Motivational Tools to Boost Employee Morale

  • Post last modified:10 October 2021
  • Reading time:13 mins read

It is very important for an organization to have a happy and satisfied workforce. A discontented and unmotivated staff may drastically impact the productivity and work relationship of the organization. Hence organizations use different motivational tools to boost the morale of its employees.

These can be physical or monetary rewards, or internal and intrinsic that uses psychological measures to enhance the self-esteem of the employees.

Motivational Tools

Some of the motivational tools applied by the organizations are discussed below:

Job Characteristic Model

This approach basically holds that each job has certain nature and characteristics that combine to create meaningful work. The presence of some of these characteristics can make a job more important and worthwhile than the other. They can be described in terms of five core dimensions as below:

Skill Variety

A job at times requires a combination of different activities for its successful completion. Each activity requires a different set of skills required for the successful completion of the tasks in hand.

Task Identity

Is the degree to which completion of a set of tasks leads to an identifiable piece of work for e.g. building a sofa is more complete than attaching legs to a tabletop.

Task Significance

A job is more significant if it has a substantial and direct impact on the lives and works of other people.

Autonomy

Refers to the amount of discretion an employee has in deciding how, when and where a task needs to be performed. High autonomy leads to greater responsibility which in turn enhances motivation.

Feedback

It is the extent to which the results of an individual’s efforts can be directly and clearly measured. A job high on feedback will result in an individual being able to get direct information about the effectiveness of his performance.

Job Redesign

While redesigning a job, restructuring of tasks, responsibilities and duties is done in order to inspire the employees. The aim is to place the right person at the right job at the same time increasing their satisfaction levels. The process includes increasing the variety of assignments and functions, reshuffling and reforming in order to make the employees feel an important asset of the organization. Below are the various approaches to job redesigning.

Job Rotation

Job rotation is a technique where employees are moved between two or more jobs in a planned manner. The jobs generally have similar skill requirements. Job rotation is carried out when an employee suffers from over routinization of their work that leads to boredom and gradual disinterest which in turn lowers productivity.

The advantages of job rotation are that it increases motivation through diversifying the employee’s activities and creates a workforce with a wider range of skills. On the contrary, it increases training costs and a job suffers inefficiency when a person is posted in a new role.

Job Enlargement

Job enlargement refers to the widening of the range of tasks performed by an employee. This results in reducing monotony as it leads to a greater variety of activities and added responsibilities accompanied by adequate training. It is a horizontal restructuring method that results in greater workforce flexibility.

Job Enrichment

Job enrichment enhances job satisfaction by increasing the level of responsibility and scope. It combines various existing and new tasks into one large module of work. There is more control in the hands of the employees, he enjoys more authority and autonomy while planning and executing.

Alternative Work Arrangements

Apart from job redesigning as a tool to motivate employees, there are other ways of motivating them by alternative work arrangements discussed below:

Flexible Work Timings

Flexible work timings refer to changing the work arrangements and timings of the employees according to their convenience. Some individuals are more charged up and productive in the morning hours, they would like to come to work early and leave early.

Hence to suit their comfort levels the organizations asks the employees to work for a specific number of hours in a week, but they are free to vary the time and hours of work according to their convenience within certain limits.

Job Sharing

Job sharing is another way of motivating the employees in which a single job is split between two people. They can work in two different slots in the same day or can work on alternate days in a week. In one way it leads to flexibility and job satisfaction within the employees but on the other hand it is difficult to find compatible partners who can co-ordinate successfully.

Organizations find it beneficial in a way that they can pay for one individual by drawing on the talents of more than one individual. But there might be a conflict of interests or failure ineffective coordination between the two employees sharing the job, this might lead to affecting the work relationships and lowering down productivity.

Telecommuting

Telecommuting is the most flexible of all the options where the employee can work sitting at home for a certain number of days in a week. It is done on a computer that is linked to their office. But there are specific nature of jobs that can be performed by telecommuting for e.g. writers, analysts, telemarketers, reservation agents who spend most of their time on computers and telephones are best suited for this kind of arrangement.

Whereas some jobs that are people-oriented and involve meetings of physical examination of the products might not be able to promote the culture of working from home.

Empowerment

It means delegating more power to employees to make their own decisions without the approval of their immediate seniors over areas of their work.

It is not necessary that it is accompanied with a monetary benefit as it is a psychological tool and helps to boost the self-esteem of the employees. Empowerment encourages employees to become innovators. The employees are supported and encouraged to utilize their skills, ability and creativity by accepting accountability for their work. This concept works when the employees are adequately trained and provided with all the relevant information.

There should be conducive conditions for empowerment. Employees must be encouraged to take control of their work. Superiors must be receptive to the employee’s innovative ideas. Trust levels should be high between the employees and the superiors. And there should be frequent feedbacks provided to the employees regarding their performance.

All of the above measures lead to an enhanced self-efficacy amongst the employees, they tend to become more confident and self-assured. This leads to increased and effective activity directed towards task accomplishment.

Participative Management

Participative management means involving workers in the decision-making process, it involves employees or employee representatives at all levels of decision making. The aim is to involve those who are influenced by the decisions in making decisions.

Since the worker gives his time, commitment and energy to the workplace, he should be given a chance to participate in the decision-making process. The employee should be given an opportunity to express his views and due importance should be given to them by the management while framing policies.

The various methods of participation are:

Participation at the Board level.

  • Participation through share ownership.
  • Participation through joint councils and committees.
  • Participation through job enlargement.
  • Financial Participation.
  • Empowered teams.
  • Participation through Collective Bargaining.

