The greatest concern of the companies after recession is how to bring out the best in the employees with less funds and poor market response. Since the market is demanding more for less, companies are now forced to sell products at reduced margins. This state of affairs shows that the proverbial employee engagement policy through extrinsic rewards cannot be implemented under such situation. Moreover, the sales graph is getting down on one hand, while the competition is getting stiffer.
Therefore, the best (and perhaps only) option lying before the companies is to adopt the intrinsic motivation policy, which does not involve monetary reward. However, it is always tough to break away from the convention, since the application of extrinsic rewards to engage the employees has become commonplace. Yet there is hope, if the findings of the researchers regarding the mechanism of motivation have anything to go by. The Guiding Light
Even in 1985, researchers like Deci and Ryan (1985) used attribution theory and suggested that humans constantly reassess the reasons for their behavior besides others. Before that, Lepper et al. (1973) had observed that extrinsic reward (money) acts as a tool for reinforcement, which actually generates two effects for the management, like gaining control over activity or fastening the process, and two, the backlash effect in absence of reinforcement. The example below would explain it better:
A group or an individual gets a reward of x amount of money for a period y, where x+y=m, m being the increased rate of production. Before that, the situation was y=z where production was z. Now in the absence of reinforcement and with the influence of attribution theory, the situation would stand like y-x = n, where n < z. This clearly goes against the basic reason for motivating the employees, i. e. , to enhance the profit of the organization. This also shows that something is missing, which could have played catalyst in between, and that something is ‘love for work’.
The modern researchers have picked up the issue right from here. “Engagement occurs when an employee connects emotionally with his work,” says Paul Glen (2007), thereby underpinning the efficacy of intrinsic reward in employee engagement, since it aims to emotionally engage the workers. The Solution Yet it is tough to overtly implement intrinsic reward policy by issuing heaps of “well-done” certificates, as the employees may not adapt to this sudden shift of reward policy, especially when even a penny counts after recession.
It is where the strategy of fostering team communication can come in handy, which is also backed by “Expectancy Value Theory” of Martin Fishbein (Expectancy, 2004), where he observed that “people mold themselves to the world in accordance with their expectations/beliefs and evaluations. ” An effective team communication does that much-needed job – it converts the employee expectation from personal gain to team-gain, and team-gain becomes possible only when the individual worker meets the expectation of other team-members.
This process manifests through both intra-team communication and inter-team communication, which generates high-degree of intrinsic motivation among team members that automatically creates an emotional bondage with their work. Consequently, members of the team become aware of the roles of each member and try to finish individual assignments in time to meet the expectation of the team members. Upon doing so, they enjoy job satisfaction on many accounts – as fulfilling a team of colleagues’ expectation raises the level of mutual trust, self-confidence and individual relationship.
These are the elements of intrinsic motivation, which rules over money. And what comes out as the by-product? Company benefit, of course! References Expectancy Value Theory. (2004). Web document. Retrieved July 7, 2009, from http://www. tcw. utwente. nl/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/Public%20Rela tions%2C%20Advertising%2C%20Marketing%20and%20Consumer%20Behavio r/Expectancy_Value_Theory. doc/ Glen, P. (2007). You can’t outsource retention. Computerworld, July 16, 2007.