HR Performance Issues and Motivation

customer serviceAbraham Maslow (1954) wrote a basic satisfaction-progression model which adapts to the philosophy of Humanism. Conversely, the humanism approach would show that all people are basically good people, even with the absence of religious thinking; that is, all people [without thought to religion] have the ability to pursue and maintain basic needs. The hierarchy of needs Maslow (1954) developed, and to paraphrase Baack (2012), stated that for all human-beings to be satisfied the physiological needs of “food, shelter, clothing, and sex” must be met. [Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Section, para. 1]. These in turn, can lead one to pursue needs outside of themselves such as social circles where one meets friends, acquaintance and work relations. Hence, these social needs if they are successful, in turn, lead to esteem, where people, generally are found to be well-liked and held in high regard, and these are where people know that the work they do has meaning; not only for their feelings of esteem, but in helping other which Baack (2012) stated, “esteem leads to self-actualization”, that is what one does in their life’s work makes a difference. [Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Section; para. 2].

The thought of manipulation in the workplace is absolutely appalling. It is the case, that  an employer who would play on a person’s need to get them to do anything for their paycheck is unthinkable, however some do just that.  For example, an employer, whose vision in the beginning was to help people who had difficulty finding employment, and was successful in starting a ‘reputable’ company helping many. However, the original owner, now deceased, the company was wrested by evil men who now use control over the employees by way of trinkets under the guise of ‘a job well done’. It is the case, that incentives should come in the form of additions to pay allowing the employee to buy what he wishes and if its trinkets or material goods he [the employee] wants he is not manipulated to have them. Additionally, Baack (2012) stated, “The need for power suggests the drive to make others behave in ways they would not otherwise choose. When properly channeled, the need for power can be related to managerial success. To do so, power cannot be created or used in the pursuit of personal goals, and the individual should not place influence ahead of effective performance. [McClelland’s Need Theory; para. 4]. Therefore, the acknowledgment of  issues which cause lack of motivation in the workplace with managers who are seen as people of influence, and manipulate by trinkets to persuade their employees to do their bidding unawares; and,  no matter how unethical. Hence, anyone who chooses not to participate is not well-liked by management which Baack (2012) wrote, according to Maslow (1954) can impede progress for an employee.

Assuming that all the physiological needs are met through ones’ paycheck the move to social, esteem, and self-actualization are forthcoming. However, one has to trust their boss, or people in supervision over them to such a degree as to allow credit to them [the employer]; even while, waiting to receive a check.  In the article, “The Top 9 Things That Ultimately Motivate Employees to Achieve”, Glenn Llopis (2012), wrote there are few key things that motivate a person, they are: (a) Trustworthy Leadership, (b) Being Relevant, (c) Proving other wrong, (d) Career Advancement, (e) No Regrets, (f) Stable Future. These are just a few, however, Llopis (2012) concerning trustworthiness stated:

Leaders that have your back and that are looking out for your best interests – will win the trust of their employees who in turn will be more motivated to achieve.    I once had a department manager that always looked out for me.  He was upfront in communicating his performance expectations and his feedback was direct.   He never treated me like a subordinate and looked for ways to include me in senior management meetings.  This opened my eyes to what lied ahead in my career and thus motivated me to reach the next level and in the process exceed the expectations of my boss. [Trustworthy Leadership Section; para. 1].

The scenario where the employer manipulates through the employees’ physiological needs not being met is one of concern, especially when taken from the idea of humanism and the thought that all humans are basically good. Hence, in this case, all people can be considered good until they are proven un-worthy, and this revelation can lead to lack of motivation, or a less than positive image of the employer. Hence, though Maslow’s theory is a good one it does not bring into focus, or rather, allow for greedy employers, or greedy people. Llopis (2012) wrote, “As a leader, be mindful of providing security and stability in how you lead your employees – and watch their motivational levels rise.” [Stable Future Section].

In the article, “The Holy Grail of Workplace Motivation” Skip Weisman (2014) wrote concerning transparency:
For small business owners transparency may be more frightening than autonomy. Transparency is difficult for small business owners because it is opening them up to scrutiny they don’t feel their employees are entitled to….. Transparency breeds significantly higher levels of motivation and commitment because it speaks directly to the level of trust in the workplace. Research has shown that higher levels of trust can be directly related to higher levels of financial performance. Offering transparency shows an employee a direct correlation between their role and the company’s bottom line performance. It allows employees to understand the correlation between their compensation and the results the company achieves. [Autonomy and Transparency Section; para. 1,10].

In this instance, the employer who is not transparent would find it difficult to reward an honest employee, and one can see why not in the sense that wrong doing is shown up by the honest employee who for all purpose is aware of the manipulation. Hence, rewards or incentives which may be well received by needy employees might not be so with on who is honest. In essence, bribes under the pretense of ‘good of a job’ well done are at the expense of the employee and the customers they serve. Hence, to motivate themselves employees, according to Llopis (2012), in the article, “6 Unique Ways to Sustain a High Performance Mentality” to paraphrase stated that the employee should keep a blog to write about lessons and experience which to add, is ideal for those employees who can find no other recourse, except to know what to look for in their other endeavors when searching for employment. [Step6: Write a Blog and Hold Yourself Accountable Section].

Ultimately, according to Maslow having basic or physiological needs met is essential for security in the individual personal life. Hence, the challenge is that these must be met by management which brings further safety to the individual at home, and in the work place. However, the rationale of security is further cemented with (a) trustworthy employers and (b) transparent employers where one’s esteem is made wholesome with shared thinking and goals among superiors and peers. Therefore, if one feels safe then, and esteem is reciprocal this makes one’s work worthwhile. Hence, employers and their management should take measures that all their staff feel their jobs are a safe environment to work to ensure a wholesome environment for everyone.

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