ILM3 Management: Understanding how to motivate to improve performance

Understand the factors that influence motivation levels in the workplace We can define motivation as the desire and willingness to do something and the inner force that helps individuals achieve their goals. Understanding what motivates employees and what employers can do to motivate their employees has been the focus of research for many years.

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This is mainly because motivated employees can provide an organisation with a distinctive advantage and a competitive edge and by being more productive they can help the organisation thrive and survive.

In a public service organisation such as West North West Homes we would expect staff to be motivated partly by the desire to have a positive impact on others. Someone working within a sales team may be expected to be motivated by making progress and ‘winning’. However it must also be considered that a person working within the social sector needs reward and progression.

A sales person may also be motivated by providing an excellent service to the customer and having a positive impact on others. It is often considered that money is the defining factor in staff motivation. However when asked to rank a range of factors that relate to personal motivation, money often features less in choosing a job.

There are also many other factors that affect motivation; however research shows that two of the largest contributory factors are the cultural and environmental facets of an organisation. If negativity exists in either of these components employee motivation has a good potential of spiralling downwards. In my experience, if an organisation cultural atmosphere is plagued with negativity this can have a terrible effect on the mind set of employees which can be difficult to change.

Employers who invest time and effort into developing a positive working environment often find their employees are happier and this attitude becomes part of the organisations culture. However if no effort is given to this a wave of pessimism can overtake and result in low morale and motivation because there is nothing positive to strive towards. Environmental conditions tend also to impact on motivation in the workplace.

I work in an office that is sparse with bad air ventilation, and bad lighting that can sometimes give me headaches, this can slow down my productivity and can lead me to be becoming less motivated. I feel that if employees are motivated, the environment should promote efficiency and allow staff to be comfortable and have the tools needed to do a good job.

There are many other contributing factors that effect motivation in the workplace. These include staff reward and recognition, security and job advancement and feeling of respect.

Employees who lack motivation are more likely to be sloppy within their work, but on the other hand if they are valued and provided with some initiative they will probably take more pride in their work and strive to do better. Job security can result in higher motivation.

WNWHL has recently gone through the process of a review which meant many employees have spent each day worrying whether or not they are going to get the axe, this can become distracting, and fear can overtake concentration abilities. Employees are also more willing to work hard if they can see advancement opportunities. If I were to consider what motivates me in the workplace, respect would probably be second on my list.

A lack of respect would lead me to have poor motivation, and I don’t think anyone would like to be treated poorly and without respect. When I have respect from my manager I feel I’m more apt to respond and will go out of my way to meet the mission and goals of my organisation. Obviously it is important to remember that respect is a two way street.

As I mentioned respect would come second on the list of my five core values, listed are the other values I feel I could not function without: •Having a positive impact

•Personal development
•Flexibility
•Recognition

The work place brings together people from different backgrounds, philosophies, cultures and personalities. I am happy to say I work in a diverse organisation, which I feel can encourage cooperation, teamwork and creative thinking.

Personality differences can mean that individuals take varying approaches to work style and interacting with other employees, managers, clients and competitors. When employers understand how personality affect behaviour in the workplace this can help determine what motivates the employees to perform or behave in a certain way. Workplace motivation can be influenced by individual differences.

Using Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Test my personal intelligence is classed as Interpersonal. People with Interpersonal characteristics have the ability to relate to others, they understand the relationship between people and their situation and have excellent communication skills.

The preferred learning style is human contact, communications, cooperation and team work. Gardener identified six other types of intelligence: •Linguistic: interested in words and language

•Logical-mathematical: logical thinkers
•Musical: has musical ability
•Bodily-kinaesthetic: good body movement and control
•Spatial-Visual: has great visual and special perception
•Intrapersonal: is very self-aware

Interpersonal people have high emotional intelligence which fits in with my role as a Tenancy Support Officer. It is a good fit with job roles that involve counselling, support, advice, holistic services. Psychologists, doctors, healers, carers and coaches are other examples of roles that fit into this intelligence.

People who work in these roles often find a sense of achievement from having a positive impact on other. If a person’s job role is not in natural fit with their intelligence style they may lack motivation and become disinterested in their role. In organisations such as WNWHL we pride ourselves on putting the customer first and going the extra mile.

If employees were fitted into roles within the organisation which were not of their calling the company ethos may go out of the window which would have a negative impact on the organisation as a whole. If a customer had a bad experience with a representative of WNWHL this would make it harder for other representatives of the company to get the customer to engage.

This would then have a negative impact on a team as other team members may feel they are having to over compensated for someone who isn’t ‘pulling their weight’. This could lead to stress and disharmony within a team which in turn could affect other productivity and motivation, affecting the overall performance of the organisation.

Understand how a theory of motivation can be used to improve performance levels Maslow (1943) put forward the ’hierarchy of needs theory’ which saw human needs in a form of hierarchy, ascending from the lowest to the highest. He argued that the lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need and once one set of needs is satisfied, this kind of need ceases to be a motivator.

The five needs are: •Physiological needs – These are the most basic human needs which are important for sustenance like food, water, shelter, sleep etc. Maslow argued that unless physiological needs are satisfied to a degree, no other motivating factor can work. •Safety or security needs – These are needs to be free of physical danger and emotional harm like fear of losing a job, property, food or shelter.

