Generating Performance from Minimum Wage Employees

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Works Cited

Bakkee, Dennis. Joy at work: A revolutionary approach to fun on the job. 1st ed. Seattle: PVG, 2


Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2005

Koch, Jennifer. "Tips for motivating a Low-Wage Workforce" Workforce Management August

2005: 57-58

Laliberte, Richard. "For love, not money: 10 ways to make your minimum-wage employees

passionate about their work" Success August 1998. 12 October2005.


Nelson, John. "High Impact for Low-Wage Workers" Workforce Management November 2004:


Thesis: Motivating minimum wage employees is often a difficult task because they are looked down up on as pieces of machinery – when they quit working, buy a new one. These employees can be motivated using ideas such as simple rewards, or kind words. I. Managers find it difficult to motivate low wage employees A. Min wage employees tend to be over looked as positive assets 1. Managers expect high turn over

2. They are less educated and not considered worth the effort 3. We should tolerate whatever performance as long as the job's getting done

II. Minimum wage employees can be motivated
1.Let employees participate in decision-making
a.The people actually doing the work know the most
2.Let employees see your concern
a.A pat on the back or a simile is a universal language
3.Motivate with positive reinforcement
a.Generally employees respond to polite request to work
b.People respond to this negative reinforcement in a negative way 4.Participative leadership
a.Manager needs to get their hands dirty
b.Shows employees they've put the time in too
5.Use a mentorship system
a.Put less experienced (new) employee with a experienced positive employee 6.Little rewards go a long way
a.Break the rules every once in a while
b.They don't cost much, nor take a lot of time
7.Guide the minimum wage worker toward a career
a.Employees need direction most are high school graduates
b.College students not sure what career they want to pursue c.May have talents of value for the company
III. Conclusion

One of the biggest demands managers face is that of motivating employees to work together. While it's difficult enough to motivate the experienced, career worker, many supervisors find themselves especially puzzled when it comes to encouraging production from minimum wage employees--people who tend to be younger, less experienced, and less inspired to stick with the job as part of their career path. There are a lot of these workers to be motivated every day, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 5.7 million U.S. adults earning at or below the prevailing minimum wage. These employees constitute a large segment of the working population--more than 9 percent of the nation's total "hourly worker" population is working today for minimum wage. Managers often "write off" the whole issue of motivation when it comes to minimum wage workers. They expect--and plan for--high turn-over among their minimum wage staff. They may refer to minimum wage employees as "grunts", and they refuse to offer these employees professional recognition commensurate with other workers. Managers may even resist allowing minimum wage workers to socialize with the rest of the subordinate staff. This treatment, I believe, has come about because we tend to expect less from minimum wage workers based simply on the fact that they're paid less than others whom we employ. We've conditioned ourselves to believe that these workers cannot be adequately motivated to perform well, and we presume that we should just tolerate whatever performance level we get from them as long as they show up for work and don't cause trouble. My experience working as and with minimum wage workers, however, has demonstrated that this kind of short-sighted...
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