Research Paper: Employee Motivation

Pages: 10 (3296 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Careers  ·  Buy This Paper

Human Resources

Employee Motivation

The key to a successful business is to have motivated employees that want to come to work and do the best job possible. In today's economy it is becoming more and more difficult to find the right thing that motivates employees. The things that worked in the past do not necessarily work today. Companies are having to be creative and think outside of the box in order to keep their employees on the right track and as productive as possible. The happier that the employees are the more productive they become and the more successful that a company tends to be overall.

Every person has different reasons for working. The reasons for working are as individual as the person. But, each person works because they obtain something that they need from work. Whatever is obtained from work impacts morale, employee motivation, and the quality of life. To create positive employee motivation, a company must treat employees as if they matter. Some people work for personal fulfillment while others work for love of what they do. Others work to achieve goals and to feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves. The bottom line is that everyone works for money and for reasons too individual to assign similarities to every worker (Heathfield, 2010).

In today's turbulent, often chaotic, environment, success depends on employees using their full talents. Yet in spite of the countless theories and practices, managers often view motivation as something of a mystery. In part this is because people are motivated by different things and in different ways. Additionally, these are times when de-layering and the flattening of hierarchies can create insecurity and lower staff morale. Furthermore, more staff than ever before are working part time or on limited-term contracts, and these employees is often especially hard to motivate. A positive motivation attitude and practice should improve productivity, quality, and service. Motivation helps people:

realize goals gain a positive point-of-view generate the power to change build self-esteem and potential direct their own development and help others with theirs (Motivating Your Staff in a Time of Change, 2010).

Current Training and Development Methods of Organization

Every company motivates their employees in different ways. The following will illustrate how a few bigger companies manage to get the job done. The first company is that of Qualcomm. There is no magic formula, no equation that logically computes success. That's the thing every well-intentioned company learns when it sets out to create an environment that motivates workers to perform at their highest levels and to entice others to work there. Qualcomm, which was ranked No. 23 on Fortune magazine's annual list of 100 Best Companies to Work For has put a lot of energy around the employee experience and how to improve it (Kinsman, n.d.).

The wireless technology developer understands that it needs creativity to thrive and to do that it needs a workplace that inspires employees and makes their lives easier and better. Fortune identifies Qualcomm as one of 14 companies on its 2006 list that provide medical insurance coverage free of charge to employees and their dependents. From time to time, Qualcomm looks at the cost of health care, and immediately thinks that having employees share in the cost is a good solution, but they admit that they know from surveys how highly their workers value that benefit so they look for other ways to save money (Kinsman, n.d.).

Qualcomm, long a proponent of carpooling, has a fleet of vehicles available during the day for carpool workers who need to run errands on their lunch hours. The borrowed car program gets high marks in employee surveys. There's a lot of two-way communication within the company and is encouraged at all levels. Another benefit that is provided is that of employees having access to dry cleaning, car washes and oil changes on site during the work day - all at discounted rates. They have found that if you can help remove some of the chores people have to do in their lives while they're working, it makes them appreciate the job a little more (Kinsman, n.d.)

Another company is that of Canon Production System. The goals of Canon Production System (CPS) are to manufacture better quality products at lower cost and deliver them faster. CPS aims at bringing about steady improvements in performance. There are three basic structures to CPS's system.

1. Quality Assurance (QA) System - Canon tries to make sure the best quality exists in all stages of development, production, and delivery to gain worldwide respect for their products.

2. Production Assurance (PA) System -- this is aimed at achieving just-in-time manufacturing, fast delivery, low cost, and also adopt the visual control philosophy. Canon has developed two subsystems to attain these PA goals: Canon's HIT System which is equivalent to just-in-time and Signal System. The HIT System means creating parts and products only when needed and only in the quantity needed. Canon uses either HIT cards or signals for this purpose.

3. Personnel Training (PS) System - in this system, Canon's employees are constantly educated through a life-long education program (Kotelnikov, n.d.).

Each Canon employee all receive a 55-page pocket-size CPS Notebook that explains CPS, how to achieve targets, and the award system in great detail. These CPS Notebooks also have special pages that are entitled My Self-Development Goals, Method, Tools, and Investment that are to be filled in by the worker. At Canon, it is the supervisor's duty to attempt to give each employee the widest possible range of skills. This is achieved both by formal training and through job rotation (Kotelnikov, n.d.).

Managers connect considerable importance to the direct involvement of employees in process design, process improvement, and the achievement of smooth harmonious production. In each working area, matrix charts are exhibited. The vertical axis lists all employees of all operators in the department and the horizontal axis is divided into columns, each describing a precise skill or task. The boxes in the chart are shaded alongside each employee to show at a glance the skills each has obtained (Kotelnikov, n.d.).

Canon employees are offering about 50 improvement ideas per year per employee.

Canon offers awards for employees, small groups and workshop units. These awards are intended to show management's approval for the efforts and the results. A unique feature of Canon's suggestion system is the lifetime collective award system. Each idea is given a certain number of points, and every year President's Awards are given to the 20 people who have collected the most points since the system's beginning. Each recipient is awarded a certain amount of money and a gold medal. There are also Presidential Awards for the most points in a year. The top 30 people receive a smaller amount of money and silver medals (Kotelnikov, n.d.).

A dilemma that is shared by many companies these days, and especially victims of the tech meltdown, is how to motivate employees who have seen their companies' stock price fall well below the strike price on their options. Many companies disdain re-pricing the options, both from public relations as well as a tax standpoint, nor are they keen on issuing options with below-market strike prices. A prime example of a company that is facing this issue is Cisco Systems, whose shares recently hit a 52-week low of $35.16. The networking giant, which has been largely holding fast to its heavy equity-based compensation plan, is starting to tinker with its option program (Schneider, 2001).

Cisco is looking to use its stock to motivate its employees in other ways. It is currently experimenting with a program that offers a limited project- based group incentive to help motivate and retain employees. Cisco's board is providing a pool of discretionary stock for each senior leader to use. The groups mostly contain 20-30 employees in engineering teams that develop and design software and hardware. Cisco's strategy is to accelerate some portion of the special grant, say 20% or 50%, to vest immediately when the first milestone is reached in the project. The rest vests more evenly over a set period of time. Goals are focused on time saving, cost reductions, increased productivity or some other milestone. So if a product normally takes 18-24 months to get to market, Cisco can entice a group of employees to reach a testing milestone in six months and get it to market within 12 months. The project-based incentive is only reserved for mission critical projects, where a group may need additional focus to go beyond the ordinary performance (Schneider, 2001).

Another company is that of Whole Foods Markets, Inc. which the largest natural foods retailer in the U.S. The company is known for selling natural and organic foods in over 100 stores. They compete in the following categories: produce, grocery, meat and poultry, seafood, bakery, prepared foods, specialty things such as beer, wine and cheese, nutritional supplements, body care, pet products, floral, household products, and an alternative pharmacy. Whole Foods… [END OF PREVIEW]

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