It is conventional wisdom that employees with a "good attitude" are more productive. Put another way, happy or satisfied employees are more motivated and better workers. Enabling Factors
Before motivation can be activated, there must be a satisfactory level of the enabling factors in the employee's work place. Thus, each of the following must be satisfactory to avoid dissatisfaction among employees.
1. Adequate compensation
. Compensation (especially salary) alone is not sufficient to create a happy employee. But the compensation package (i.e., salary and fringe benefits) must be adequate to prevent unhappiness among employees. It is important to recognize that compensation (nor any of the other enabling factors) will not create a lasting motivation among employees. It is equally important to understand that compensation must be adequate as defined by the employee, which may be unrelated to marketplace pay or the manager's opinion.
. Employees must perceive that company policies are fair and reasonable. Thus, work must be distributed equally and fairly, schedules must be assigned rationally and in accordance with a set of unbiased rules that have been communicated to employees. If policies are perceived as unnecessarily strict and outside the bounds of reason, employees will resent them and dissatisfaction will result.
3. Co-worker relationships
. Employees must be able to work together, which requires they engage in positive social relationships. Good employee relationships can be a positive force in the workplace. Some employers go so far as to form social or athletic groups of employees to promote better co-worker relationships. Regardless of the emphasis placed on this aspect of the job, it is imperative that trust, respect and cooperation is present among the workers.
Without these traits the employees will find it difficult to work together and dissatisfaction is the likely result.
4. Job security
. Employees must feel their jobs are not threatened so long as they do them well. When there is constant fear of dismissal, it creates a tense atmosphere and rumors flourish. Managers must reassure employees if rumors circulate and provide employees with the verbal support needed to make them comfortable about job security.
. The manager must provide supervision that is firm, fair, informative and consistent. In addition, the manager must set an example for employees to follow that is congruent with his expectations of employees. The manager sets the tone for all aspects of the job through the supervision he provides. If supervision is lax or contradictory, employees believe the manager doesn't care what they do or his response is unpredictable. In either case, they don't know what to expect from the manager. Activating factors
Providing all the enabling factors does not yield a motivated workforce. To accomplish this the manager must attend to each of the following activating factors.
1. Achievement and recognition
. The number-one factor in creating a motivated employee is providing the opportunity for achievement and then recognizing it when achievement occurs. Employees are provided tasks to complete and then evaluated on how well these tasks are performed. Eventually, this involves increasing responsibility to employees. Examples include responsibility for maintaining proper inventory, sales responsibilities for a department and other opportunities for the employee to achieve.
Recognition for good performance ranges from recognition among the employees' peers to special rewards such as preferential parking or work scheduling. Some managers would argue that bonuses and pay increases should be used to recognize achievement. While this will be appreciated as a form of recognition, it is not necessary and the effect will be short-lived. Therefore, if pay is to be used as a form of recognition, I suggest using a bonus rather than permanent pay increases. Bonuses are viewed by employees as direct rewards for their performance and are paid in direct proportion to their achievement. Pay raises, on the other hand, are less directly associated with positive results and they are paid long after the event which triggered the raise.
. A good reward for achievement is to give the employee more responsibility. This has a two-fold effect. First, more responsibility says that you appreciate their work, believe in their capability and respect them enough to give them additional responsibility. Second, with increased responsibility usually comes greater financial rewards. Increased responsibility will motivate the employee to be more productive and the increase in pay is justified by their greater productivity.
3. The work
. The manager should attempt to construct jobs for employees that are challenging. This means providing tasks to develop skills and require that employees extend themselves. Don't confuse this with increased work quotas or adding mindless tasks. These tasks increase the work load, but do not provide a challenge.
Adding challenge often means giving additional responsibility to employees. All of this requires proper training to ensure that an individual has the ability to tackle the job and do it successfully. In other words, management has the responsibility to insure employees are given the "tools" they need to do the jobs assigned them. If employees are properly trained and then given new challenges, this will contribute to their motivation and productivity.
. Finally, to be motivated, employees must see there are possibilities for growth at their place of work. If they become stuck at the current level they will become frustrated or may leave. Therefore, the company should promote from within to the extent possible. Summary
Motivated employees are more productive workers. To motivate employees it is necessary to first have a satisfactory level on the five enabling factors. However, motivation is created only by attention to the activating factors. Both conditions must be met before it is possible to provide an atmosphere in which employees will develop a positive attitude.