How to Motivate Workers During Hard Times

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Management Pages: 7 (2326 words) Published: December 18, 2012
The organization is experiencing a tough time, confronting with both the outside pressure of economic downturn and the inside problem of low motivation level. To fight this hard time, it is important to explore applicable and effective methods to motivate employees within the organization. This essay aims to take the view of the leader of this organization to discuss the reasons that cause this demotivation and how to motivate the organization’s staff applying motivational theories. (This essay assumes that the organization is unable to provide its workers with monetary motivators, hence only non-financial motivation approaches are examined.)

Possible Sources of Demotivation

To decide ‘how to motivate’, the first step should be ‘what to motivate’. Apparently, workers’ demotivation is caused by the delay in the pay increase. However, there are far more reasons behind these people’s demotivation and the causes can be eliminated through various methods other than increasing wages.

Limited Communication
Workers may only see the fact that the company is unwilling to pay them more. They do not have a clear idea about the organization’s current financial position and are not informed about difficulties that the organization is facing. This situation can be explained by poor communication within the organization. An autocratic leadership style and a poor communication system could both contribute to communicational inefficiency. An autocratic leadership style refers to the leadership style that the leader gains the whole control of the decision making and the goal setting process without the participation of subordinates (Lewin, Lippitt, and White, 1939).According to Hackman& Johnson (2009), an autocratic leader only do one-way communication (which is more likely to occur during the time of crisis), resulting in misunderstanding and confusion of employees. Besides, employees may feel their relationship with the organization becomes weaker, as they are excluded from decision making and information sharing. These people may end up only focusing on their personal benefits rather than thinking at the organizational level. Improper design of the communication system also affects the quality of communication. For example, information is distorted or lost when passing down the hierarchies (this is possible as the organization is medium-sized and has several layers), the communication method used does not suit the situation (e.g. use email to deliver an emergent decision) etc. When workers find it hard to communicate, they tend to communicate less and less and further decrease the quality of communication.

Lack a Sense of Belonging
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1954), without fulfilling the social needs (i.e. sense of belonging and love), it is hard to motivate a person further towards the organization’s goal. This is easily understandable. When a worker does not perceive himself as a ‘family member’ of an organization, he feels he is less responsible for the organization and cares more about his own benefits. He may desire a higher pay while being less hard-working. Possible triggers of this problem can be the absence of group works, an indifferent organizational culture and too little responsibilities being allocated. According to Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne effect, team working is a positive stimulus to one’s performance. When working in a team, a sense of belonging is created as team members feel they are bonded together (Jeffery A.LePine, 2008). If employees spend most of their time working individually, they may have a sense of alienation and hence demotivated. Also, if the organization is apathetic to its staff, its staff will use the same attitude towards the organization. Employees feel they are not valued as their personal needs are not detected and fulfilled. If they perceive themselves as unimportant parts in the organization, they are certainly demotivated (Richard Denny, 2002) and value...
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