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Study notes

Non-Financial Methods to Improve Employee Performance and Motivation

  • Levels: A Level, IB, BTEC Level 3
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

A variety of non-financial methods are available that can be used to improve employee performance and motivation.

Here is a summary of the main methods.

DELEGATION

Delegation is when authority is passed down to employees and staff are given the responsibility to carry out tasks. Delegation is closely associated with a democratic leadership style and can lead to increased motivation as it can contribute towards an employee’s esteem needs and can also contribute towards self-actualisation. It is also one of Herzberg’s motivators (increased responsibility). It is important that managers do not over delegate and that employees are capable, and willing, to take on extra responsibility.

EMPOWERMENT

Empowerment is like delegation, although there are differences. Empowerment provides employees with more responsibility to work on their own behalf without necessarily the need to “hand down” specific tasks and projects. This can be a powerful motivator as it gives workers more control over their work and can lead to growth and advancement, one of Herzberg’s motivators. Empowerment is not without its problems as some employees can potentially take advantage of the increased power that they have been given.

CONSULTATION

Consultation occurs when managers and leaders obtain the views of employees when making decisions. Consultation is associated with a paternalistic and democratic management style and can make workers feel more involved within the business. Although consultation can improve worker motivation, this does depend on the extent to which workers are consulted and whether workers’ views are actually considered.

JOB ROTATION

Job rotation involves the movement of employees through a range of jobs in order to increase interest and motivation. Job rotation can facilitate "multi-skilling”, but also involves the need for greater training. For example, an administrative employee might spend part of the week looking after the reception area of a business, dealing with customers and enquiries. Time might then be spent being responsible for the company telephone switchboard and then doing some typing and data entry.

Job rotation may offer the advantage of making it easier to cover for absent colleagues, but it may also reduce' productivity as workers are initially unfamiliar with a new task. Some employees may also dislike some of the jobs that they are rotating to.

JOB ENRICHMENT

Job enrichment attempts to give employees greater responsibility by increasing the range and complexity of tasks that they are called upon to complete, and giving them the required authority. It motivates by giving employees the opportunity to use their abilities to the fullest. Herzberg argued that job enrichment, through motivators, should be a central element in any attempt to improve motivation.

According to Herzberg, enriched jobs should contain a range of tasks and challenges at different ability levels as well as clear opportunities for achievement and feedback on performance.

It is important when implementing job enrichment that workers have the necessary training and skills, otherwise it could lead to reduced quality, lower productivity and dissatisfaction.

JOB ENLARGEMENT

Job enlargement involves the addition of extra, similar, tasks to a job. In job enlargement, additional tasks are at the same level and in the same job area with the job itself, remaining essentially the same. However, by widening the range of tasks that need to be performed, hopefully the employee will experience less repetition and monotony.

With job enlargement, the employee rarely needs to acquire new skills to carry out the additional task, and the motivational benefits of job enrichment are not usually experienced. One important negative aspect is that job enlargement is sometimes viewed by employees as a requirement to carry out more work for the same amount of pay.

TEAM WORKING

Team working can meet workers social needs (Maslow) and can also lead to a more multi-skilled workforce and shared responsibility, which can improve worker motivation. That said, when things go wrong, it is easy for team members to point the finger at others and there is often resentment if some members feel others aren’t pulling their weight.

FLEXIBLE WORKING

Flexible working ultimately involves workers having a a degree of choice relating to how and when they work, allowing workers to balance their own personal needs with the needs of the business. Methods of flexible working include multi-skilling, part-time and temporary, flexible hours and home working.

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