Motivational Improvement Plan

Motivational Improvement Plan

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Institutional Affiliation

Abstract

DSJ Foods is a meat-packing company facing the issue of absenteeism. The problem started a year ago and has since escalated. This has led to the loss of productivity, poor service delivery, loss of customers, as well as the loss of revenues. Research shows that a lack of motivation is the main cause of employee absenteeism. To address this issue, the organization needs to implement effective strategies for enhancing motivation. Managers can be guided by various theories to improve motivation including the equity theory, Vroom’s theory, McGregor’s Theory X and Y, and the attachment theory. Based on these theories, effective strategies to improve motivation include fair compensation, employee engagement, and satisfying relations in the workplace. This paper also describes a program that would be designed to improve motivation.

Introduction

DSJ Foods is a meat-packing company. It has 350 employees. The company is facing the issue of absenteeism. It started a year ago when employees with a good attendance record started being late. Then, they started calling frequently out of work. Sometimes they can report to work but take frequent breaks. This has led to the loss of productivity, poor service delivery, loss of customers, as well as the loss of revenues. Research shows that a lack of motivation is the main cause of employee absenteeism. To address this issue, the organization needs to implement effective strategies for enhancing motivation. Based on the equity theory, Vroom’s theory, McGregor’s Theory X and Y, and the attachment theory there are four effective strategies for improving motivation. These include fair compensation, employee engagement, and satisfying relations in the workplace.

Literature Review

Meaning of motivation

A lot of research has been done on motivation. This has led to different definitions. For example, Pakdel (2013) provides several definitions of the term motivation. First, motivation is defined as a position that compels individuals to carry out specific tasks. Second, motivation is defined as a process that starts with a need and causes activation of behavior. Third, it is defined as a process of stimulating human behaviors towards achieving a set goal. Based on these definitions, we can conclude that motivation is defined as the force that drives people to do certain activities.

Motivation varies from one individual to the other. Some people are intrinsically motivated while others are extrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation occurs when a person does an activity because of its inherent satisfactions (Bruno et al., 2017). Such a person is moved to do an activity for fun or a challenge involved. This phenomenon was recognized through experimental studies of animal behavior. During these studies, researchers discovered that animals engage in experimental and playful behaviors even without any reward. Animals engaged in certain behaviors for positive experiences associated with those activities (Ryan & Deci, 2000). This also occurs in humans. Humans who are intrinsically motivated engage in certain activities for inherent interests.

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is defined as the desire to do an activity because doing so leads to some separable outcome. People who are extrinsically motivated engage in certain activities for a reward contingency. For example, an individual would be willing to do a certain activity to be valued by people they feel connected to such as employers (Ryan & Deci, 2000). However, it is possible to manipulate motivation through various strategies for the desired outcomes. For example, the use of rewards can enhance or diminish motivation.

Historical foundation of motivation

The concept of motivation can be traced back to the ancient Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Greek ages (Pakdel, 2013). For example, Aristotle believed dietary and emotional were part of the concept of motivation. The ancient Greeks believed that body desires, life pleasures, and pain influenced motivation. In the modern era, differences were established between active and inactive aspects of motivation. The will was identified as the active factor of motivation. This suggested that will is the force of motivation. On the other hand, the body was identified as the inactive factor of motivation. Based on these views, the first great theory of motivation was provided for philosophers (Pakdel, 2013). Today, various theories have been developed explaining the concept of motivation.

Factors that impact motivational improvement

Various motivation and performance factors impact motivational improvement. Monetary incentives impact the process of motivational improvement. A lower than expected salary may be a hindrance to increasing motivation. Non-monetary incentives play a major role in motivational improvement. They are useful in creating morale. These include appreciation, tangible goods, free meals, and a simple ‘thank you’. Relationship at work determines employees’ motivational levels.  Positive experiences make it easy to improve motivation (Abdullah & Islam, 2012). On the other hand, negative experiences make it more difficult to improve motivation.

Development opportunities impact motivational improvement. A lack of professional development opportunities makes it difficult to improve employees’ motivation. Researchers identify it with increased job dissatisfaction. Work environments that offer such opportunities have an easier time improving motivation and performance. Also, work conditions such as autonomy impact motivational improvement. Research shows that employees require good working conditions characterized by autonomy and flexibility (Abdullah & Islam, 2012).

Poor working conditions decrease motivation. Good working conditions make it easy to improve motivation. Other factors that impact motivational improvement include social-psychological factors such as a sense of accomplishment, and responsibilities, and tangible factors such as bonuses, and fringe benefits (Abdullah & Islam, 2012). To avoid negative consequences, managers need to identify factors that drive individuals in a workforce. Then, they should work on these factors for successful motivational improvement.

Employee absenteeism as the organizational issue

Motivation plays a major role in driving organizations towards achieving the set goals. Demotivated employees are a risk factor when it comes to the execution of daily business operations. Badubi (2017) identifies one of the operational risks as absenteeism. Absenteeism in this case referring to the failure of an employee to report to work when they are assigned a certain task. A chronic failure to report for duty especially when the absence can be avoided. Studies show that when employees lack motivation at the workplace, they are more likely to start calling frequently out of work. If the employee had a perfect attendance record, they will shift to being late or continuously absent.

