Reinforcement and Employees

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Q3. What tools does Walmart use to motivate employees? How might a lack of motivation affect associates and how should managers respond? Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me an L! Give me a squiggly! Give me an M! Give an A! Give me an R! Give me a T! What’s that spell? Walmart! Whose Walmart is it? It’s my Walmart ! Who’s number one? The customer! Always! The good times continue at Walmart, and so do hard work and achievement. For many employees, seeing peers rewarded for a job well done proves highly motivational. Executives at Walmart refer to the company as one big family. There are no grunts or gophers –no employee, no matter how new, is thought of as low person on the totem. According to the company’s “open door” policy, all associates are encouraged to speak freely, share concerns, and express ideas for improving daily operations. In return, they can expect managers to treat all discussions fairly with an open mind. The policy is right out of Walton’s playbook. “Listen to your associates,” Walton urged. “They’re the best idea generators.” The founder’s wisdom is routinely reaffirmed through the oft-repeated quote that “nothing constructive happens in Bentonville” – a reference to Walton headquarters. In Walton’s grass – roots ethic, local employees are the ones most likely to produce fresh ideas. One significant way managers can meet higher motivational needs is to shift power down from the top of organization and share it with employees to enable them to achieve goals. Empowerment is power sharing, the delegation of power or authority to subordinates in an organization. Increasing employee motivation for task accomplishment because people improve their own effectiveness, choosing how to do a task and using their creativity. Empowerment is one way managers promote self- reinforcement and self- efficacy, as defined in the discussion of social learning. Empowering employees involves giving them four elements that enable them to act more freely accomplish their jobs: information knowledge, power, and rewards. First of all, employees receive information about company performance. In companies where employees are fully empowered, all employees have access to all financial and operational information. Secondly, employees have knowledge and skills to contribute to company goals. Companies use training programs and other development tools to help people acquire the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to organizational performance. The third motivation is employees have the power to make substantive decision. Empowered employees have the authority to directly influence work procedures and organizational performance, such as through quality circles or self- directed work teams. And last but not least, employees are rewarded based on company performance. Organizations that empower workers often reward them based on the results shown in the company’s bottom line. Organizations may also use other motivational compensation programs described in Exhibit 16.8 to tie employee efforts to company performance.

Exhibit 16.8
Many of today’s organizations are implementing empowerment programs, but they are empowering workers to varying degrees. At some companies, empowerment means encouraging workers’ idea while managers retain final authority for decisions; at others it means giving employees almost complete freedom and power to make decisions and exercise initiative and imagination. Current methods of empowerment fall along a continuum, as illustrated in exhibit 16.9 . The continuum runs from situation in which front- line workers have almost no discretion, such as on a traditional assembly line, to full empowerment, where workers even participate in formulating organizational strategy.

Exhibit 16.9
Perhaps the most important things managers can do to enhance organizational communication and dialogue can encourage people to communicate honestly with one another. Subordinates will feel free to transmit...
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