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Employee Motivation Strategies Used By Royal Bank Of Scotland

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Discuss about the Employee Motivation Strategies used by Royal Bank of Scotland.



Organizational success in the currently dynamic business environment is determined by its ability to retain high performance. Among the main drivers of organizational performance is the level of commitment and input that the organization’s workforce put into its operational duties. Employee Motivation therefore becomes a very essential aspect that enhances the performance of employees. According to Dobre (2013), numerous studies have shown a positive relationship between employee motivation and high performance output and effectiveness with organizations. This essay analyses a case study on the strategies used to motivate employees at Royal Bank of Scotland

System mapping of Royal Bank of Scotland Motivation strategy

The Motivational system mapping of Royal Bank of Scotland provides a visual illustration of how the organizational motivation strategies relate to the success of the Bank.  RBS offers an integrated that incentive system that features financial and non-financial incentives. The incentive system constitutes of an all-inclusive tactic that seek to motivate the employees across all demographics and levels of company. The system map also show how motivated employees contributes increased organizational efficiency and effectiveness that is necessary to achieve RBS goals. In the closed loop system one finds that as the company succeeds, the RBS staff continue to benefits from the company by providing resources to keep its employees motivated.


Fig 1: RBS Motivation Strategy System Map

Importance of Motivating employees in an organization

Whereas motivation is a process of inducing people to perform, organizations stand to benefit in various aspects from having motivated employees. Firstly, motivation allows the adoption of a positive attitude towards work. As Njambi, (2014) suggests, motivated employees perceive their duties as a sense of self-fulfillment and therefore work at maximum capacity. As a result, a company’s workforce will work at full capacity enabling a company to effectively use its human resources. Motivation appeals to the employees’ personal goals and aligns them to the company vision and objective. Dobre (2013) notes that in doing so, an employee is inspired continuously improve on their performance thereby making the organizational activities efficient. Additionally, by aligning personal goals of the employees to organizational objectives, the employees’ personal accomplishments translate to achievement of organizational goals. Another vital aspect of motivation is its ability to help retain skilled employees in an organization. Numerous studies have shown that motivated employees are less likely to take an alternative job offer since they are satisfied with their current work environment (Leblebici, 2012; Osabiya, 2015; Al Jasmi, 2012). Increased turnover of employees is not only costly to an organization in terms of financial input, but it also affects the overall performance and synergy of its workforce.


Analysis of Royal Bank of Scotland’s motivation Strategy

In a case study evaluating how The Royal Bank of Scotland works to motivate its large workforce, one find that the bank applies an integrated form of strategies and incentives that are well suited to satisfy its employees. At the backdrop of its motivational strategies, The Royal Bank of Scotland applies well established concepts of motivation that inform the variety of strategies its uses.

It is worth noting that motivating employees is arguably one of the most complex function of management in an organization, partly because, the human workforce’s needs are subject to constant changes (Burton, 2012). Additionally, each individual is unique and thereby motivated by different factor compared to the next individual. It is due to such factors that Royal Bank of Scotland adopts a complex motivational strategy that seeks to include variety of incentives that can cover the needs of its large and geo strategically placed workforce.

Herzberg Two Factor Theory of evaluating employees’ motivational needs

From the case study, one theoretical approach used by RBS to evaluate the motivational needs of its employees is the Herzberg two factor concept. According to Herzberg as evaluated by Mowali and Babandako (2011), there are two factors informs an employees’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction. This include Intrinsic (motivation) and extrinsic motivators (hygiene factors) which represent intangible and tangible needs of an individual, respectively. Intrinsic needs entail the emotional needs that motivate an individual such as personal and career development, recognition as well as challenging work experiences. Notably extrinsic motivators include more tangible factors such as monetary benefits, job security and good work environment. Herzberg notes that while the extrinsic factors may not work well in satisfying an employee’s motivational needs, their lack thereof may dissatisfy the employees thereby reducing the employee’s morale to work effectively(Mawoli & Babandako, 2011). However, considering the intrinsic needs of an employee motivates them to perform better. Kuvaas & Dysvik (2009) evaluate that in a workplace, growth potential in a professional and personal capacity, recognition and challenging work are some of the main personal drives that could motivate the workforce.

