The Importance of Motivation in Employee Productivity
We hear that better pay motivates employee to be more productive. We also hear those happy employees are productive employee. Using motivational theory and empirical evidence, argue* which statement is more accurate.
Conventional wisdom holds that if employees are paid enough salary, they will be more productive. However, there may be more to just a better pay. Motivational theories like Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory recognizes various factors that motivate employees to be more productive- the lower level needs and the higher level needs. Among these factors is better to pay. However, these theories explain that before a higher level need is satisfied, a lower level needs must have been satisfied. According to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, salary is a hygiene/maintenance factor that prevents dissatisfaction but does not increase satisfaction or motivation. However, in the absence of this factor, dissatisfaction usually arise (Alshmemri et al., 2017). Herzberg explains motivators as things like recognition, achievement, and responsibility. The presence of these factors makes employees more satisfied while their absence tends to prevent both motivation and job satisfaction. For any organization to survive and perform at the top level, its employees must be happy. Unlike unhappy employees, research shows that happy employees work harder, better and embraces teamwork which makes them generally more productive. This essay tries to argue that the statement “happy employees are productive employees” is more accurate than the statement “better pay motivates employees to be more productive.”
Motivation is a very important element in employee’s productivity. Motivation comes from the word “motive” which means desires, urge, needs and wants within an individual (Lazaroiu, 2015, p. 97). Motivation can, therefore, be defined as the general desire, urge, needs or wants that provides the energy needed for an employee to behave in a particular way. Being happy at work implies that employees fully enjoy what they do and love their place of work (Gilbert, McKee, Spreitzer & Amabile, 2017). Better pay refers to work where employees are paid generally higher wages as compared other work of the same category (Gerhart & Fang, 2015, p. 489-52). Employee’s productivity can be defined as the amount of output produced by an employee per work hour (Howard et al., 2016). This is calculated by dividing employee’s output by work hours. Productivity is vital to an organization because an increase in productivity implies that an organization generates a higher output per work hour. This, in turn, enables an organization to produce more for a given work hour. Better pay can motivate happy employees to be more productive. When happiness is absent, better pay may or may not have any effect on employee’s productivity based on the theories of motivation.
Motivational Theories and Empirical Evidence
Happy employees are productive employees. When employees find joy in what they do, they are likely to influence their co-workers to take joy in what they do as well. Managers who are happy in their job, for instance, tend to influence those working under them to become happy (Garton & Mankins, 2015). In addition, happy employees tend to support one another in achieving the goals and objectives of the company, especially in group projects. They are also more likely to seek help when they need it, unlike unhappy better-paid employees who would feel ashamed to seek support when they need it because of the higher expectation vested in them. All these works to increase productivity. A study conducted by economists at Warwick University found that happiness resulted in a twelve percent increase in productivity (Revesencio, 2015). The results of the study also showed that employees who were unhappy regardless of the pay were ten percent less productive. The research concluded that indeed human happiness increases productivity as positive emotions provided more strength to individual workers. The increased productivity as attested by the research is linked to employees helping out co-workers and working as a team.
Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory of motivation tend to support employee’s happiness as an essential element of productivity as opposed to better pay. Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory places emphasis on motivation sources that are pertinent to productivity. He came to a conclusion that two factors were essential to employee’s job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. These are the motivation factors which are the satisfiers and the hygiene factors which are the dissatisfiers. Examples of hygiene factors include salary, status, supervision and working conditions. Examples of motivators include growth, achievement, and recognition. Herzberg argued that hygienic factors where better pay falls under tend to prevent employees' dissatisfaction but do not increase employee's satisfaction or motivation. The presence of motivators, on the other hand, makes employees satisfied and when they are absent, what results is a dissatisfied and unmotivated employee. Since productivity goes hand in hand with motivation, the presence of motivators increases productivity. Since hygienic factors like better pay do not increase satisfaction or motivation, they have little effect on productivity.
Happy employees tend to care about the company and are motivated to make the company achieve its goals and objectives. Happiness pushes employees to become more invested in the company’s goals and are more bound to work compared to unhappy employees which results into increased productivity (Huang et al., 2016, p. 296-314). Employees may have a better pay but when they are unhappy they lose the urge to become more invested in the organizations goals which affects productivity. According to a survey on employees’ satisfaction and engagement conducted by TINY pulse, happy employees are 20 percent more productive in their place of work. Employees who are engaged invest in the company and their work (Ayala et al., 2017, p. 1377-1401). These are the employees who are interested in knowing more about what the company does, why it does it and are interested in speaking in meetings. These employees tend to think actively about the processes of the firm and are determined to bring about improvement. This in turn results into improved productivity.
