Managing Employees

Staff Motivation

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

After the entrepreneur has identified and selected the required number of persons to staff the business, the next thing will obviously be to manage this team. Being able to direct the team successfully will largely depend on the entrepreneur's management skills and leadership abilities. What techniques of motivation and management can the business owner summon?

Staff motivation is about recognizing that employees need time and a positive environment so as to learn and perfect how various tasks are done.

Staff Motivation

The business owner plans, organizes and directs whatever is done i.e. he/she is the one who undertakes the planning and directing functions. For the designated tasks to be completed with enthusiasm and efficiency by the employees, the entrepreneur has to take on an additional responsibility i.e. staff motivation.

It is only then that good performances can be achieved. Management should exercise patience in giving instructions and be realistic about the time it will take for good results to be obtained. However, this does not take away from the fact that employees are required to give their best. Staff motivation requires attention to detail and coordination. It calls for appropriate assignment of tasks and issuing of directions.

Theory X and Theory Y management styles

According to Douglas MacGregor, two management styles exist i.e. theory X and theory Y. Theory X managers are those who direct their staff without much consideration for human relations. They believe that employees don't like to work and that their only reason for doing so is to earn a pay. Further, theory X managers operate on the premise that employees shirk responsibility and as such they should be directed. These managers are task-oriented and always want to ensure that assigned tasks are expediently completed.

Theory Y managers are quite the opposite. They are concerned about human relations and they believe that employees love taking up responsibilities. Theory Y managers are of the opinion that employees won't hesitate to apply their intellect and creativity to assigned tasks when opportunities allow them to.

Prof. MacGregor's theory is supported by the results of Frederick Herzberg's 1959 job satisfaction study. In order of superiority, his work posited that employee enthusiasm is created by the following factors of job satisfaction:

  • sense of achievement
  • recognition for achievement
  • interest in the work
  • opportunity for growth
  • opportunity for advancement
  • responsibility
  • peer and group relationship
  • compensation
  • supervisor fairness
  • reasonable company rules and policies
  • status
  • job security
  • supervisor friendliness
  • good working conditions

These factors clearly show that employees prefer working in environments that assure them of achievement and personal progress. They need their achievements to be recognized and will want to work with people who share their aspirations. Employees are clearly after job contentment.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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