Absenteeism in this case is not limited to physical absence. It also includes being at the workplace but doing something else other than the assigned task, taking longer lunch, or taking frequent breaks. Absenteeism disrupts organizational operations which harm organizational performance. According to Badubi (2017), motivation is required to prevent operational risks such as absenteeism which affects performance.

Analysis of Motivational theories and models

According to Dorobantu et al., (2012), more focus has been given on the field of motivation. In an attempt to understand motivation and motivators, many theoretical investigations have been developed. This has given rise to many useful motivational theories. Among these theories, some are related to employee absenteeism at the workplace. The first theory is the equity theory. According to this theory, employees weigh their input into a job based on the output they will receive from that particular job. If an employee feels that what they receive from a job is less to what they give, they will react by restricting the input they give (Badubi, 2017). This includes absence from the workplace. The theory has two advantages. First, it ensures employees that their rewards will be per their effort leading to motivation. Second, when employees are motivated, they will want to stay in the workplace reducing absenteeism. However, the theory does not cater for individual differences.  

The second theory is Vroom’s expectancy theory (Dorobantu et al., 2012). The theory stipulates that behavior is a product of choices that lead to valued outcomes. Based on this theory, employee absenteeism is considered a rational behavior linked to the benefits and costs associated with the outcomes of a decision to attend work. One strength of this theory is that when management understands its principles, they will know what rewards to offer employees to enhance motivation and reduce absenteeism. However, if managers do not keep their word of rewarding certain work and effort, the theory will be ineffective.

The third theory is McGregor’s Theory X and Y. According to theory X, employees may have an inherent dislike for work. This can be addressed through threats and coercion. On the other hand, theory Y holds that people are happy to work and are self-motivated. According to McGregor, Theory X reduces employee motivation and this can lead to reactions such as absenteeism. Therefore, a Theory Y approach can help improve employee motivation reducing absenteeism levels (Badubi, 2017). However, it can give employees too much freedom which may lead to loss of focus.

Then there is the attachment theory of human motivation. According to this theory, highly attached employees often attend work (Dorobantu et al., 2012). Therefore, managers need to create strategies to increase motivation and commitment. The main strength of this theory is the good interpretation of behavior and motivation concerning absenteeism. It helps managers to understand employees’ behaviors and the right motivation to reduce absenteeism levels and improve performance. However, the theory can be too demanding for employers in terms of responding to the needs of every employee.

Application of motivational theories to motivational improvement

The equity theory can be applied at the workplace to improve motivation reducing absenteeism. The managers should offer employees a reward that equals their input in accomplishing their tasks. This will improve their motivation and eventually address the problem of absenteeism (Badubi, 2017). The theory is applicable because once the right outputs are offered, motivation is improved. However, it fails to cater to individual differences making it harder to improve motivation in every employee.

Managers can apply Vroom’s expectancy theory to improve motivation and reduce absenteeism. This can be done by increasing the benefits of attending work as compared to costs. If the benefits outweigh the costs, employees are more likely to be more motivated. This way, they will decide to attend work (Dorobantu et al., 2012). While this approach can lead to motivational improvement, the benefits have to be offered to it to be effective.

McGregor’s Theory X and Y can be used to improve motivation reducing absenteeism. This can be done by, first, avoiding threats and coercion as a means to improve motivation. Second, managers can create a favorable working environment that makes employees happy. This can improve motivation reducing the rate of absenteeism (Badubi, 2017). While this approach can be effective in addressing the organizational issue, it may give employees excessive freedom affecting their performance.

Also, managers can apply the attachment theory of human motivation to improve motivation.  This can help reduce the rate of absenteeism. This can be done by attending to the needs of individual employees to ensure that there is an enduring emotional bond between them and employers. This would fulfill their human need for belonging. The lasting influence of such relationships is trust, seeking feedback, and improved motivation (Dorobantu et al., 2012). Eventually, this would reduce the rate of absenteeism and performance. While the theory is effective in understanding employees’ needs, it can be demanding.

Strategies for enhancing motivation and performance

Employee absenteeism reduces individual as well as organizational performance. Lack of motivation is the major cause of absenteeism. Therefore, organizations need to adopt strategies for enhancing motivation. When employees are highly motivated, they are highly likely to spend more time in the workplace executing their tasks effectively. As a result, business performance will improve (Barbosa-McCoy, 2016).

The first strategy is creating an environment that offers fair compensation to employees’ efforts. This strategy can help improve employee motivation reducing absenteeism (Badubi, 2017). It is based on the idea that what employees receive from their efforts has a direct effect on their motivation. To improve their motivation, employees are offered fair compensation for their input including job attendance, execution of assigned tasks, commitment, and loyalty to an organization. Fair compensation includes tangible factors such as salary, bonuses, pay raises, and vacation time. There are other less tangible factors such as recognition. However, the compensation should be fair among team members and comparable (Badubi, 2017).