Better Pay versus Employee Happiness in Productivity
The Hawthorne effect provided by Professor George Elton Mayo analyzes the psychological aspects of work and how they impact productivity. This theory explains that personal motivation and output tend to increase when individuals are divided into groups and allowed to develop relationships with their managers (Muldoon, 2017, p. 82). The output, in this case, tends to increase despite the changes in employees’ working condition. Mayo outlines that this is attributed to factors like self-esteem, recognition, value and a sense of belonging. Based on Mayo’s study, employees' motivation goes beyond financial satisfaction and when motivation is generated by people feeling valued and cared for, productivity tends to increase.
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory explains the five basic needs that motivate employees. Maslow notes that a lower level need has to be satisfied first before a higher level need becomes a motivating factor (Tanner, 2017). He thus arranges the needs in order of their importance beginning with a lower level need to a higher level need. The five needs include physiological needs, the need for safety and security, the need to belong, the need for esteem and the need for self-actualization (Poston, 2009. P. 347-353). Based on these needs, an employee has to be in good health, be secure and safe with good relationships before they can be more productive. Maslow argues, in his theory, that although higher needs arise as lower needs are satisfied, the behavior is not necessarily satisfied. All employees have material needs which when fulfilled provides satisfaction and motivation to employees up to a particular extent (Barrick, 2015, p. 128). Once this extent is reached, motivation tends to come from personal needs and aspirations. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory agrees with Maslow’s theory where it categorizes salary as a hygiene/maintenance factor that prevents dissatisfaction but does not increase satisfaction or motivation (De Vito et al., 2018). However, in the absence of this factor, dissatisfaction usually arise. Herzberg explains motivators as things like recognition, achievement, and responsibility. The presence of these factors makes employees more satisfied while their absence tends to prevent both motivation and job satisfaction. For any organization to survive and perform at the top level, its employees must be happy. Unlike unhappy employees, research shows that happy employees work harder, better and embraces teamwork which makes them generally more productive.
Happy employees tend to take more risks which make them more productive. Development is the backbone of any business, and it is just glad workers that are sufficiently motivated to conceive brand new ideas and concoct the imaginative arrangements needed by the organization. Cheerful employees will probably go out on a limb, while troubled workers will probably take no chances. Business isn't tied in with avoiding any risk, it is tied in with accepting the correct open doors at the perfect time and glad workers are more connected with and henceforth more inclined to notice and follow up on holes in the market as well as your organization's procedures. Glad representatives additionally make a steady domain in the working environment that urges everybody to gain from their mix-ups as opposed to fear them. Oversights can be an intense learning apparatus that can open the way to unexpected achievement and representatives who are hesitant to commit errors remain to pass up a great opportunity for these essential learning openings. Another reason why happy employees are productive employees is that happy employees are more optimistic. Unlike unhappy employees with better pay, research shows that happy employees have more positive and optimistic outlook.
Factors that Influence Productivity
Better pay can also motivate employees to become more productive, more so if it results in employees happiness. From Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory, a lower level need has to be satisfied first before a higher level need becomes a motivating factor. Better pay in terms of salary and reward falls under a lower level need which plays an important role in employees’ motivation and productivity as a whole (Nyberg, Pieper, & Trevor, 2016, p. 1753-1783). Maslow notes that lower needs like hunger, thirst, sleep, salary, emotional and physical needs are fundamental before a higher need is satisfied. If employee's salaries were withdrawn, for instance, the level of motivation will drop drastically. On the other hand, if, employees' salaries are boosted, then they are likely to get more motivated. According to Expectancy Theory developed by Vroom, employees expect a return for their efforts and decisions on their behaviors tend to come from perceived return on investment for their effort, the perceived value of the reward and perceived performance on the outcome (Miner, 2015, p. 110-129). The theory perceives motivation as that which relies on employee's perception of worth and value. When employees make a decision on their behavior, they will ask themselves about what is store for them? What will be the reward? Once they become assured of a heavy reward, they become motivated hence more productive.
In conclusion, conventional wisdom holds that if employees are paid enough salary, they will be more productive. However, employees' productivity demands more and the answer is happiness. As attested by motivation theories and empirical evidence, happy employees can influence coworkers to become more productive like them, they tend to care about the company and are motivated to make the company achieve its goals and objectives, and happy employees tend to take more risks which make them more productive. Happiness pushes employees to become more invested in the company's goals and are more bound to work compared to unhappy employees which result into increased productivity Since employee’s productivity depends more on employees’ happiness as opposed to better pay, we can conclude that the statement “happy employees are productive employees” is more accurate than the statement “better pay motivates employees to be more productive.”
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