I got a chance to interview John Smith, a manufacturing engineer in X Limited, which is a fast-growing consumer goods manufacturer located in the town’s industrial area. The company also has small branches in the other towns, most of which act as supply and distribution centers in the company’s supply chain. As a manufacturing engineer, John is responsible for ensuring that the company meets its production targets. Besides, he should ensure that product manufactures meet the minimum required product quality levels. Within his job position, he is also responsible for overseeing the continuous improvement of manufacturing plant as outlined by the Kaizen principles. Besides, his duties concern occupational health and safety and optimization of machinery and manpower. Moreover, his responsibility involves keeping the cost of manufacture at the minimum amount possible, machine and plant maintenance, lean manufacturing, product design, job process, and workflow design. In addition to that, he also plays the role of a connection link between the manufacturing plant and the other departments in the company. Six engineers, who are responsible for handling various sections in the plant, work under Smith’s supervision. Owing to the high importance of the manufacturing plant in the company’s value chain, John Smith is required to have good decision-making skills, attention to details, flexibility, good coaching and training skills, ability to work under pressure, and good delegation skills. The following paper will provide insight into motivational practices used by the company X Limited.
From the interview, it can be inferred that John enjoyed working at X limited. He has been working at the company for the last eight years, three of which he has been occupying his current position. John indicated that that the company provides rewards on a quarterly basis to employees and departments that are able to meet their targets and also show great advances in innovation and efficiency. He mentioned that for the past five years, the manufacturing department has been ranked in the top three performers’ ranks with two years ranked first. According to the ranking, John has received bonuses in cash, gift vouchers, and paid holidays. The other employees in his department have also received similar treatments, although in varying degrees. Analyzing this employee motivation strategy, it can be acknowledged that it is closely linked to Vroom’s expectancy motivation theory, according to which, an employee is more motivated when he/she expects something good after meeting specific performance requirements (Sosingot-Sundström, 2015). With John’s expectations of rewards and bonuses, it can be concluded that the company’s motivation strategy has been able to achieve its objectives.
It was also identified from the interview that the company has provided John with an opportunity to pursue his career. Starting his job as a junior engineer eight years ago, John has managed to become the company’s manufacturing engineer. He owes his success to various training and capacity building programs that were paid by the company. Just to mention a few, John has acquired occupational health and safety certification, management, quality management, kaizen, 5S, lean manufacturing, energy, environment and resource planning certifications during his stay at X Limited. He states that, although the certifications made him a better employee to the company, they also provided him with a chance to grow his personal and professional lives. Besides, he indicated that the company’s employees are entitled to an annual paid leave and also have a chance to get days-off to cater for various issues that might unexpectedly occur in their personal lives. Additionally, he said that the company pays well and that he was satisfied with his current remuneration package. With a staff welfare program in place to cater for employee concerns, John emphasized that, due to the support received from the company, he has been able to sustain happy family life. From the above findings, it can be acknowledged that the company’s motivation strategy can be linked with needs and Hertzberg’s hygiene factors and motivators theories. According to the needs theory, employees are motivated when they feel that their needs are met (Latham & Pinder, 2005). On the other hand, Hertzberg’s hygiene factors and motivators theory indicates that there is a need for employers to identify workplace factors that lead to job dissatisfaction and also identify those factors that lead to high job satisfaction (Sachau, 2007). From doing this, employers should remove factors causing dissatisfaction and enhance those that enhance satisfaction.
Lastly, John highlighted a very important factor that has contributed to his career growth. He mentioned that the company has continuously provided him with a free platform to experiment his thoughts and those of the other engineers as they try to improve the company’s efficiency. John states that the current setup and workflow is 60 % different from what it was eight years ago. This is due to the great job design that provides him and the other engineers with a platform to integrate new concepts in the workplace. The company also provides him and the other engineers with a chance to use 10 % of their work time to do research, offer consultancy to the other firms, and also experiment on work and non-work related issues. In John’s opinion, this has been a key factor to the company’s innovation in the manufacturing plant. Analyzing this strategy by the company, it can be acknowledged that it can be associated with Hackman and Oldham job characteristics, according to which employee motivation is achieved when an organization devises appropriate job designs that make work enjoyable (Grant, 2007).
Employee motivation is an important factor in human resource management owing to its high influence on employees and ultimate organizational performance. A motivated employee performs better than an employee who is not motivated. Motivation acts as a psychological stimulus that effects the quality and quantity of output delivered by an employee (Nohria, Groysberg & Lee, 2008). Analyzing the effectiveness of the motivation theories as used by X Limited on its employees and specifically John Smith, the company’s manufacturing engineer, it can be inferred that the organization appreciates the importance of employee motivation on organizational performance.
From the perspective of Vroom’s expectancy motivation theory, it can be argued that the company has identified the importance of creating expectations and rewarding them (Sosingot-Sundström, 2015). From the organization’s side, high performance by employees and departments translates to organizational growth and success. On the other hand, the expectations of rewards from the employees’ sides make them do their best to achieve the expected results. As such, the expected rewards/ results as a trade-off platform between employees and employers with X Limited meeting its targets and innovation, and the employees getting their rewards and bonuses.
From the perspective of the needs theory, it can be acknowledged that the company has been able to satisfy the extrinsic and intrinsic needs of its employees. Extrinsic needs do not deal with employees, for example remuneration, rewards, and vocations (Latham & Pinder, 2005). From the interview, it was identified that X Limited has a good welfare program that has enabled John cope with life issues. Additionally, John emphasized that he has a good remuneration package, all of which are efforts to meet his extrinsic needs. With regard to intrinsic needs, the company has provided him with a chance for self-development, career growth, and life satisfaction. Thus, the company has been able to base its motivation strategies on the needs theory and to motivate John and the other employees, and, in turn, become more productive.
According to Hertzberg and Oldham job characteristics theory, the job design at the company provides a good working environment that is enjoyable to work in. John mentioned in the interview that the good job design can be associated with his career growth at the company. The organizational structure allows him to research and test new ideas in his work, thus making the environment enjoyable to work in and, on the other, hand providing the company with innovation, creativity, and continuous improvement resulting from their employee’s work. Lastly, X Limited has been able to identify factors that cause employee satisfaction and those that cause dissatisfaction. From the interview, it can be acknowledged that the company has been able to provide John and the other engineers with a good environment associated with factors that lead to job satisfaction while trying as much as possible to eliminate factors leading to dissatisfaction. This is an indication of appropriate use of Hertzberg’s two factor theory to enhance employee motivation (Sachau, 2007).
In conclusion, X Limited uses an employee motivation strategy that integrates various motivation theories into one. The essay has focused on the use of needs, or characteristics, expectancy, and two-factor theories at the company. It can be concluded that human resources management should study their workplace, job processes, organizational objectives, and employee behavior to devise motivation strategies that are able to enhance employee performance and, at the same time, enable their companies to achieve the set objectives.