The key to an organization’s success is motivation. Motivation of employees is one of the most important issues facing education today. The need to instill our employees with motivation is becoming more important especially with the shift towards a more socially and culturally responsive workforce.
Knowing what motivates employees, how to provide a motivational plan that includes incentives both traditional (money) and nontraditional elements, keeping our focused on the plan and giving them the tools they need to make the plan successful, and what effect will the motivational plan have on the working atmosphere of our organization are all vital topics to tae into consideration. It is clear that organizations need motivation plans that motivate, provide desired incentives, keeps our managers involved in the process and results in increased value to the organization.
There has been a significant amount of time and energy put into the study of motivational theories. The basis for these studies have been to come up with some working theory that explains what motivates an individual, why, and how this motivation is reliant upon both external and internal factors of the environment in which the individual is immersed. Some significant studies are discussed within the lectures and texts of Module 6. The Hierarchy of Needs is a theory based on Abraham Maslow’s needs system, which states that as certain needs are met a shift upwards in the hierarchy occurs.
The lower the need on the chain the more important it is to the individual and thus needs to be satisfied before others. Next are Theory X and Theory Y (Razik, 2009). These two theories are based on a negative (Theory X) and a positive (Theory Y) belief in humans. Theory X states that people dislike work and will avoid it if possible. It also says that safety is the primary concern of the individual. Theory Y says that people believe work to be a natural part of life like eating or sleeping.
It goes on to say that most people will accept and even seek responsibility. McClelland’s Theory of Needs (McClelland, 1976) breaks motivation down into 3 different needs of the individual (achievement, power and affiliation). The need that motivates an individual takes precedence over the others in this theory. Finally, the Goal-Setting Theory (Robbins, 2001) focuses on specific intentions expressed by the individual and made into goals and determine the level of desire and achievement placed into the task.
After reviewing the theories discussed within the text, it is reasonable to believe that Frank Intermediate School does, and will continue to, benefit strongly from the Goal-Setting Theory of motivation discussed by Robbins (2001). This theory says, that intentions expressed as goals, can be a major source of work motivation. Difficult goals set and accepted by others results in a much more productive environment. Allowing the employee to be actively involved in determining what it is they do and allowing them the opportunity to help set their own goals is a very powerful incentive.
It makes the person feel much more involved in their work. They are not merely cogs in a machine that do the same thing day in and day out. They are a creative and unique aspect of the environment in which they interact. This satisfies feelings of self-worth as well as helping to keep themselves motivated. If they know that they had a hand in determining what and how they perform a job the onus is shifted more to them and away from the organization that employs them. This is the theory I base my plan on.
A motivational plan for Frank Intermediate School is created mainly using the goal-setting theory. The plan is based upon personal experiences as well as actions currently taking place at Frank School. First, communication of vision is extremely important. This includes writing it down, posting it, and communicating it constantly to the employees and the rest of the organization. Secondly, communicate what is expected of each employee. Leaders should clearly and concisely communicate to their employees to let them exactly what is expected of them. Next, value and ask for employee ideas and feedback.
Allow employees the chance to help improve personal leadership skills and to provide more diverse and creative ideas. Two heads are better than one; three heads are better than two, and so on. Another action currently taking place at Frank school is giving employee’s responsibility as well as authority to perform their responsibilities. Giving employees the ability to handle problems on their own or to make decisions in times of crisis provides a way for the organization to expand it’s influence as well as developing greater ability to deal with tough situations.
Allowing teachers looking to further their career and providing opportunities of experience in the field of leadership establishes trust and motivation for growth. Frank school also provides resources and opportunities for training and support. This allows employees to continue their jobs with a feeling of confidence in their ability as well as their confidence in the organization for which they work. Resources gives people the tools they need to get the job done. Do what it takes to provide for them.
This can include a variety of things such as constant training for technology driven positions, new equipment to keep up to industry averages or an adequate onsite reference area for research driven environments. Another part of the motivational plan is providing positive feedback and rewards for accomplishing a specific achievement. If someone does something right, let him or her know: provide positive and genuine feedback when the situation warrants it. Do it immediately and do not make someone wonder if they did a good job. Let them know. This also includes celebrating accomplishments.
Celebrate the small wins as well as the big ones. Every positive step is reason for celebration. The successful completion of any job creates positive momentum for an individual. Create steps along the way to recognize this and allow everyone to benefit from such occasions. One personal thought would be to create customized motivational plans for each individual staff member. According to Hersey (2007), recent studies have shown, nobody is motivated the same way and no one person has exactly the same needs. Some people are driven by achievement while others are focused on security.
Leaders should find out what it is that motivates each individual and work on creating an individual motivational plan with each member. Once a motivational plan is created, it is extremely important to keep track of each individual’s goals and provide constant reports on how they are doing compared to the goals that were set. Do this bi-monthly, monthly or weekly depending on the work situation in which they are involved. Always allow room for modification of the goals should the situation requires it. Do not focus on the negatives.
Highlight the negatives as the chances for improvement while stressing the positive. One accomplishment that exists at Frank Intermediate is the continuously pleasant, comfortable and friendly working environment. People want to enjoy coming to work and take comfort in knowing that a leader is understanding and easy to talk to. Knowing individual needs can ensure this type of working environment. Finally, leaders should set a positive example for their employees. They should follow their own advice and be willing to take action to move forward with the desired plan, vision, and goals of the educational institution.
The most vital part of this plan is following through with it. Use it in all situations and remember to update it as time passes and the environment requires it. It is all well and good to have a plan at your fingertips that you do not follow but this is not going to get you very far in terms of motivating and keeping your employees motivated. Do not let external factors, such as departmental peer pressure, force you to change. The need for support and follow thru of this plan needs to include all levels of the organization.
The organization needs to provide the support, resources and freedom to follow through on each step of this plan. The manager, in turn, needs to filter the resources given to him or her down to his employees and act as any good manager would. Be there for them and always keep an eye out for possible signs of change in the environment. In conclusion, keeping our employees motivated in this day and age is vital in creating a learning environment that is both effective and efficient and within the best interest of our students.
A properly structured motivational plan that involves all parties concerned is of vital importance. Providing constant feedback, incentives and the ability to change as needed are all a part of this plan. I believe that the motivation plan can be the first step in expanding the boundaries of performance. If the plan is used and changes made to fit each unique situation that may arise this motivational plan can provide many rewards and the organization will benefit. Proper motivation is the key to successful business.