Motivational techniques are usually employed by different organization to ensure that their employees get job satisfaction in the process, improving the performance of the organization in question. The creation of a motivated and enthusiastic staff is one of the most challenging duties facing many Companies. The three Fortune 500 firms that will be looked at in to details in this article include; Wal-Mart, General Motors and ExxonMobil. These Companies totally understand that it is the employees who do a great share of every day to day running of the Companies operations and they should be motivated from time to time to continue improving their performance (Moshinskie, 2001). Employees are also privileged to have a direct responsibility for the customer relationship. Therefore, they need to be motivated to be in their best behaviors to be able to capture and retain customers, an important factor that will ensure a Company’s success.
Wal-Mart is a very big expansive Company with stores located in different parts of the world. It has been established that store staffs are hard to motivate because the jobs involved are usually far from being described as exciting. In addition to this, the Staff that the Company mostly employs consists of part-time staff or employees who usually find themselves in a poorly paid, less attractive position which has been proven to contribute to the high churn rate. This does not only apply to the part-time staff, the permanent employees are also subjected to the inability of climbing up the ladder by getting promotions due to the kind of hierarchical structure and geographical distributions of the Company’s stores (Anonymous 2004/2005). Wal-Mart has however been successful in building enthusiasm and raising the level of service among its employees by combining creatively standardized processes within individual initiative. This can be compared to a stage play where characters are given different roles, within a set structure with the directions from a script. This has worked perfectly well for Wal-Mart.
Exxon Mobil Company is known for its strategy of employing social, formal, and mental levers in its quest to implementing a working successful, retail staff motivation and management systems within its Company’s structures. This has been proven to improve not only an individual’s attitude towards work but also the way the whole team perceives the work that has been left under its responsibility to see it get done in good time. This strategy is of importance since it has been proven to strengthen employees’ understanding of the different roles assigned to them by the management in the line of duty. There is often the tendency to rely on the formal levers but it is always available to let the three levers blend to be able to achieve the benefits accrued from structures and systems that make it necessary for employees to individually contribute their thought to the daily running of the Company.
General Motors has successfully used the formal levers to improve its staff understanding of how the business is likely to be affected by their own actions. The Company has been successful in implementing this since it combines store operations management that is sophisticated with just enough degree of freedom at work place. Personal improvement of staff through training is combined with feedback sessions from employees and structures that are team-based. Wal-Mart has employed mental levers techniques to its Whole food Market builds team. The team has been given clear guidelines and the responsibility of making decisions in some well defined areas including the decision of who to recruit to join the team. The bonus payments are not based on individual performance but on the team. This works to encourage team work that will ensure the smooth running of the Company’s operations Kontoghiorghes, (2002).The employees are also allowed to access the sales and margin figures for all the departments and branches within the Company. Mental levers have been established to have the power to influence employees’ attitudes towards both the work given to them and the Company as a whole. General Motors has been successful in managing its staff attitudes by establishing a shred approach to solving problems and opinions on measuring objectives that look challenging. This has worked in establishing higher professional standards among its employees.
Wal-Mart has also been able to use social levers such as mutual responsibility, highly intensive dialogues, and exceptionally high levels of group identity. This is significant in ensuring that there exists a sense of involvement and community among its employees. Wal-Mart has adopted this through its ‘Morning Cheer’ for all of its employees and an annual meeting in Bentonville and branch visits by management which are held regularly. There are also organized annual employee visits to other branches that have the benefit of inculcating a sense of responsibility and community to the staff team by giving them the chance to decide on which new employees to take on after completing their trial period. There is also the opportunity for employees in the different departments to have exchange ideas and receive feedbacks which in the long run create a healthy rivalry and a grass-root channel that is potent for exchange of ideas between stores. In employing these methods the three companies have been successful in establishing strong and emotional ties that are highly motivating between the management and the employees by setting up a new social context to be applied in the day to day running of the Companies (Kontoghiorghes, 2001)
Wal-Mart, General Motors and Exxon Mobil have been known to apply the Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs motivational model. The hierarchy of needs is important in understanding human motivation. This theory is applicable in workplaces in ensuring that employers provide a workplace environment that encourage employees to achieve self- actualization (unique potential). According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, individual people are often motivated by their needs and that these need to be fully satisfied.
The Companies try the best they can to ensure that employees needs are provided to motivate them in their job. The three Companies ensure that their employees benefit from getting order enforcement, security, protection of elements and stability at their places of work. Team building sessions are also organized regularly to cultivate the feeling of community and affection between the employees. The employees need to feel that they are self-fulfilled and that they are on their way towards realizing their personal potential. Fulfilling employees ‘esteem needs is important in that they are able to acquire independence, dominance, managerial responsibility which is important towards ensuring that employees give the operations of the company the best they can.
Attribution theory has been used by Wal-Mart to motivate its employees by making them believe that participating in a learning experience is bound to steer the Company in the right direction. The employees need to understand that performance outcome needs to be attributed to controllable and unstable construct of effort. The employees are then equipped with the knowhow of how to explain their successes and failures. Being a Company with many employees, Individual employees need to understand that they need to take responsibility for the job entrusted to them and that incase anything goes wrong, they need to come up with proper explanations. Exxon Mobil is one Company that is profit oriented and needs to uphold its status in the industry. The Company uses the Expectancy-Value Theory to ensure that employees are aware of the outcomes of their behaviors. Employees are empowered with the knowledge of the correlation that exists between outcome and expectation. This theory depends heavily on what the employee can achieve. In conclusion, these theories are of great importance in the quest to ensure that employees are greatly motivated to produce results that will lead to the success of the Companies (Webb, 2003).
Author Unknown; Employee Motivation. 2004-2005. Retrieved from: www.workmotivationincentives.com. Accessed on 24/11/2009.
Kontoghiorghes, C. 2001. A holistic approach toward motivation to learn in the workplace. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 14(4), 45-59.
Kontoghiorghes, C. (2002). Predicting motivation to learn and motivation to transfer learning back to the job in a service organization: A new systemic model for training effectiveness. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 15(3), 114-129.
Moshinskie, J. (2001). How to keep e-learners from e-scaping. Performance Improvement, 40(6), 28-35.
Webb, Robert L.; Motivation in the workplace; 2003; Retrieved from: www.motivation-tools.com. Accessed on 24/11/2009.