Importance and Advantages of Participation

  • It leads to better performance as employees identify themselves with the work better.
  • It gives a psychological satisfaction to the employees, hence they feel motivated.
  • It reduces employees grievances, conflicts and stress resulting in more commitment to goals.
  • It brings a uniformity of approach between the management and the employees.
  • It boosts the employee’s self-esteem and increases job satisfaction.
  • It enhances communication between the management and the employees leading to a better relationship and co-operation between them.
  • It introduces industrial democracy and brings stability and prosperity to the business enterprise.

Quality of Work Life (QWL)

It is determined by the environment at the workplace. It measures the larger personal satisfaction that the employees are deriving from working in an organization. There are few factors that impact the quality of work-life of the employees in a major way. Some of them are stated below.

Pay

An equitable pay, a certain share in the profits to the employees so that they also benefit in case the company progresses is one of the most important factors determining the quality of work-life of the employees.

Benefits

Employees nowadays look forward to a larger range of benefits much beyond just health and safety.

Job Security

Stability of employment is a very important factor to make an employee feel committed and stay loyal to the organization. Hire and fire policy, layoffs and constantly being at the mercy of the employer is strongly opposed in any organization.

Job Enrichment

Job enrichment enhances job satisfaction by increasing the level of responsibility and scope. It combines various existing and new tasks into one large module of work. There is more control in the hands of the employees, he enjoys more authority and autonomy while planning and executing.

Job Flexibility

Allowing the workers to change the work timings and arrangements according to their convenience leads to flexibility in the workers’ lifestyle, they can share jobs, work in slots, and work from home whenever possible. They don’t feel bound to work at a scheduled time, they can pick up work in their most productive hours and aim to complete certain hours in a week.

Other Measures

Various measures like an atmosphere of trust and open communication, recognition of work done followed by rewards, training and development etc also enhances a workers quality of life.

The different tools by which quality of work-life programs can be measured and evaluated are – turnover data, morale surveys, number of grievances handled, absenteeism data etc.

Motivation Through Variable Pay Programs

In order to motivate the employees towards better standards and higher levels of productivity, variable pay programs play a very effective role. If the employees are paid on the basis of time of the job and seniority their drive to excel dies down as they know that they will be paid the same amount even if they work and produce bare minimum results.

However if a portion of the employee’s pay is based on some individual or organizational performance, it motivates the employees to excel in their performance as their earnings are directly proportionate to their contribution to the organization.

Following are the different types of variable pay programs.

Piece Rate Pay

Under piece-rate pay an employee receives remuneration according to the number of units produced or job completed for e.g number of units sold by a salesman. There is no regular fixed income.

Total wages = output * piece rate. Since the payment is on the basis of the result and not the time spent on the job, it helps reduce idle time. It encourages efficient workers as they are able to make more money than the others due to their high productivity levels.

Merit-Based Pay

Under merit-based pay, there are certain criteria for which the performance of the employee is measured and rated. Each individual’s pay and promotion is decided based on performance appraisal ratings. Good performers get motivated as they feel that they are being compensated fairly according to their individual contributions to the organization.

They are motivated further to keep up and enhance their good work for career growth. It also helps retain to employees as they feel they are being done justice to and they do not get lured by greener pastures outside the organization.

Bonus

Bonus is paid up and above the regular basic salary. It is paid yearly or bi-yearly. Bonus acts as a gesture of appreciation of the hard work put in by the employees that produce great results. It may also be paid to the entire group in case the group is able to achieve the desired goal. This helps to keep them motivated to work together towards a common goal with a healthy team spirit.

Profit Sharing

Under this incentive plan, the company divides a portion of its profit in a certain pre-determined percentage amongst the eligible employees. This motivates the employees as not only their hard work is being appreciated but they also feel a sense of satisfaction and commitment to the organization.

This in turn further increases employee productivity and morale leading to higher financial gains. This cycle goes on in a way that it becomes beneficial to both the employee as well as the employer.

Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs)

Under ESOPs company awards the performance of its employees by giving them shares generally at below the market price. It motivates the employees as it instils in them a sense of ownership and belongingness. Employee’s share value grows in proportion to the growth and prosperity of the company hence leading to huge financial gains.

It helps the company to retain its business philosophy by selling the shares to its employees rather than to an outside buyer and hence protects the legacy and the culture of the company built by them over the years.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a formal or informal relationship between the two employees, a senior mentor and a junior mentee. Generally the mentor is outside the mentee’s chain of supervision. There are various mentoring programs that are undertaken which help in motivating the mentee, boosting his morale, enhancing his career development and increasing organizational productivity.

In the words of B.H.Owens mentoring, “ Is a supportive and nurturing relationship between an expert and a notice”.

A mentor is a teacher, guide, friend and a great support system to the mentee.

Mentoring helps in skill enhancement, it enables experienced and highly competent staff to pass their expertise to the young professionals who need to acquire skills.

Mentoring helps in mentees career development, it paves a path for them to manage and grow their careers. They also become resilient and self-reliant in times of change.

Mentoring helps develop leadership competencies in the mentee. This is more effectively gained through on job practical examples than in theories.

Mentoring influences staff retention as there are ongoing interactions, coaching, learnings etc.

Employee Counseling

Sometimes employees might face some difficult time and their morale may go down. They might feel demotivated because of several reasons like unrealistic targets, excessive workload, tight deadlines, lack of team spirit, interpersonal relationships, personal or family problems etc. In such cases, HR managers, line managers, supervisors take the responsibility of counselling the distressed employee.

In the counselling session, the managers sit with the counselee, listens to his problems, addresses the issues, provides feedback and helps the counselee to see a different viewpoint. He further suggests and recommends solutions, reach conclusions, decides the right course of action. Once the corrective action is taken he follows up on the development.

The HR manager stays informed, discusses the issue with the relevant supervisor, schedules a joint counselling session, continuously asks for feedback and monitors development.

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