The second strategy is improving employee engagement to enhance motivation. This can be achieved by applying the Theory Y approach. This involves improving employee engagement by giving employees challenging, exciting, and meaningful tasks (Forte, 2017).  The work environment will be created to promote success and development. More accountability and autonomy will also be used to improve engagement. Other strategies such as effective communication especially in giving feedback and engaging employees in programs that promote their wellbeing can improve employee engagement. Eventually, employee motivation will be enhanced reducing absenteeism and enhancing performance (Forte, 2017).

The third strategy is establishing satisfying relations in the workplace (Tsai, 2011. This involves leaders creating a happy and healthy working environment. The interaction between employees and the leaders should be good. This improves team communication and collaboration. Such an environment also encourages employees to accomplish the tasks assigned by their organization. Eventually, this enhances job satisfaction associated with improved motivation while addressing the issue of absenteeism. According to Tsai 2011, managers who are caring, supportive, and have a good relationship with their employees create a positive working environment which increases job satisfaction.

Summary

Based on the research review, employee absenteeism results in lost productivity and revenue losses. Organizations can face various consequences as a result of high levels of employee absence. This is evident at DSJ Foods where high levels of absenteeism have resulted in lost productivity, poor service delivery, loss of customers, and revenue losses. Managers need to develop effective strategies to address this issue for organizational growth and sustainability.

Research shows that a lack of motivation is the main cause of employee absenteeism. If organizations want to address this issue, they need to improve motivation. Various motivation and performance factors impact motivational improvement. These include monetary and non-monetary incentives, positive experiences, development opportunities, and working conditions among others. Proper consideration of these factors supports motivational improvement. However, if these factors are not properly implemented, they can be a hindrance to motivational improvement.

Research shows that managers can be guided by various theories to improve motivation, thereby reducing absenteeism. Specifically, four theories were identified. First, managers can apply the equity theory to improve motivation by offering employees a reward that equals their input in accomplishing their tasks. This would help reduce absenteeism. Second, managers can apply Vroom’s expectancy theory to improve motivation and reduce absenteeism by increasing the benefits of attending work as compared to costs.

Third, managers can improve motivation by applying McGregor’s Y. This can be done by creating a favorable working environment that makes employees happy. In such an environment, employees will be motivated to attend a job reducing absenteeism. Also, managers can apply the attachment theory of human motivation to improve motivation. This can be done by attending to the needs of individual employees for an enduring emotional bond between them and employers. Eventually, levels of absenteeism would decrease.

Recommendations

Recording high levels of absenteeism at the workplace is bad for any organization. This is because this issue is highly likely to result in loss of revenues. Therefore, effective strategies are required to improve employee motivation (Hassink, 2018). This would help address the issue of absenteeism. Based on the research review, organizations can use three main strategies to improve motivation.

First, organizations should strive to offer employees fair compensation. This strategy is based on equity theory. It involves giving employees fair compensation based on their input in accomplishing the tasks. Fair compensation would increase employee motivation reducing absenteeism.

The second strategy is the use of employee engagement. Improving employee engagement involves creating a happy and satisfying working environment. When employees are engaged, they are motivated resulting in reduced absenteeism. The third strategy should be to establish satisfying relations in the workplace. Such an environment enhances job satisfaction which improves motivation and reduces absenteeism.

Motivational Improvement Program

Based on the research review, there are various effective strategies for improving motivation. For this project, I would choose employee engagement as a means to improve motivation. This would help reduce absenteeism. I would develop a motivational improvement program with a focus on employee engagement. This program would involve an initiative called Random Lunch with no Agenda. This would also be combined with regular surveys.

This initiative would aim to improve employee engagement. This will increase job satisfaction resulting in improved motivation (Forte, 2017). It’s about making employees simply feel content in their present position. This would improve their involvement in organizational success. Although the initiative is a simple idea, it has the power to increase employee engagement.

The program would involve selecting a group of people randomly to have lunch with leaders. These people would be selected from different parts of the organization. There would be no agenda. Each lunch would have three goals. The first goal is to help employers and employees to know one another. The second goal is to eliminate communication barriers. The third goal would be to identify choke points capable of disengaging employees within the organization (Forte, 2017).

This initiative would be combined with regular unbiased surveys. Conducting the surveys would help understand the needs of individual employees. The surveys would include open questions for a true picture. They would also be anonymous for better insights. Data collected would then be analyzed. The findings would be used to guide managers on how to keep employees engaged. Through the two initiatives, the program would achieve its purpose of improving motivation. This would eventually help address the issue of employee absenteeism.

References

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Badubi, R. (2017). Theories of Motivation and Their Application in Organizations: A Risk            Analysis. International Journal of Innovation and Economic Development, 3 (3), 44-    51.

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Bruno, B., Faggini, M. & Parziale, A. (2017). Motivation, Incentives and Performance: An         Interdisciplinary Review. International Journal of Business and Management, 12           (12), 29-52.

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Tsai, Y. (2011). Relationship between organizational culture, Leadership behavior, and job        satisfaction. BMC Health Services Research, 11(1), 1-9.