How do you get people to do things? To what extent, and in what ways, are employees motivated by different things? How can we accommodate differences?
The purpose of this paper is to identify different employee motivators and their significance to the organisational outcome thorough, recognising different motivational theories and their applications in different examples within the hospitality industry, with a particular focus in the restaurant business in the UK. Being a service industry, the employee motivation is paramount to the competitiveness and success of this aggressive and fast moving business.
The approach of this paper is to analyse motivational theories and academic research in the field, interviewing hospitality industry employees of different levels, and reflecting on examples of my application of different theories and tools during my professional career. Having worked in senior managerial roles within the hospitality industry for over 5 years, I can relate to the challenges and responsibilities of employee motivation and the impact it has on the success of an organisation.
Academic research indicates that most large hospitality groups in the UK, like large hotel chains and restaurant groups, appeared to have a dedicated professional human resource management system in place to motivate and to retain workers (Gill & Mathur, 2007) . However, during my professional life, I have faced a considerable lack of resources and guidance on the subject. Based on my experience, I consider it to be a particularly common pitfall to many small and medium size companies in the industry, increasing the difficulty of the employee motivation task.
The term “motivation” is derived from the Latin word “movere”, that means "to move." The topic of employee motivation plays a crucial role in the management field. Motivation has been studied and defined by many academics from different fields. Despite the significant effort to study motivation over the years, there is not a single universally accepted motivational theory. The lack of a unified motivation theory reflects the complexity of the human being and how cultural and diverse backgrounds affect us all.
Managers, not only in the hospitality industry but in any organization, must be able to identify and understand what are the different motivators and drivers for each individual they oversee, to be able to influence their behavior and purposely affect their performance positively. Motivation is perceived as an integral part of the performance equations at all levels within an organisation (Richard Steers, 2004) . Based on different motivation definitions by academics, combined with my own experience, I can define motivation as the different elements and forces that affect each individual’s perceptions and behaviours towards a goal. I believe these intrinsic and extrinsic elements or forces are in constant development as different goals and the environment changes over time. Thus, motivation is what make us do what we do, affects how we do it and it is constant change as we develop as human beings. During my career, I have managed over 45 employees. It was a valuable learning curve, not only from the operational skills learned, but also by understanding the importance of motivation of a team and as an individual driving them, as the only way to perform tasks and achieve different goals as desired. I have learnt that motivation is in constant change, as well as understanding that every individual is different and they are motivated by personal goals. When I joined the Company, the business was struggling financially and employees were suffering the consequences of poor management, lack of resources to perform their job and demotivation and ‘boreout’ due to repetitive, uninteresting and unchallenging tasks across all levels of the business (Philippe Rothlin and Peter Werder, 2008) . I immediately identified that employees were a...