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The middle market CEOs can always be seen wondering about their employee productivity and professional development and in this process, they often overlook the two biggest components of productivity- employee motivation and engagement. Motivated and engaged employees are likely to decrease the employee turnover rate and the leaders and managers than would have much happier and much longer tenured employees at the place (Lorinkova and Perry 2017). This essay shall elaborate on defining, analyzing, and discussing the practice implications of the phenomena of motivation and engagement. This shall further be examined on the basis of how motivation and engagement can influence us as leaders and can improve or detract from our own practice and that of the people we work with.
Motivation refers to the desire of wanting something or avoiding something. According to Werner and Milyavskaya (2019), it is the desire of acting in the service of a particular goal. Baumeister (2016) further has defined motivation as “the psychological forces that determine the direction of person’s behavior in an organization, a person’s level of effort, and a person’s level of persistence in the face of obstacles”. Unmotivated employees are always likely to put very little efforts into the work tasks, which would ultimately make them lowering down the quality, avoiding the workplace and can even make them exit their job if provided with the opportunity of doing so. While, the motivated employees are likely to willingly take part on the tasks, work creatively, be productive and persistent and produce the work of higher quality.
Furthermore, it is also to note that the concept of motivation can further be divided into intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. In simplest form, the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations could be differentiated as- intrinsic motivation is driven by the forces from within a person and the extrinsic motivation is driven by the external forces (Vilnai-Yavetz & Levina, 2018). An individual can be said as intrinsically motivated when he or she seek interest, self-expression, enjoyment, personal challenge and satisfaction of curiosity in the work. On the other hand, an individual can be said as extrinsically motivated when he or she is more concerned with incentives or other financial rewards. Motivation is a very important element in the setting and attaining of one’s objectives. Motivation at workplace has grown to become one of the key issues that the managers and companies are facing all around the globe (Fischer, Malycha & Schafmann, 2019). The behavioral scientists and psychologists have drawn to and interested by the relationship in between people and their work since the early twentieth century and in the present time, the study of the motivation at work forms a key part of industrial and vocational psychology.
However, it is to mention that beyond just motivation, for attaining success in the contemporary highly competitive environment, many companies have identified the need of engagement and engaging their workforce. The term engagement can be defined as the level to which an individual feel passionate about his or her work, is committed to his or her organization and puts discretionary effort into his or her work. It ultimately results in successful organizational performance. Companies worldwide has realized that there is positive relation in between the organizational performance in the market and employee engagement, including the different aspects like customer satisfaction, retention rates, organizational success, productivity and profitability. At the same time, there are also many studies that demonstrate that the employee engagement level presently in declining and the global workforce at ultimately, not engaged.
It is to mention that there is also a strong relationship between motivation and employee engagement. Motivating the followers is important and these followers could be anyone right from students, employees or anyone in the personal life of a leader. Without, motivation, the leaders simply have no entry point. Notwithstanding this, it is also to note that it is the “engagement” that is critical in this process as of the fact that engagement level over the passage of time is the vehicle through with the instruction influences the net outcomes of the followers. For example, in the workplace setting, addressing the employee motivation within the workplace is very necessary for the overall success and achievement of some productive employees. Kulaiets (2016) has opined that motivation is integral to learning process and that, it is the underlying force that forces the students to perform, to continue their learning and moving the completion of tasks at hand.
Every conscious human behavior is motivated in some or the other way. The needs and drives that are internal leads to tensions and this in turn results in action. For example, the need for food results in starvation, which is why an individual gets motivated for eating. Motivating the workers or staffs in an organization is one of the key contemporary organizational issues (Li et al., 2019). History too has spent a lot of energy and time on learning about motivation and many researchers and scholars have developed many motivational theories that are still in use in the modern organization assessments.
One of the key and most influential theories is the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The key idea of this theory is that the more the basic needs of an individual, the more likely the individual is to use all the possible ways of satisfying those needs (Soni & Soni, 2016). The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is divided into five categories and they are- Physiological needs (the need for food, air, water, clothing etc.), the safety needs (the need for property, resources, health, personal security etc.), the need of love and belongingness (need for family, intimacy, connection and friendship), The Esteem need (need for self-esteem, statues and respect) and the self-actualization need (the desire of becoming the most that a person can ever be). The implication of this theory could be explained through the example of Tesco.
