1.0 Background of the Study
Employee performance is a crucial backbone to business success and no business with underperforming employees will be strong enough to survive against the competition. Issues of performance and reward are central to the discipline of HRM given that they underpin the effort-reward exchange in the employment relationship. Their operation at the individual, group and organizational levels, however, renders them complex and often contradictory. All major stakeholders – managers, workers, trade unions, shareholders and customers – have an interest in performance and reward but each also has their own agenda which may conflict with that of other stakeholders. Added layers of complexity exist in the form of contextual influences emanating from society, the economy and government. Organizations seeking to deal with performance and reward at a strategic level must grapple with the tensions arising from these multiple goals and influences. This makes the area ripe for investigation and the researcher, therefore, seeks to deal with performance and reward which demonstrate the diversity of interest. If an employee knows that he does not perform as well as expected and has the skills required to make a clear improvement, it might be that he lost his motivation at some point in his career. The might have been overlooked for or refused a promotion and he might then feel underpaid and undervalued. Or he might just not see the point of working any harder as they have to. In these cases, it is important to understand the employee by having a close relationship between employees and manager. Only by understanding the employee’s motivational needs it is possible to take the right steps. Some employees strive under praise, others react stronger to negative enforcements such as ‘performance discussions’. Some employees are only motivated by money and if a pay increase cannot be justified or is not possible, a department reward program linked to strict, but achievable targets might be feasible and can appeal to the employee’s character. Workers in any organization need something to keep them working. Most times the salary of the employee is enough to keep him or her working for an organization. However, sometimes just working for salary is not enough for employees to stay at an organization. An employee must be motivated to work for a company or organization. If no motivation is present in an employee, then that employee’s quality of work or all work in general will deteriorate. The average workplace is about midway between the extremes of high threat and high opportunity. Motivation by threat is a dead-end strategy, and naturally staffs are more attracted to the opportunity side of the motivation curve than the threat side. Motivation is a powerful tool in the work environment that can lead to employees working at their most efficient levels of production (Steinmetz, 1983). In order for an employee to improve their performance levels, they need to have a clear understanding on their own strengths and weaknesses and how their performance is perceived. There can be a wide gap of perception of an employee’s performance between the employee and the manager. Therefore an employee might believe that they are working really hard and are very effective, but the manager thinks that they are not conscientious and thorough enough and could work a lot harder. In order to enable the employee to improve his performance these gaps need to be identified and approached. The best way to do this is through regular appraisals with both the employee and the manager rating their perception of an employee’s performance honestly and separately. In the meeting the different perceptions can be identified and discussed openly. Both parties should also bring example with into the appraisal meeting to help them to explain their perception. Lastly it is important that the employee knows that the employee’s behaviour...
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