Human Resources Employee Motivation the Research Paper

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Whole Foods uses stock options as a way to motivate employees and reward them for performance (COMPANY: Whole Foods Market, Inc., n.d.).

In a controversial new program, Whole Foods has started rewarding its healthiest workers with larger employee discounts. The goals of this voluntary agenda are to encourage and reward employees for making healthy, positive lifestyle changes and to reduce the costs of their health plan. Whole Foods employees are currently given a 20% discount to use throughout the store. With the new plan, participating employees will undergo a free screening to measure blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, and nicotine use. Depending on an employee's test scores employees will be assigned to one of four categories with corresponding discount rates: bronze (22%), silver (25%), gold (27%), and platinum (30%) (The Bigger the Person, the Smaller the Discount, 2010).

Even though bronze level employees still get a larger discount than those opting out of the new plan, the incentive program is still not liked by some. In order to qualify for the bronze level an employee must be tobacco free, have a blood pressure of 140/90, total cholesterol count of 195 or less, and a BMI of 30 or less. If they don't meet these minimum qualifications, they are stuck with the original 20% discount. So although this program is motivating some employees, it is not very well received by many others (The Bigger the Person, the Smaller the Discount, 2010).

Discussion

The most important resource any company possesses is its people. When those people are unhappy, unmotivated, or feel detached from the overall workings of their company, the entire organization suffers through reduced productivity, low morale, and high employee turnover, to name a few maladies. Companies have to be profitable to remain in business; thus they must be able to convince their employees that increased production will benefit them as well. With that in mind, companies have sought practical ways to encourage positive employee attitudes in order to strengthen the company and its profit margin, while simultaneously keeping costs down. Different techniques have been tried, including offering shorter hours, shift trading, flexible work schedules, and job sharing. However, the challenge in motivating employees really lies in determining what will get their attention and inspire them to view their relationship with the company as mutually beneficial. Modern human resource theory suggests that this mutually beneficial relationship may be achieved by giving employees a voice in company decision-making. Employees typically believe their contributions are one-sided, and need to be convinced that the company recognizes and appreciates them. They want to feel important, even essential to the company's survival (Vannatter, n.d.).

One method, which many companies often use as a way to motivate employees, consists of a monetary incentives program. The more money that is available to employees the more employees improve their production. However, incentive techniques can be especially difficult to establish because management is often reluctant to part with the very tools necessary to implement them: information about sales and profits (Vannatter, n.d.). Employee incentive programs have helped many companies to reach their goals by rewarding desired behaviors with employee awards. Incentive programs that are designed to be both relevant and worthwhile to employees have the highest return on investment. By offering name brand merchandise and using a customized approach to employee incentives, an incentive award program can help a company meet your their needs and maximize bottom line results (Hard work has its rewards, 2010).

It is often beneficial for a company to discover who every worker is and what their drives are, what special gifts they have, what their abilities, hopes and plans are for the future. If a company takes the time to discover this, understand what makes this person tick, they will be able to utilize this worker in the position which is the best fit which is a step ahead towards employee motivation. A company must also clarify management values, design and implement effective policies and techniques. Every employee has a need for self-expression, considers plans for professional development and career advancement, wishes to be accepted as family member, feel respect towards management and pride in his/her work, receive acknowledgment and reward, be listened to and trusted. Through strategic communications which includes meetings our duty is to share with employee's company goals, market, industry and business information and future plans, and invites employees to give feedback. Companies must learn how to place people in a role where they can use their abilities and make progress towards the realization of personal goals. People in the wrong roles can cause a company substantial financial loss due to turnover, accidents, lawsuits, rebates, refunds, loss of customers and sales (Vannatter, n.d.).

Companies must learn how to create a corporate culture and a supportive work environment. This is done in the course of leadership and management excellence, a human approach, effective human resources strategies, positive discipline, fair and just treatment to all, clearly defined policies, career and personal development training programs including cross-training and job rotation, career pathing, organizational communications, tools to facilitate communication, team assignments, reward programs, objective appraisals, adequate pay, benefits and company activities (Vannatter, n.d.).

It is imperative for employees to know that management is aware of their existence, recognizes them, remembers their names and greets them. Managers, who fall short in greeting employees or responding to greetings leads to a high degree of de-motivation, lack of trust, and disloyalty. People and departments need to be thanked for their hard work and special accomplishments and be rewarded for their contributions. Managers who support employees to use initiative and set higher challenges for themselves achieve more positive results than those who cause employees to compete with each other. A personal accomplishment at the expense of others defeats team-work and negatively affects service to customers. Managers can gain employees' loyalty and best input by treating them as partners, showing concern, listening to them and sharing (Vannatter, n.d.).

Results

Motivated employees are required in the rapidly changing workplaces. Motivated employees help organizations survive. Motivated employees are more productive. To be effective, managers need to recognize what motivates employees within the context of the roles they perform. Of all the functions a manager carries out, motivating employees is arguably the most complex. This is due, in part, to the fact that what motivates employee's changes all the time. Research suggests that as employees' income goes up, money becomes less of a motivator. Also, as employees get older, appealing work becomes more of a motivator (Linder, 1998).

Interesting work and employee pay have emerged to be important links to higher motivation of centers' employees. Alternatives such as job enlargement, job enrichment, promotions, internal and external stipends, monetary, and non-monetary compensation should be considered. Job extension can be used by managers to make work more interesting for employees by increasing the number and variety of activities performed. Job enhancement can used to make work more interesting and increase pay by adding higher level responsibilities to a job and providing monetary compensation to employees for accepting this responsibility. These are just two examples of an endless number of methods to increase motivation of employees at the centers. The key to motivating employees is to know what motivates them and designing a motivation program based on those needs (Linder, 1998).

In the four companies that were looked at in this paper it can be seen that many companies are using money and interesting work in order to motivate their employees. With the way that today's economy is some companies are finding it difficult to motivate their employees in the same way as they did before. The key is to come up with different and exciting ways to motivate employees to feel the same way about the company as they have in the past.

Recommendations

In today's economy, one of the biggest tasks in front of a HR Manager is to motivate and retain employees. All the efforts made in this direction are big failure and no one knows what a route to employees' heart is. Applying or executing motivational ideas is not an assurance that an employee will stick with a certain company but still if done in a proper way, in a long run, these will surely be of benefit for the organization (Sharma, 2010).

Motivation is an organization's life-blood. Motivation, as a business subject, is largely ignored. Even when not ignored, it definitely is not a focal point for strategic thinking.

Rarely is it clear or coherent about what the overall approach should be to the challenge an employee to be motivated. Most organizations don't give it much thought until something begins to go wrong and it is found that pain gets people's attention (Sharma, 2010).

There are four main reasons that explain this fact of life. Motivation is intangible. Motivation drives all human action. It is the energy source. Those looking to shape the behavior ultimately wrestle with motivation. With a bit of…[continue]

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