Apart from this theory, there are also many other theories like the Frederick Herzberg theory and Mayo theory of motivation.
As per the engagement theory, leaders of a company need to make sure that all their employees are fully engaged and that they are completely switches on at their jobs (Harrell-Cook, Levitt & Grimm, 2017). The key idea behind this theory is that staffs are fully committed in the way the entrepreneurs care for their businesses and people after their own household. It is to note that behind engaged is all about being fully involves and interested in whatever a person does so that it holds his or her attention and inspires him or her to do their best.
In order to improve the level of employee engagement in the company, Google, in the year 2006 had introduced their novel transferable stock option program for all its employees. Again, in the year 2012, it introduced first-of-its-kind employee death benefits that disrupt the other employee benefits that are been provided in the private sector. Furthermore, the company is open to dress codes and informality in the authority relationships, dynamic meeting settings, free communication flow, and flexible working hours. Another good example of its wide range of employee engagement strategies include the fact that there are communities of bicycle to work environmentalists and enthusiasts at Google. This demonstrate that the company is interested in environmental conservation and that it is making efforts for being as energy efficient as possible.
Being leaders, we always know that one of the important tasks of use is to keep our team motivated. For this reason, we always need to constantly remind our people about the vision of our company and at the same time, hold them accountable to their goals and targets. In this process, we are required to mentor them and support their work. Furthermore, I also believe that when it comes to the leaders or leadership, motivation becomes all about “engagement”. How engaged are we in our work, how committed are we for attaining the results that we are supposed to be getting. Motivation helps us in staying connected to whatever we are doing and understand what it takes to get better (Shaikh & Connor, 2020). All the people below us lean on us because we are leaders. When we are motivated enough, we can provide them with best guidance and support and can tell them what they must do.
It is to note that employee motivation is a very important aspect at an organization that results in the performance of both the department and the company. According to the recent research study by Mann and Harter (2016) there are only13% of the employees around the world who are engaged at work. Motivation can effectively improve the practices of people by means of increasing their employee commitment, improving their level of satisfaction and that of their efficiency. When the employees are motivated enough to work, they put their best effort in the tasks or projects that are given to them.
Engagement and its effect on leadership
I believe that the leaders who are engages, takes genuine interest in the lives of their people. They make their people feel good about themselves. It is to note that the feeling of unrecognized is one of the most prevalent reasons behind why many of the people quit their jobs in the first place (Akanji et al., 2018). Catching them in the act of doing things right and praising those action are what the engaged leaders do. Furthermore, engaged leaders know what his subordinates and people are doing, whether they are improving or deteriorating and hence, they give them positive and constructive feedback with the intention of helping them flourish and grow within the organization.
The engagement practices like the team building activities, leadership development etc. ensure that the company is running productively and efficiently as a whole (Mestry, 2017). They help the people in fostering strong workplace relationship and at the same time, also aids to the employee professional development. Hence, making sure that the people are well-engaged in the organization and that they are developing the required skills for working together as a team are very important for the long term organizational growth and success.
Hence, from the above analysis it is to conclude that the phenomena of motivation and engagement in workplace is something to always take into consideration by the organizational managers and leaders if they want their people to but their best efforts in meeting the organizational goals and objectives. Leaders and managers must ensure that the employees are motivated and engaged well with the organization and its people in order to ensure long term growth and success. The motivated and engaged leaders and subordinates are likely to help organization meet its organizational mission, vision and objectives.
Akanji, B., Mordi, T., Ajonbadi, H., & Mojeed-Sanni, B. (2018). Impact of leadership styles on employee engagement and conflict management practices in Nigerian universities. Issues in Educational Research, 28(4), 830-848.
Baumeister, R. F. (2016). Toward a general theory of motivation: Problems, challenges, opportunities, and the big picture. Motivation and Emotion, 40(1), 1-10.
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Fischer, C., Malycha, C. P., & Schafmann, E. (2019). The influence of intrinsic motivation and synergistic extrinsic motivators on creativity and innovation. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 137.
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Shaikh, I. A., & O’Connor, G. C. (2020). Understanding the motivations of technology managers in radical innovation decisions in the mature R&D firm context: An Agency theory perspective. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 55, 101553.
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Vilnai-Yavetz, I., & Levina, O. (2018). Motivating social sharing of e-business content: Intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, or crowding-out effect?. Computers in Human Behavior, 79, 181-191.
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