Hrm - Motivation and Performance

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2. Why is human resource management in general and employee motivation in particular, critical to performance yet challenging for managers? How can managers ensure that they encourage a motivated workforce? Using articles from literature and practical examples develop comprehensive answers to these questions.

In today’s corporate environment, there is little room for managers to become nonchalant about their critical role in an organisations growth and development. Human Resource Management (HRM) is an innovative concept that is being employed by businesses all over the world as a measure to remain competitive, or achieve greater competitive advantage, in their respective industries. This essay will discuss what HRM is generally thought to be and involve, and why it is so essential at this point in time for organisations to adopt as an essential part of their business strategy. Employee motivation is a critical aspect of HRM as it relates to employee performance and therefore overall organisational performance. The hardships faced by managers when trying to implement strategies for employee motivation will be observed, as will the strengths and weaknesses of some possible approaches to obtaining and maintaining a motivated workforce.

The Importance of HRM.
Many organisations have observed the growing need to implement good HRM practices that are continually updated and improved. Broadly defined, “HRM refers to activities undertaken to attract, develop and maintain an effective workforce within an organisation” (Samson & Daft, 2005). When we break down this definition into its key elements, it can be seen that HRM is extremely complex and involves many dimensions including, but not limited to, competitive pressure, changing social contract, the labour market, new ways of working and stakeholder engagement (Barsky, 2006, Lecture 7). These elements all play a major role in determining how effective an organisation is in its respective field and how it reacts to changes in its competitive environment.

Kramer, McGraw and Schuler (1997) assert that in more recent times, competitive advantage is obtained by how an organisation manages its human resources (HR) as opposed to its management of information technology or ‘strategic positioning’. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are a prime example of an organisation who have been able to effectively integrate positive HRM practices in order to work towards an organisational goal of having a safer country by reducing heroin intake to the point of a ‘draught’, as well as obtaining a high rate of employee satisfaction (91%) recorded in 2003 (Way, 2004). It is organisations who strive to give their employees opportunities to further develop and add to their skills base that are seen as advantageous leaders throughout the economy. Further research has shown that “effective HRM has a positive impact on organisational performance, including higher employee productivity and stronger financial performance.” (Delaney & Huselid, 1996). Ultimately, by managing HR effectively, employers are able to ensure that employees are reasonably satisfied with their job and will in turn strive to achieve their best for their respective employer.

Employee motivation in relation to HRM.
Behaviour of any kind is often motivated by some force, be it internal or external. Motivation provokes “enthusiasm and persistence to pursue a certain course of action” (Samson & Daft, 2005), and is a key aspect of a managers role in ensuring that their workforce continue to do their assigned jobs well and productively. Barsky (2006) emphasises the concept that motivation involves a few key aspects. Individual needs create a desire to realize these needs, behaviour is characterised by such needs, and rewards ultimately gratify individuals. Finally, feedback is used to determine if the actions undertaken to satisfy particular needs were appropriate and can be employed again at another time. Because motivation in...
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