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Motivating the Workforce: Special groups present unique motivational challenges.

In this section we look at some of the unique problems faced in trying to motivate professional employees, contingent workers, and low-Motivating Professionals skilled, minimum-wage employees Motivating Professionals In contrast to a generation ago, the typical employee today is more likely to be a highly trained professional with a college degree than a blue-collar factory worker. These professionals receive a great deal of intrinsic satisfaction from their work. They tend to be well paid. What special concerns should managers be aware of when trying to motivate a team of engineers at Intel, software designers at SAS Institute, or a group of consultants at Accenture? Professionals are typically different from nonprofessionals.63 They have a strong and long-term commitment to their field of expertise. Their loyalty is more often to their profession than to their employer. To keep current in their field, they need to regularly update their knowledge, and because of their commitment to their profession they rarely define their workweek as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. What motivates professionals? Money and promotions typically are low on their priority list. Why? They tend to be well paid and they enjoy what they do. In contrast, job challenge tends to be ranked high. They like to tackle problems and find solutions. Their chief reward in their job is the work itself. Professionals also value support. They want others to think that what they are working on is important. That may be true for all employees, but professionals tend to be focused on their work as their central life interest, whereas nonprofessionals typically have other interests outside of work that can compensate for needs not met on the job. The preceding description implies a few guidelines to keep in mind when motivating professionals. Provide them with ongoing, challenging projects. Give them autonomy to follow their interests, and allow them to structure their work in ways they find productive. Reward them with educational opportunitiesadditional training, workshops, attending conferencesthat allow them to keep current in their field. Also reward them with recognition, and ask questions and use other actions that demonstrate to them that you're sincerely interested in what they're doing and value it. Motivating Contingent Workers The elimination of jobs through downsizing and other organizational restructurings has increased the number of openings for part-time, contract, and other types of temporary workers. Contingent workers don't have the security or stability that permanent employees have, and they don't identify with the organization or display the commitment that other employees do. Temporary workers also typically get little or no benefits such as health care or pensions.64 There's no simple solution for motivating contingent employees. For that small set of temps who prefer the freedom of their temporary statusfor instance, some students, working mothers, retireesthe lack of stability may not be an issue. In addition, temporariness might be preferred by highly compensated physicians, engineers, accountants, or financial planners who don't want the demands of a full-time job. But these are the exceptions. For the most part, temporary employees are not temporary by choice. What will motivate involuntarily temporary employees? An obvious answer is the opportunity to become a permanent employee. In cases in which permanent employees are selected from a pool of temps, the temps will often work hard in hopes of becoming permanent. A less obvious answer is the opportunity for training. The ability of a temporary employee to find a new job is largely dependent on his or her skills. If the employee sees that the job he or she is doing can help develop marketable skills, then motivation is increased. From an equity standpoint, you should

