Quiz 16: Motivating Employees


Department store K made a change last year to move all of its salespeople to a straight commission compensation plan. This improved the customer service , as anticipated, but has also resulted in increased employee turnover and to large variances in compensation between departments. Departments with higher-priced items offer the opportunity for higher compensation. The staff of departments with lower-priced items makes less money now than they did before the switch. The original decision to switch to commission-only pay is based on the reinforcement theory. This theory suggests the best way to change the behavior of employees is to make sure that when they are rewarded and punished in for their activities. Commission-only compensation achieves these goals, by rewarding the employee with higher pay upon performing better. Similarly lower pay is given when they don't provide the level of service the customer is seeking. The new compensation plan also ties in with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Changing the compensation plan gives staff more control over their compensation and recognition for doing a better job of helping customers. These fall into the " esteem " and " self-actualization " portions of Maslow's chart, and increase job satisfaction and motivation.

Airport security workers are often bored, low-paid and poorly trained which leads to a low level of motivation on the job. To better motivate these employees to ensure the security of air travel, management could: • Focus on relatedness needs by emphasizing the teamwork needed to counteract threats to air travel security. • Focus on growth needs by offering additional training. If there are insufficient funds for training courses, on the job training checklists could be developed for managers to use when showing staff how to perform various activities while at work. • Utilize expectancy theory by emphasizing that future managers will be selected from the current ranks based on job performance and training accomplishments. • Redesign jobs to increase the level of interest in them. For example, lifeguards also have a job that requires high attention for long periods and only an occasional situation requiring action. In that field, the lifeguards are rotated several times per hour through different work stations - such as different lifeguard towers, the check-in desk, and a break - which breaks up the monotony and improves their concentration. Airport security stations might be able to implement a similar method to add interest to a position that could otherwise be boring.

Company P hired sales reps to expand their business into a new market, and promised them hefty bonuses if they met company objectives. The reps succeeded - but now the company is facing trouble with the expansion due to changes in the economy. Consequently, it is considering the option of not paying out the bonuses originally promised. Although the company is having some financial difficulties, it should pay out the bonuses to the sales reps. In case payment of the bonus would result in the company's failure, then only the company should back off. Staff members in the company would soon find out through grapevine that the company's word is not reliable. This would damage the company reputation, and make it much more difficult to motivate staff in future. It would also make it difficult to hire top candidates for future positions, since they will hear that the company reneges on its promises.