Human resource managers all across the globe face universal problem of keeping their workforce inspired enough to make them stay back willingly in wake of increased turnover whilst churning maximum volumes of productive work in minimum time span continually. With world having reduced into a global village; many transnational/multinational companies are spreading their wings to cover wider markets worldwide. Increased expectations from life, hope for a good standard of living which includes spending quality and quantity time upon ones own personal interests…workers of the new age millennium are in no way similar to their counterparts the generation earlier.
Earlier workforce could be motivated by traditional techniques akin to the Jeremy Bentham’s ‘carrot and stick’. The concept was propounded in the early years of Industrial Revolution. It views every human being to be self-interested. They are programmed to encourage activities which help them find pleasure and prefer to avoid anything that gives them pain. This was extended in the work place by inspiring workers with greater rewards for expected behaviors and penalties for undesirable behaviors. Reward and punishment still form the basis of inducing desired behaviors among employees yet with increase in education, skill level and basic standard of living employees want more.
Two factor theory by Herzberg propagated the two factor theory which says that two factors work collectively at the work place. One can be referred to as the motivators which have direct impact on motivating an employee. Features linked to the nature of job like achievement, personal development, competence and recognition that come from the actual performance of the job serve as motivators that help lifting the spirits of the employee to work harder. If they are present they motivate while in their absence motivation is lowered considerably.
The other factor is referred to as hygiene factor and includes things that are outside the preview of the job. Things like working atmosphere, promotion, company policies, salary, decent working conditions and other benefits associated with work place are factors whose presence has no such evident role in motivating but when taken away people are unhappy and want to get them back. The underlying current of this theory is to make managements understand how to care for the well being of people and their happiness so that in turn their interests are well taken care of.
Another theory which helps bearing in mind is the Equity theory by Stacy Adams. It says that employees are motivated by their perception of the reward structure relative to the inputs applied and compare it with their peers. If an employee is given an increase of 10% increase while for the same job his peer gets 20% hike, the former will have the tendency to balance the inequality by either of the following ways such as reduced production, absenteeism or voluntary resignation. So it is not only equality but also perception that they are being treated equally which motivates employees.
Reinforcement theory put forward by B.F Skinner applies to new age organizations in a more apt way. It suggests that by varying the organizational environment expressively, employees can be motivated significantly. He holds that instead of concentrating on the internal factors like emotions, feelings and other behaviors of the employee for which we have not much control, it is better to improve the external environment more positively.
Every organization spends a major chunk in attracting talent and more so to retain them and training them to suit their needs. When one fine day they resign, it is a matter of concern. Any organization with its limited resources cannot go on with this practice. In order to keep hold of employees and induce them with greater productivity a few aspects can be kept in preview.
o Ensure right person on the right job. Any discrepancy in the two means fall out of the dual relationship sooner or later.
o Management should take steps to enrich job with variety of activities. Continued performance of single activity leads to boredom and descend in productivity besides willingness to work fruitfully. Job rotation across functions is also one of the ways to develop employees and make them perceive their role in organization meaningful and fulfilling.
o Make the goals contained in the job explicit, unambiguous and significant and ditto for the expectations from the employee in terms of performance. Goal-setting theory says specific goals enhance performance. Difficult goals when accepted show superior performance than easily achievable ones.
o Fair performance appraisal.
o Ensure application of equity in the system. No employee should feel they are being under estimated or perceive they are being given unequal treatment.
o Document and individualize rewards to performance.