Employee Motivation And Engagement Within Organisations Management Essay

Managers and leaders have a key role within organisations. Their duties are to improve the performance of the company using specific knowledge and skills from every employee and conducting efficient actions. Leaders inspire people in order to conduct new projects and managers tend to attain a balance in the company (Buchanan and Huczyinsky 2010).

This essay will critically review and evaluate the role of leaders and managers within organisations. In the first session of this essay, the role of leadership and management will be defined and we will explain how these two processes participate in supporting individual motivation. The second section of the essay will evaluate the role of leaders and managers in achieving employee engagement. Finally recommendations to increase employee motivation and engagement will be made.

Managers need to deal with labour, capital and land. Labour is not simply a word qualifying employees. Labour implies dealing with Human beings considered as a personal resource for a company (Drucker 1974).

By bringing guidance, help and support to each person composing the workforce, leaders and managers contribute to encourage and stimulate people to achieve their goals and as a matter of fact enhance the productivity of the company. Motivation and engagement within organisations may be felt naturally if employees are fully satisfied with their working conditions and find the tasks they are required to accomplish interesting and rewarding. Yet leaders need to spread motivation through work teams to involve people in their work. This motivation feeling has to be improved and developed constantly to maintain people effectiveness and enable organisations to reach their objectives.

Before reviewing the role of leadership and management in supporting individual motivation, it might be necessary to briefly identify and distinguish leadership from management.

Whereas management is focused on achievement of results by using available resources within organisations such as money, people skills, equipment, leadership only involves people (Michael Armstrong 1983). The process of leadership aims at to build and strengthen communication with employees and make them feel valuable as a part of a team in order to develop motivation.

Individual motivation can take two forms regarding the factors selected to evaluate it (Michael Armstrong 1983). DeCharms (1968) argued that he could be intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated regardless of his behaviour. As a result he distinguished two forms of motivation.

The first known type of motivation is composed of intrinsic factors which are the factors seeking personal satisfaction and accomplishment such as research of power, achievement, challenge, competition. This short list of intrinsic factors emphasises which factor can be significant for an employee and help him to develop his own motivation. The second type of motivation is related to extrinsic factors. These factors represent what the company can offer to employees to reinforce their motivation. Michael Armstrong (1983 : p.196) defines extrinsic factors as “what is done to or for people to motivate them. This includes rewards such as increased pay, praise, or promotion, and punishments such as disciplinary action, withholding pay or criticism.”

Herzberg has also developed a motivation theory taking into account motivators and hygiene factors and how a lack of these two components may bring a feeling of dissatisfaction and then demotivation. According to him hygiene factors such as working conditions and salaries would play an essential role in supporting individual motivation. Offering rewards, fully integrating people in their work, helping workforce to feel valuable in the company may be some likely sources of the motivation development (Herzberg 1959). In order to measure job attitudes and discover which factors could enhance individual motivation, management and leadership should include in their processes further observations within organisations to clearly identify what people want from their work and what brings them satisfaction.

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The motivation theory of Herzberg is limited because satisfaction at work does not always generate motivation. Indeed, feeling satisfied due to a high salary is not an irrevocable condition to be motivated. DeCharmes (1968) also concluded that “the addition of extrinsic rewards may reduce task motivation rather than enhance it” (Jones and Mawhinney (1977 : p.62) cited in DeCharmes (1968)).

Motivation might be intensified and maximised combining successful management and leadership policies. Leadership and management can be linked to work deeply on power of extrinsic factors on individual motivation. The role of leadership and management is to point out which factors are source of motivation and then stimulate all employees through common factors. Management and leadership policies can emphasize a rewards system if employees communicate their wish to be rewarded after achieving expected goals. This wish is a motive. Motivation results from achieving a personal target (Richard Barrett 2003).

Terence Jackson and Mette Back (1998: p.288) discuss about leadership and management propositions suggested by Katz and Kahn’s (1978) to support individual motivation in Chinese companies. This model is based on 3 propositions as following: “rule enforcement”, “external rewards” and “internalized motivation”. This rule enforcement will enable employees to be informed of the way they have to work, which rewards they will be attributed in case of profitable work and how they can, through the culture of the company, develop their own motivation. Consequently the role of leadership and management is to establish rules and reward system and affiliate employees to a brand culture which they could draw motivation from.

As a relevant example, Microsoft Corporation possesses a strong brand culture based on inspiration, interaction and technology (Van der Bel). In 2003, Microsoft Corporation was ranked the first best company to work in Britain by the Sunday Times. Results showed that “93% of staff feels proud to work for the company and say it makes a positive difference to the world we live in and 92% are excited about where it is going and would miss it if they left.” To develop motivation, Bill Gates, founder of the company, has been focusing his management and leadership on a valuable asset: the employees. Bringing his employees to work in an environment where they can apply as much as possible their personal capacities and skills to their work is his main concern. “Gates was able to establish a strong relationship between management and employees” (Chakraborty, 2010: p.4).