It relates to security, protection and stability in the personal events of everyday life. •Social needs- These are needs for love, affection and belongingness and social acceptance. •Esteem – Once people’s social needs are satisfied, they look for esteem. This need produces satisfaction with power, prestige and self-confidence.

It includes both internal esteem factors like self-respect, autonomy, achievement and external factors such as recognition and attention as well as a personal sense of competence. •Self-actualisation – This need is the drive to become what one is capable of becoming. It’s the need to grow and use abilities to the fullest potential. It includes growth and self-fulfilment by achieving one’s potential to accomplish something.

Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs triangle, as each need is substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant e.g. esteem needs become more dominant after social needs are satisfied. Once a need is substantially satisfied, its stop to be motivating.

The crux of Maslow’s theory is focus on finding out the level of hierarchy the person is in and focusing on satisfying their needs and the needs above it. Maslow’s theory has been used by many employees across the globe. The theory’s ease of understanding and intuitive logic makes it easy to implement, but there is no empirical evidence to validate the theory and there is no metric to measure the success of the theory after being implemented.

So the quantitate impact of Maslow’s theories cannot accurately be measured. Frederick Herzberg’s (1959) famous quote says ‘If you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do’. Herzberg’s motivational theory has a two component approach and is known as the two-factor theory.

His theory suggests that things that prevent dissatisfaction are not the same things that create satisfaction. (Herzberg 1959) When people are dissatisfied (de-motivated) with their work it is usually because of discontent with environmental factors which he terms as ‘Hygiene Factors’.

These hygiene factors include things such as security, status, relationship with subordinates, personal life, salary, work conditions, relationship with manager, company policy and administration. These are the factors whose
presence in the organisation are natural and do not lead to motivation; however its absence does not lead to de-motivation.

Hygiene factors include the work and the organisational environment. The second component of the theory involves factors whose absence causes no dissatisfaction but whose presence has a huge motivational value. Herzberg terms these factors as ‘Motivational factors’ which are factors such as growth prospects, career progression and advancement, responsibility, challenges, recognition and achievement.

The theory concentrates around the fact that the opposite of satisfaction in not dissatisfaction and merely removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying. Herzberg stresses that both the approaches (hygiene and motivational) should be done simultaneously to be effective.

There are similarities here with Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in that the best outcome is that of a person being able to achieve a level of self-actualisation. Good working conditions where staff can develop and grow keeps them motivated. This will in turn be reflected in the organisational output and quality of the work being done.

Job satisfaction and personal fulfilment will improve productivity more sustainably then simply providing for basic needs. Using the theories I have mentioned to improve employee’s performance would require an employer to recognise their personal differences and have a commitment to their development. Within WNWHL we have regular one-to-ones, appraisals and performance reviews.

We discuss how we can improve the service and overall team performance in staff meetings. Twice a year employees of WNWHL attend staff briefings where teams and individuals are rewarded for their exceptional performance. There is also a buzz magazine that goes out to customer and employees where personal and team achievements are congratulated. Using Frederick Herzberg’s theory it is necessary that any ‘hygiene’ needs of staff are met.

In the Tenancy support team we work with individuals in their homes, so a lone working policy ensures our safety. We ensure that any issues within the team are addressed straight away within team meetings, this ensures good relationships. It is important to keep a work life balance we are able to do this within our team through working flexi-time. This means that members of the team who have children can address child care and we are able to attend personal appointments.

As stated in Herzberg’s theory ‘motivational factors’ such as responsibility, challenges, recognition and achievement have a huge motivational value. Employees can use performance review and appraisals to find out what truly motivates their employees. It is important that employees are given constructive feedback on their performance which is balanced, by feeding forward and focusing on the future.

This can give employees a clearer understanding of what is expected from them. Regular feedback can provide staff with a sense of achievement. If employees set targets and personal development goals within this process it can build the confidence and skills of employees.

Employers need to get to know their staff and know what makes them tick. By understanding the different personality types or ‘intelligence’s’ in their team they can identify the suited roles and what developmental needs they have. This can also be addressed with training and shadowing opportunities.

To reap the benefits of an engaged workforce an organisation must drive higher levels of employee engagement by taking meaningful and visible action on the issues that matter most to the employee.

They must then align the employees with the organisations goals and objectives, so they can focus their motivation and vision on the tasks that matter the most to the organisations success. Performance appraisals can achieve this if they are done properly.

An effective appraisal should look at the employee’s progress towards goals, and standards of performance. This can develop employees by providing them with helpful feedback that can reengage them in their roles and align them with the organisations objectives. Effective employers engage their employees by:

•Preparing for meeting
•Providing honest and constructive feedback
•Focussing on their development
•Identifying obstacles
•Connecting the employees work to the bigger picture

If the feedback that is given is negative it will have a negative impact on motivation. Identification of what the employee has achieved and what needs to improve will be more encouraging. There is no point dwelling on the past.

It is more motivating for anyone to build on positives and how to develop in the future. It is also important to engage employees with their teams through team building and team meetings. In the tenancy support team we are asked to collect information on team performance which shows what positive outcomes we have achieved.

This is very encouraging as we can see what a positive impact we are having within the organisation and on other people’s lives. For me this is very motivating as having a positive impact is at the top of my list of core values. Our manager is also looking to raise the profile of our team by sending positive outcome stories to the buzz magazine, which will meet my core need of recognition and achievement.

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