Companies derive their wealth from human capital. This means that the human resource function is important for increasing the effectiveness of a company. One of the major functions of human resource management is motivating employees. Employees need to be motivated so as to increase their productivity. Without proper motivation structures and systems, employees will not be motivated to work towards achieving an organization’s goals. Managers need to understand the various factors that employees look for in organization to motivate them. This enables managers to formulate strategies and implement them so as to motivate employees.
Motivation is a difficult subject to understand because it involves human behavior. Many scholars have researched on the subject with the aim of identifying the most important factors that motivate employees. Some of these scholars have identified monetary rewards as the most important motivating factor (McCelland, 1990). However, recent financial problems in organizations resulting from the global financial recession have seen many companies reduce employee salaries. The question arising from this trend is whether there are other factors other than salaries and bonuses that motivate employees in an organization.
Various researchers have identifies certain factors that motivate employees. The majority of the scholars have cited two categories of motivators. The first category of motivating factors relates to content theories. (McCelland, 1990). The second category falls under process theories (Locke & Latham, 2002). Content theories relate to what entails the job of an employee in an organization. Some of the factors in this theory are interesting work, good relations with supervisors, and the ability to join in the decision making process. The process theories regard factors that should be followed to motivate employees to putting more effort in their work. These theories include factors such as monetary rewards, bonuses, employee wellbeing, and promotions.
Most of the studies in the field of motivation relate to people who are already in employment (Kirsten, 2010). There is limited research focusing on people who have not secured employment yet. This group of individuals includes students who are still studying with the aim of securing jobs in the future. Some scholars have determined that an individual’s attitudes before work are most likely to remain the same after they have already started working.
Previous scholars have advanced various motivation theories. For instance, Armstrong (2007) bases his theories on a critique of other scholars in the field. He analyzes and examines Taylor’s theory of motivation and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He finds that Taylor’s theory relates to rewards and penalties, which are directly connected to an employee’s performance. The author also finds that Maslow’s hierarchy takes a less instrumental approach. Maslow’s hierarchy takes a view that defines motivation as something that arises as a result of an individual’s unsatisfied needs. The author also analyzes Herzberg’s theory, which puts motivators into two categories. These categories are extrinsic and intrinsic in the view of Herzberg. Armstrong (2007) therefore comes up with a modern perspective of process theories which examine motivators from a different approach. For example, the expectancy theory advanced by Vroom explains motivation as something that exists only when the link between performance and outcome is usable and clear. The goal theory lays emphasis on the role of feedback and goal setting in regards to motivation and employee performance. Equity theory advances that employees are more motivated if the employer treats him/her equally with fellow employees.
Many researchers have focused on employee motivation from the perspective of employees who are already in the workplace. This means that these scholars look at the things that employees find most motivating in the workplace that ensure they put maximum effort in achieving an organization’s goals. However, little research has been done to examine other groups of people who may have an opinion in regards to motivating factors. One of such groups is students who are yet to begin working. This group is important because young people are leaders and employees of businesses in the future. Strong competition in the labor market has seen companies begin to search and recruit young people right from school (Kirsten, 2010). Companies have begun to identify talent in schools in a bid to woo young people to join their organizations. Some of these organizations take in young people from schools and hire them to begin working even when they are yet to finish their studies. Others wait until they are through with their studies before taking the fresh talents into their organizations.
The fact that young people make up an important part of human resource management in the business world today makes the basis of this study. As most scholars have already examined the most important motivating factors in people who are already employed, this study takes into consideration a new group of individuals who are yet to be examined. According to Kirsten (2010), the attitudes that exist before one is employed are most likely to remain the same even after employment. This implies that the attitudes of a young person who is yet to enter into employment will most likely remain the same after they have already began working. This means that it is important to examine their attitudes in order to determine the factors that they think will motivate them once they begin working…”
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