 In RBS, a Total reward systems that includes both financial and non-financial incentives are applied to cover the wide variety of employee motivation needs. For example, employees get a very inclusive monetary compensation system for their services that includes a basic salary and results based payments such as bonuses and commissions. As added incentives, young employees get student debt pay offs and the older employees have a retirement benefits package. Non-financial incentives cover the personal and professional aspects of employee lives. For instance, the RBS offers training, fosters good relationships with employees, minimal supervision and promotion to positive encourage employees in their professional career. Additionally the bank enriches their personal needs by involving them in Corporate Social Responsibilities, offering paid holidays as well as Recognizing personal achievement within the company.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in RBS

Notably, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Theory of motivation are notable in RBS ‘Total Reward’ systems. Maslow’s needs theory recognizes fives hierarchical stages that define the levels of individual satisfaction, which include psychological, security, belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization needs in their respective order(Mawoli & Babandako, 2011). At RBS one finds that the basic salary used to as an incentive to meet psychological needs of an employee while the promise of a life-long career, retirement and medical benefits work to secure their peace of mind. For RBS development of mutually beneficial relationships within the company develops a sense of belonging. Recognition of high achivement raises the employees’ builds self-esteem whereas Corporate Social Responsibility and professional and personal growth through training and promotions create a sense of self-actualization.

Communication and Conflict management as factors of motivating employees

There are several other aspects of that allows an organization to keep employees motivated. Among the are active listening and proper communication. As part of the communication process active listening is often overlooked especially by managers. For employees to remain motivate they should be able to voice out their immediate needs and have them addressed within good time. A consequence of in active listening leads to dissatisfaction as well as create ineffectiveness as they perform their duties(Burton, 2012). For RBS creating time for essential feedback form employees through continuous face to face meetings and the approachability of line managers help to continuously and effectively deal with arising employee needs (Yoo, Yoo & Lee, 2010). Communication in general is also an aspect that can motivate employees. ineffective communication may frustrate the efforts of employees. In many case managers may abuse their power by assuming to know more than the employees. In such cases, employees find themselves undervalued and hence unmotivated to go the extra mile in performance. Managers should take up supportive and inspiring roles towards their employees in a bid to help them improve their performance(Zhang & Bartol, 2010; Stone, Deci& Ryan, 2009)).

Notably conflict issues are not uncommon in the workplace. Conflict may arise as a result of conflicting roles, duties or ideas. Unaddressed conflicts issue may give rise to low morale at the workplace as well as hostility towards colleagues, which affect the overall performance of a company(Chan, Huang, & Ng, 2008). Developing process to manage conflict allows the employees to foster a cohesive relationship with one another also retain employee focus towards achieving company goals.


Importance of Applying System Thinking in RBS

A system thinking approach in an organization is a vital aspect that evaluates the value of the interconnected elements of that form an organization. Notably, an organization can be viewed as a system in which several independent elements work coherently to achieve a common goal (Meadow, 2008; Jackson, 2009). System thinking therefore allows an organization to recognize and evaluate the relationships among the independent elements of an organization with a view to gain deeper understanding of their Structure to company goals. Ultimately, the overall performance of an organization will depend on the overall function of the organizational structure rather than the independent elements. Therefore, adoption of a system thinking approach allows the management to analyze operational function in isolation so as to determine their effectiveness. The major benefits of applying systems thinking within an organization includes allowing an organization to identify the source of arising issues within a given situation (Flood, 2010;Pourdehnad & Bharathy, 2004). By looking at the systemic relationship that surround a particular arising problem, an organization is able to attribute the source of the problem in isolation and thereby implement the requisite measures to solve the issue. In RBS, a system thinking approach helps to map out the structure of the organization to effectively monitor its activities on a global scale. Additionally, one finds that while the company is complex, RBS has the ability to develop an effective operational system that focuses on the bank’s goals attainment (Mingers & White, 2010). For example, the bank has access to individual employee performance and progress which is made possible by putting in place system for motivating employees. The systems include an appraisal processes, Total rewards system, as well as a good communication system across the organizations. Systems thinking in RBS not only helps in monitoring the operations, but it also helps in fostering a cohesive relationship among the banks stakeholders.


