Employee Motivation Research Paper

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Motivating Employees

Introduction

Employees are motivated by both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. In order for the reward system to be effective, it must encompass both sources of motivation. Studies have found that among employees surveyed, money was not the most important motivator, and in some instances managers have found money to have a de-motivating or negative effect on employees.  This research paper addresses the definition of rewards in the work environment context, the importance of rewarding employees for their job performance, motivators to employee performance such as extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, Herzberg’s two-factor theory in relation to rewarding employees, Hackman and Oldman model of job enrichment that identifies how well-designed jobs lead to high motivation, superior performance and employee satisfaction, and Vroom’s expectancy theory. In addition, strategies for rewarding employees’ performance and steps to prepare for and give effective rewards for job performance that meet and exceed customer expectations are also discussed.

Definition(s)
DeSimone, et al (2009) defines work motivation as “the psychological processes that cause the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal directed.” (p. 44). According to Mathis & Jackson (2010), “Motivation is the desire within a person causing that person to act. People usually act for one reason: to reach a goal. Motivation is a goal-directed drive; complex and individualized, and managerial strategies and tactics must be broad based to address the motivation concerns of individuals. (pp. 72-73). Like a child being given a chocolate cupcake and a big hug after cleaning his or her room, rewards and recognition can be powerful tools for employee motivation and performance improvement. According to Cicerone et al (2007), “Rewards are a powerful method for encouraging good job performance. When managers don’t recognize, encourage and reward employees for job performance that meets or exceeds customers’ expectations, exceptional or superior work may not be repeated and employees can upset customers when managers don’t recognize, encourage, and reward them. However, rewards must be effectively used” (¶. 1) Cicerone et al. (2007) describes a reward “as a consequence that occurs after an employee’s job performance and encourages (or discourages) repeated occurrences of that performance. Whether a consequence serves as a reward (or not) depends on its effect” (¶. 4)”. Rewards are effective means for bolstering positive job performance.

According to Ryan “many types of rewards and recognition have direct costs associated with them, such as cash bonuses and stock awards, and a wide variety of company-paid perks, like car allowances, paid parking, and gift certificates. Other types of rewards and recognition may be less tangible, but still very effective. These "non-monetary" rewards include formal and informal acknowledgement, assignment of more enjoyable job duties, opportunities for training, and an increased role in decision-making” (¶. 1) What motivates employees?

If a manager does not recognize, encourage and reward employees for job performance that fulfill or exceed expectations, employees may become disconcerted - resulting in lack of motivation and poor or below standard performance. Cicerone et al (2007) states, “If an employee’s job performance is followed by a consequence and the job performance occurs more often, then that consequence was a reward. On the other hand, if the job performance doesn’t happen more often, then the consequence was not a reward. (¶. 7) According to Ivancevich et al (2007), “The success of an organization depends on efficiency within the workplace and employees who display a high quality work ethic and are eager to demonstrate a commitment of excellence in their job performance. Reward programs attract qualified people to join an...
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