also consider the repercussions of mixing permanent and temporary workers when pay differentials are significant. When temps work alongside permanent employees who earn more, and get benefits, too, for doing the same job, the performance of temps is likely to suffer. Separating such employees or perhaps converting all employees to a variable-pay or skill-based pay plan might help minimize the problems. Motivating Low-Skilled, Minimum-Wage Employees Suppose that in your first managerial position after graduating, you're responsible for managing a work group composed of low-skilled, minimum-wage employees. Offering more pay to these employees for high levels of performance is out of the question: Your company just can't afford it. In addition, these employees have limited educa-tion and skills. What are your motivational options at this point? One of the toughest motivational challenges a manager faces is how to achieve and keep high-performance levels among these types of workers.65 One trap we often fall into is thinking that people are motivated only by money. Although money is important as a motivator, it's not the only reward that people seek and that managers can use. In motivating minimum-wage employees, managers should look at other types of rewards that help motivate employee performance. What are some other rewards managers might use? One that many companies use is employee recognition programs such as employee of the month, quarterly employee performance awards ceremonies, or other celebrations of employees' accomplishments. For instance, at many fast-food restaurants or retail stores, you'll often see plaques hanging in prominent places featuring the names of "Employee of the Month." These types of programs serve the purpose of highlighting employees whose work performance has been of the type and level the organization wants to encourage in all its employees. Many managers also recognize the power of praise. However, you need to be sure that these "pats on the back" are sincere and given for the right reasons. What else can managers do to motivate high levels of performance from minimum-wage employees? Again, we can look to job design and expectancy theories for some answers. In service industries such as travel and hospitality, retail sales, child care, and maintenance in which pay for frontline employees generally does not exceed the minimum-wage level, successful companies are empowering these frontline employees with more authority to address customers' problems. If we use the JCM to examine this change, we can see that this type of job redesign provides enhanced motivation because employees now experience increased skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. For instance, almost every job at Marriott International has been redesigned to place more workers in contact with more guests more of the time.66 These employees are now able to take care of customer complaints and requests that formerly were referred to a manager or another department. In addition, employees have at least part of their pay tied to customer satisfaction, so there's a clear link between level of performance and reward (instrumentality linkage from expectancy theory). So, even though motivating minimum-wage workers may be a challenge, we can still use what we know about employee motivation to help us find some answers. From Theory to Practice: Suggestions for Motivating Employees In this chapter, we've covered a lot of information about motivation. If you're a manager concerned with motivating your employees, what specific recommendations can you draw from the theories and issues presented in this chapter? Although there's no simple, all-encompassing set of guidelines, the following suggestions draw on the essence of what we know about motivating employees. Recognize individual differences. Almost every contemporary motivation theory recognizes that employees aren't identical. They have different needs, attitudes, personality, and other important individual variables. Match people to jobs. There's a great deal of evidence showing the motivational benefits of carefully

matching people to jobs. For example, high achievers should have jobs that allow them to participate in setting moderately challenging goals and that involve autonomy and feedback. Also keep in mind that not everybody is motivated by jobs that are high in autonomy, variety, and responsibility. Use goals. The literature on goal-setting theory suggests that managers should ensure that employees have hard, specific goals and feedback on how well they're doing in achieving those goals. Should the goals be assigned by the manager or should employees participate in setting them? The answer depends on your perception of goal acceptance and the organization's culture. If you expect resistance to goals, participation should increase acceptance. If participation is inconsistent with the culture, use assigned goals. Ensure that goals are perceived as attainable. Regardless of whether goals are actually attainable, employees who see goals as unattainable will reduce their effort because they'll be thinking "why bother." Managers must be sure, therefore, that employees feel confident that increased efforts can lead to achieving performance goals. Individualize rewards. Because employees have different needs, what acts as a reinforcer for one may not for another. Managers should use their knowledge of employee differences to individualize the rewards they control, such as pay, promotions, recognition, desirable work assignments, autonomy, and participation. Link rewards to performance. Managers need to make rewards contingent on performance. Rewarding factors other than performance will only reinforce those other factors. Important rewards such as pay increases and promotions should be given for the attainment of specific goals. Managers should also look for ways to increase the visibility of rewards, making them potentially more motivating. Check the system for equity. Employees should perceive that rewards or outcomes are equal to the inputs. On a simple level, experience, ability, effort, and other obvious inputs should explain differences in pay, responsibility, and other obvious outcomes. And remember that one person's equity is another's inequity, so an ideal reward system should probably weigh inputs differently in arriving at the proper rewards for each job. Don't ignore money. It's easy to get so caught up in setting goals, creating interesting jobs, and providing opportunities for participation that you forget that money is a major reason why most people work. Thus, the allocation of performance-based wage increases, piecework bonuses, and other pay incentives is important in determining employee motivation. A review of 80 studies evaluating motivational methods and their impact on employee productivity supports this point.67 Goal setting alone produced, on average, a 16 percent increase in productivity; job redesign efforts to enrich jobs yielded 8 to 16 percent increases; employee participation in decision making produced a median increase of less than 1 percent; and monetary incentives led to an average increase of 30 percent. We're not saying that managers should focus solely on money as a motivational tool. Rather, we're simply stating the obviousthat is, if money is removed as an incentive, people aren't going to show up for work. The same can't be said for removing goals, enriched work, or participation.