Effects of unmotivated employees and the Benefits RBS Gains from motivated employees

An organization has a lot to lose as a result of demotivated employees. Firstly, if most of the employees are demotivated, there is high likelihood of poor overall performance within an organization. As noted by Dobre (2013), unmotivated employees choose to perform the minimal duties required in their job description. Therefore, poor performance is inevitable in a company where most employees are demotivated. Dissatisfaction is also a likely occurrence among demotivated employees which may lead to high employee turnover as well as fostering an unproductive organizational culture across all levels of management. Poor service delivery is another consequence of demotivated employees(Mawoli & Babandako, 2011). For service delivery organizations, the quality of service greatly impacts the customer perception of the company. Poor services quality from demotivated employees reflects poorly on an organization’ s image and positioning in the market (Leblebici, 2012). Notably, for most business organizations, return on investment is a key objective during its operations. The overall result of the effects of demotivated workers is low revenue. Decreased performance as well as negative brand perception among other inefficiency issues contribute to a reduction in revenue.

RBS therefore, gains greatly from maintaining motivated employees. Employees have a drive to acquire new businesses for the organization partly because they gain recognition and results based incentives as a reward for their efforts (Leblebici, 2012; Ganta, 2014). Training facilitates the competency of employees thereby allowing them to better serve RBS. Since RBS is a service business, the motivated employees are more likely to take care of their customer as the organization takes care of their welfare. This emanates from the development of a value-oriented and caring culture at RBS that transcends to all Stakeholder of the bank. Consequently, RBS increases on its performance and operational efficiency, which are vital to retain a competitive edge in the high competitive banking industry.


Employee Motivation is a central factor to organizational performance and ultimately its ability to achieve goals. In the case study evaluating Royal Bank of Scotland’s motivation strategy, one finds that the bank uses a variety of motivation strategy informed by well-established motivation concepts. Concepts such as Herzberg two factor theory helps in determining the motivational needs of employees. Additionally, the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs allows RBS to anticipate the needs of its employees that are subject to constant change. RBS adopts a complex yet inclusive motivational strategy not only appeals to intrinsic needs of employees but also the extrinsic needs.



Al Jasmi, S. (2012). A Study on Employees Work Motivation and its Effect on their Performance and Business Productivity (Doctoral dissertation, The British University in Dubai (BUiD)).

Burton, K. (2012). A study of motivation: How to get your employees moving. Management, 3(2), 232-234.

Chan, K. W., Huang, X., & Ng, P. M. (2008). Managers’ conflict management styles and employee attitudinal outcomes: The mediating role of trust. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 25(2), 277-295.

Dobre, O. I. (2013). Employee motivation and organizational performance. Journal of Management and Socio-Economic, (1).

Flood, R. L. (2010). The relationship of ‘systems thinking’ to action research. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 23(4), 269-284.

Ganta, V. C. (2014). Motivation in the workplace to improve the employee performance. International Journal of Engineering Technology, 2(6), 221-230.

Jackson, M. C. (2009). Fifty years of systems thinking for management. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 60(1), S24-S32.

Kuvaas, B., & Dysvik, A. (2009). Perceived investment in employee development, intrinsic motivation and work performance. Human resource management journal, 19(3), 217-236.

Leblebici, D. (2012). Impact of workplace quality on employee’s productivity: case study of a bank in Turkey. Journal of Business, Economics, 1(1).

Mawoli, M. A., & Babandako, A. Y. (2011). An evaluation of staff motivation, dissatisfaction and job performance in an academic setting. Australian Journal of Business and Management Research, 1(9), 1.

Mingers, J., & White, L. (2010). A review of the recent contribution of systems thinking to operational research and management science. European Journal of Operational Research, 207(3), 1147-1161.

Njambi, C. (2014). Factors influencing employee motivation and its impact on Employee Performance: a case of AMREF health Africa in Kenya (Doctoral dissertation, United States International University-Africa).

Osabiya, B. J. (2015). The effect of employees motivation on organizational performance. Journal of public administration and policy research, 7(4), 62-75.

Pourdehnad, J., & Bharathy, G. K. (2004, May). Systems thinking and its implications in organizational transformation. In 3rd International Conference on Systems Thinking in Management, Philadelphia, PA.

Stone, D. N., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Beyond talk: Creating autonomous motivation through self-determination theory. Journal of General Management, 34(3), 75.

Yoo, M. S., Yoo, I. Y., & Lee, H. (2010). Nursing students’ self-evaluation using a video recording of Foley catheterization: Effects on students’ competence, communication skills, and learning motivation. Journal of Nursing Education, 49(7), 402-405.

Zhang, X., & Bartol, K. M. (2010). Linking empowering leadership and employee creativity: The influence of psychological empowerment, intrinsic motivation, and creative process engagement. Academy of management journal, 53(1), 107-128
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