Employee Motivation, the Organizational Environment and Productivity

Human resource management functions and strategy

Human Resource Management

Function 3: Employee motivation

To retain good staff and to encourage them to give of their best while at work requires attention to the financial and psychological and even physiological rewards offered by the organization as a continuous exercise.

Basic financial rewards and conditions of service (e.g. working hours per week) are determined externally (by national bargaining or government minimum wage legislation) in many occupations but as much as 50 per cent of the gross pay of manual workers is often the result of local negotiations and details (e.g. which particular hours shall be worked) of conditions of service are often more important than the basics. Hence there is scope for financial and other motivations to be used at local levels.

As staffing needs will vary with the productivity of the workforce (and the industrial peace achieved) so good personnel policies are desirable. The latter can depend upon other factors (like environment, welfare, employee benefits, etc.) but unless the wage packet is accepted as 'fair and just' there will be no motivation.

Hence while the technicalities of payment and other systems may be the concern of others, the outcome of them is a matter of great concern to human resource management.

Increasingly the influence of behavioral science discoveries are becoming important not merely because of the widely-acknowledged limitations of money as a motivator, but because of the changing mix and nature of tasks (e.g. more service and professional jobs and far fewer unskilled and repetitive production jobs).

The former demand better-educated, mobile and multi-skilled employees much more likely to be influenced by things like job satisfaction, involvement, participation, etc. than the economically dependent employees of yesteryear.

Hence human resource management must act as a source of information about and a source of inspiration for the application of the findings of behavioral science. It may be a matter of drawing the attention of senior managers to what is being achieved elsewhere and the gradual education of middle managers to new points of view on job design, work organization and worker autonomy.

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