, and Ali (2012) argue that employee turnover increases the cost of operation, which affects an organisation’s performance adversely.
In a bid to improve their long-term performance, it is imperative for organisations to foster career growth and development by formulating and implementing a comprehensive career development program. However, the program should be formulated effectively in order to address the employees’ career growth and development needs. Aktar, Sachu, and Ali (2012) assert that this can be accomplished by replacing the traditional performance appraisal system with the CPD form. Employees should fill the form outlining their perspective with regard to his career. Additionally, managers and supervisors should hold meetings with specific employees to discuss the content of the CPD form. Organisational managers should conduct the employees’ career development needs at least twice per year. Integrating career development enables employees to feel valued, thus increasing their level of motivation.
Employees are facing a challenge arising from the fact that they are required to balance between work and family issues. The high cost of living being experienced in different economies has motivated individuals to work longer in order to meet their financial needs. This aspect has increased work-life pressure amongst employees. Bell, Rajendran, and Theiler (2012) argue that such pressure may increase the level of work-related stress amongst employees, which might de-motivate them and reduce their productivity.
In a bid to deal with such situations, it is imperative for organisational leaders to integrate effective work-life policies. The objective of these policies is to provide employees with an opportunity to interact with their family members. Furthermore, work-life policies will provide employees with an opportunity to undertake diverse personal duties such as schooling. Bell, Rajendran, and Theiler (2012) further contend that there are different work-life policies that HR managers can consider.
Some of these policies include providing employees with career leaves, parental leaves, childcare assistance, and integrating flexible working schedules. Flexible working schedules increases the amount of time available for employees to address their personal issues. Examples of flexible working strategies that HR managers can take into account include working from home, career breaks, and integrating part-time jobs.
Adopting the above strategies increases the level of motivation amongst employees. This assertion arises from the view that employees are in a position to establish a balance between competing priorities. This aspect reduces the degree of work-related stress amongst employees, hence improving their productivity. Aktar, Sachu, and Ali (2012) contend that adopting work-life balance policies enable employees to develop the perception that their organisation is cognisant of their personal needs.
Compensation and reward system
Employees are motivated to continue working in a particular organisation by diverse factors. One of these factors relates to the compensation and reward system adopted by an organisation. Subsequently, it is imperative for organisational managers to formulate a comprehensive reward system, which should be fair, equitable, and consistent with the employees’ input. The reward and compensation policies formulated should take into account the monetary and non-monetary aspects.
The monetary concepts should include compensation packages such as salaries, bonuses, and wages. Aktar, Sachu, and Ali (2012) assert that monetary compensation should be based on a comprehensive grade and pay structure. Moreover, it is imperative for HR managers to establish a balance between the monetary and non-monetary reward system. Some of the non-monetary rewards that HR managers should consider include recognising employees who depict exemplary performance, for example, by praising them.
HR managers should consider nurturing an environment conducive for working. One of the ways through which this goal can be achieved is by formulating effective conflict resolution strategies. Aktar, Sachu, and Ali (2012) assert that effective conflict resolution enables employees to interact with each other, which improves the degree of information and knowledge sharing. The table below illustrates how organisational managers can improve the working environment.
|Number of working days||Monday- Friday|
|Number of working hours per day||8.00 A.M to 4.00 P.M|
|Paid overtime||A number of hours worked after normal working hours.|
|Working time regulations||40 hours per week|
Table 1: (Aktar, Sachu & Ali, 2012).
By adopting the above aspects, it is possible for organisational managers to create an environment conducive for working. For example, structuring the contractual number of working hours per day and integrating overtime work ensures that employees are not overworked, which might reduce their morale.
Organisational managers should consider nurturing an enabling environment for working. One of the ways through which HR managers can achieve this goal is by providing employees with adequate support in executing their duties. Supervisors and HR managers are the ‘human face’ of an organisation. Subsequently, it is imperative for HR managers to nurture an effective relationship with the employees’ in order to enhance the employees’ morale.
Previous studies have identified task delegation as one of the most effective strategies to motivate employees. Bell, Rajendran, and Theiler (2012) assert that the delegation of tasks enables employees to develop the level of their skills and knowledge, hence contributing to their career development. However, it is critical for managers to support employees in executing some of the delegated tasks. Managerial support will aid in motivating the employees to execute the allocated task despite its challenging nature. Moreover, supervisors should not only support employees in work-related issues but also in dealing with personal issues, which increases their morale to undertake the tasks assigned.
This paper identifies employee motivation as one of the most important aspects of the organisation’s effort to attain competitive advantage. Lack of employee motivation increases the rate of employee turnover, which reduces the level of organisational performance. In the course of executing their managerial duties, HR managers have an obligation to ensure that employees are adequately motivated. However, most organisations do not take employee motivation as a critical element in their strategic management processes. The report argues that organisations can achieve employee motivation from intrinsic and extrinsic sources.
Despite this choice, managers cannot have the capability to force employees to be motivated. However, managers can encourage employees to be motivated by integrating diverse strategies. The report cites some of the employee motivation strategies, which include assisting employees in progressing through their career path, incorporating work-life balance policies, adopting a comprehensive employee compensation and reward system, nurturing an enabling environment for working, and providing employees with the necessary managerial support.
In their pursuit to attain competitiveness with regard to human capital, it is imperative for organisations to ensure that their workforces are adequately motivated by integrating the aforementioned strategies. Furthermore, HR managers should take into account the following.
- HR managers should ensure that the employee-training program contributes to a high level of career development amongst employees. Subsequently, the training program should align with the feedback obtained from the career-development program form.
- Organisational managers should also ensure that employees are involved in the process of formulating the work-life balance policies. This aspect will ensure that the policies formulated contribute to a high level of employee motivation.
- HR managers should continually evaluate the effectiveness of the motivation strategies adopted in order to determine their effectiveness, which will aid HR managers to gain insight on how to adjust the policies.
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