Human Motivation and the Hourly Worker’s Job Performance - Motivation Essay Example

Human Motivation and the Hourly Worker’s Job Performance

 

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Introduction and Work Scenario

The purpose of this short paper is to examine a scenario where motivation becomes a factor of performance and success.  Upon researching the subject of motivation, it was discovered that many elements influence motivation especially when taking the point of view of corporation, team leader and hourly employee.  For the purpose of this paper, motivation will be discussed with the following scenario in mind.

You are an hourly employee at a large mortgage company in California where you are a part of team of twenty people and division of loan administration specializing in at risk loans with a management team of three people but this does not include the team leader.  Your hourly wage and benefit package is contingent on your regular and consistent performance evaluation.  Any increase in wage above and beyond that of increase of living expenses is evaluated by your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly performance measured in the amount of customer packages you complete.  With the need of income and security in mind; what else motivates you as such an employee?

Motivation and Higher Needs

Motivation can be a complex issue for a leader to face when managing a team of different personalities.  Many different things motivate people and influence their behaviors while performing a task.  A good leader will work to understand what motivates each individual on the team.  This brought up the issue of needs and how to get them met by the situation.  Maslow’s Theory of Needs, suggests that individuals have a range of needs and will be motivated to fulfill whichever is the greatest need at that moment in time.  In this construct, there are lower-order and higher-order needs (See Figure 1 below).  The lower-order needs are dominant until they are at least partially satisfied.

Figure 1.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  (Robbins, 2001, p. 156)

Maslow predicts a normal person will turn their attention to higher-order needs once the lower ones are taken care of (Motivation, 2005, par. 3).  Lower-order needs include items like making a living for food and shelter while higher-order needs are more in tune with personality such as esteem and worth.  A team leader will understand how his or her team members perceive themselves within the team and what needs are important to each member.  This will lead to them offering the team ways to make work interesting and challenging while encouraging members to take ownership of tasks.  This encourages the pursuit of goals.  In order to increase production and motivate employees, it is a good idea to create an incentive program or means of recognizing a job well done.  This will further motivate team members to work hard toward not only meeting the lower-order needs but also achieving higher-order needs.  Once an employee is acknowledged, a higher level of pride and respect is achieved.  This inspires them to take advantage of new learning opportunities and lead within the team.  While doing this, it is important to keep the work place safe and clean as this reflects pride.  It is also important for the leader to give regular praise and positive feedback when the standard of work is high.  On the other hand, it is also important for the leader to offer support during times of struggle and conflict in order to decrease the influence of stress.

Application of Theories to Work Scenario

For managers who put his or her people first; they are more focused on nurturing and training.  Research suggests leaders are more interested in mentoring and training their team rather than focusing on output of numbers or turn around time.  This development in team building allows for “providing people opportunities to learn from their work rather than taking them away from their work to learn” (Hughes, 2004 p. 4).  It is clear for management to be successful; it must communicate its vision but also create positive reinforcement (See Figure 2.).  Once key members understand people’s needs, then action can be taken to improve management’s role.  Only then could a leader be taken seriously.

Figure 2.  Job Performance Motivational Model.  (Kreisman, 2002, p. 10)

Strong relationships at work are key to retaining an organization’s workforce.  Most individuals want and need colleagues to think, work and create with them.  Research displayed that coworker support and acknowledgment is a key factor to retaining talent (Kreisman, 2002, p. 22).  In fact studies have found that many employees rely upon the work place for social interactions and friendships to blossom.  It is found these employees place high value on affiliation (Kreisman, 2002, p. 22).

Recognition and Incentive Programs

Finally, there are many things a leader can do to motivate his or her team members, inspire excellence and therefore build closer relationships.  Rewards could be in the form of wage increases.  These wage increases are not decided by individual or team performances as research has suggested, this leads to competition negatively influencing performance due to a team focusing on winning and not working.  Therefore, wage incentives are based on meeting organizational objectives.  In the mean time, teams are rewarded badges, certificates for quality service and opportunities for training of new skills.  This makes the team experience more satisfying while creating challenging work where job security is present.

 

Conclusion

The purpose of this short paper was to examine a scenario where motivation became a factor of performance and success.  Upon researching the subject of motivation, it was discovered that many elements influenced motivation especially when examining the hourly wage worker within the team structure.
References
Franken, R. E. (1994).  Human Motivation, 3rd ed. California: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Hughes, R.  (2004). Leadership development: past, present and future.  Human Resource Planning.

Kreisman, B.  (2002).  Insights into Employee Motivations, Commitment and Retention.  Denver: Insights Program Press.

Motivation.  Retrieved February 26, 2007 from the World Wide Web: http://www.chnto.co.uk/management/ManagemenMaterials/HTML/motivation.html.

Odiorne, G.S.  (1987).  The Human Side of Management.  Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books.

Robbins, S.  (2001).  Organizational Behavior.  Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

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