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In summary leadership and management are processes applying different methods to support individual motivation. On the one hand leadership places employees in the middle of the attention as they are the most valuable asset in organisations. On the other hand it helps them to feel satisfied and then better perform. Management establishes rules to evaluate individual motivation and takes measures to reinforce it.

At first sight, the role of managers and leaders may appear different as they can use distinct ways to achieve employee engagement. Whereas dealing with people and taking decisions in order to create positive changes is the main duty of leaders, managers have a role of control implementing corrective actions (Kotter, 1990).

Leaders and managers come both as a support of employee engagement. They are expected to have interpersonal and leadership skills in order to give efficient instructions to the workforce and create a productive working environment. Achieve employee engagement is a part of leaders and managers work. Isaac, Zerbe and Pitt (2001) stated that “each employee must not only be a leader and follower from time to time, but a manager as well.” This implies a correlation between the work of a leader and the one of a manager and refutes the fact that leaders and managers have contrasting roles in achieving employee engagement.

The outcome of employee engagement is how the work of an employee can help organisations to step forward in a profitable direction. A workforce better engaged will reach final targets quicker. Being engaged is feeling involved, enrolled or committed in a task which an employee is required to execute. Macey and Schneider (2008) referred the employee engagement as “the psychological state at work: for example, involvement, commitment, attachment and mood”. Kahn (1990) defined engagement as “passion for work” (cited in Kular, Ganteby, Rees, Soane and Truss et al. (2008): p.3). The existence of various definitions of engagement makes this notion very complex to analyse.

Managers and leaders need to identify how staff applies its engagement at work and which criteria drive its commitment. This will help them to maintain a satisfying standard of involvement in the organisation and determine which working aspects could be improved to better engage employee. A positive attitude of leaders and managers is linked with employee commitment (Meyer and Allen 1997). This positive attitude brought from leaders and managers may be a first step in achieving employee engagement. Spreading feelings of confidence, awareness, safety, hope, optimism and trust through the work team is essential to raise commitment. Focusing on strengths and qualities of employees and adding value to them on a long-term period are the resort of leaders and managers. Feeling valuable and useful at work thanks to leaders and managers might help employees to develop a sense of commitment.

A work should be purposeful so that employee can recognize their involvement as worthwhile (Kahn et al. (1990, 1992) cited in Xu and Cooper Thomas et al. (2011)). As a result leaders and managers need to expose the necessity of undertaking a particular task to employees in order to give sense to their work and assure them that their engagement is beneficial for the company.

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Besides, leaders and managers should develop a reward system aiming at inciting people to work harder rather than give punishments or penalties when in case of unsuccessful task. Penalties or punishments might have the reverse effect and therefore be the result of a lack of confidence and discourage employees.

To sum up, leaders are constantly connected to employees as their main function is to create positive changes in their behaviours. To operate these changes and improve engagement, leaders must express how valuable is the work of employees for the company and create a strong relationship with them. Fixing attainable objectives is necessary to engage employees in their work because they will feel certain that objectives can be met. Clarity has to be communicated to employees in order them to recognise what the organisation’s goals are and how they can be achieved. To feel involved, employees need to receive feedbacks from managers to know whether they conduct the work with effectiveness or not. Leaders and managers need to collaborate to support employee engagement and involve staff in decision-making especially when the decision can affect it.

To conclude, leaders and managers are essential within organisations not only to plan the work and control outcomes but also to support employees and participate in the development and improvement of their individual motivations and commitments. Therefore, leaders and managers are also in charge of providing a stimulating working environment and analysing its effects on employee motivation and engagement.

It is widely argued that leaders and managers can improve employee motivation and engagement by working on extrinsic factors, factors generated by the environment including rules, culture and hierarchy (Herzberg 1959). Leaders and managers might motivate employee through incentive reward systems, on-site services, new trainings… One of the last ideas of Microsoft to motivate its workforce has been to offer each employee the new touchpad Windows 8RT and software update for their professional and personal computers (Politi, 2012). Besides, Microsoft office in Cambridge offers unique facilities such as an onsite fitness centre and a game room. Improving employee wellness at work would be a feature necessary to support individual motivation.

Leaders and managers must establish a link between employee wishes and implementation of measures thanks to communication. They need to identify which can be a source of motivation for employees and run surveys to evaluate level of motivation and accumulate feedbacks in order to know how they could enhance it (Katz and Kahn’s, 1978). They can put into place on-site services and facilities such as crèche, spa, pressing, offer discounts on trips, restaurants, entertainments, organise sessions about time managing, stress managing or self-confident building, increase salary after significant results. These recommendations are not suitable for every kind of organisations as they require high budget, however, managers and leaders should know what assets the company owns to be aware of what can be dedicated to a motivation and engagement development scheme.

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