Monthly Archives: November 2011
Does improving employee motivation require improving job satisfaction? Not necessarily. We all know people that love their jobs because they have a great salary and supportive co-workers, but at work do only enough to get by. By the same token, many of us have had jobs that for one reason or another were less than stellar (e.g. budget cuts, poor leadership), but we still gave a good-faith effort to perform on a daily basis.
In his book “Becoming The Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham states “if you want motivated employees, you should focus on ways your employees can be high performers, rather than focusing on ways to increase their job satisfaction per se” (p. 85). Productive employees are often very satisfied employees; consequently, Latham believes that the ability to be productive is the real heart of motivation.
Partner with your employees to continually improve the systems (e.g. staffing, training, policies) that keep them from being as productive as they know they can be. Help them make daily progress doing work they find meaningful and watch as their motivation, performance, and satisfaction flourishes.
Far too few leaders understand the value of employees that tell us what we need to know instead of what they think we want to hear. Many leaders view a lack of dissent as a good sign, but it is actually a very bad sign. In his book “Becoming The Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham says the following:
An absence of complaints is often an indicator of an absence of hope. By embracing and welcoming criticism, you send your people a strong signal that you care about their concerns. They may have discovered that the vision and goals that were bang-on in the fall are no longer on target this winter. Dissent is an antidote to groupthink, which occurs when people agree with that they know to be wrong. (p. 53).
Hope thrives when people are willing to put forth effort to accomplish goals they value and understand how to achieve. You need to know immediately when people begin to lose confidence in the vision or no longer clearly understand how to make daily progress in work they find meaningful.
Encouraging dissent will help ensure that both the content and process of your leadership is relevant and effective. Your role as a leader is to not to control but rather to convene the conversation about how to best execute the strategy.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Our part-time MBA program in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno, was recently rated #4 nationally by Bloomberg BusinessWeek. We first appeared in their rankings in 2009 at #21 nationally, so our jump to #4 was a very pleasant surprise.
I looked at some of the data Bloomberg BusinessWeek used to determine their rankings, and one number really jumped out at me – our very affordable cost. The spreadsheet I have displays the top 30 schools in the part-time MBA rankings, and our tuition costs are the lowest of those top 30 ranked schools. According to the website for the part-time MBA program, the total cost to complete our program in tuition, books, and fees, is around $21,000. That is an incredible value!
Our online Executive MBA program, taught by the same faculty as our nationally ranked MBA program, is also an exceptional value. According to the website, the total cost of the program is only $24,000. If you can find a better value in an online Executive MBA from an AACSB accredited college of business, please let me know!
If you have five or more years of professional work experience beyond the undergraduate degree and have wanted to advance your career by earning an MBA, you should check out our online EMBA program. We are currently accepting applicants for our 2012 cohort, but space is limited so apply NOW!
Perceptions of unfairness inhibit the inner work life of your employees, which makes unfairness a powerful demotivator. Evidence-based managers understand the power of negative events and assume responsibility for making their workplace as fair as possible.
In his book “Becoming the Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham states “failure on your part to put principles of justice front and center will kill worker motivation as feelings sweep through your team that some people are getting a better deal than others.” (p. 92). Latham provides the following five-point checklist that we can use to help ensure that our employees perceive that our decisions and actions are fair (pp. 92-93):
- How will resources – salary, bonuses, office space – be distributed?
- Do you have agreed-upon processes or systems for determining who gets what (for example, a salary increase, a bigger office) and why?
- Have you explained to your people the logic of your decisions as to who gets what?
- Are the agreed-upon processes for making decisions applied consistently?
- Have you taken your employees’ viewpoints into account before you make your decisions?
Make sure your employees know their voice counts. Make it a matter of processes and policy to consult employees on important decisions that will affect them, and invite your employees to hold you accountable for this process. If you discover signs of lagging motivation in your employees, it might be because your employees have discovered you don’t value justice as much as they do.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
We are extremely pleased that Bloomberg BusinessWeek has once again recognized the quality of our part-time MBA program at the University of Nevada, Reno. This year our program moved up in their rankings to #4 nationally behind such programs as UCLA and Carnegie Mellon. In the west region, the program is ranked #2 behind UCLA. The MBA program has also been recognized for the fourth year in a row by The Princeton Review as one of the best in the world.
The faculty that teach in the Online Executive MBA program at UNR are the same ones that teach in the part-time program that Bloomberg BusinessWeek continues to recognize for excellence. That means when you enroll in our new Online EMBA program, you can expect the same rigor, relevance, and evidence-based learning that we consistently deliver to our on-campus students. If you can’t join us in person, then join us online!
Make sure to apply early for our next cohort starting in August 2012! For more information about the Online EMBA program, click this link.
Most managers I meet admit that motivating employees is one of the most challenging issues they struggle with. In my EMBA class on Organizational Behavior, we spend several weeks digesting the most recent evidence on employee motivation and engagement.
In our assigned reading from the book “Becoming the Evidence-Based Manager,” Gary Latham offers the following five evidence-based suggestions to help motivate employees to become high performers (pp. 75-76):
- Attend to employees’ psychological and security needs
- Make sure your employees have high, specific goals
- Focus on job performance
- Understand and change the work environment if necessary
- Avoid demotivation
What doesn’t work? The evidence shows that using money as a motivator in the form of a raise or occasional bonus does not get you much improvement in performance. Oddly enough, giving employees a monetary reward for work they would have done anyway can reduce the intrinsic appeal and satisfaction of doing the work.
Pay is important for motivation because it must be seen as sufficient and fair. Latham goes on to say:
Pay is important to the extent that it enables employees to satisfy their needs for security and autonomy. Pay is not motivating if it is not closely tied to performance. If high performers are paid the same as low performers, both job performance and job satisfaction will be low. Money is motivating to the extent it leads to the setting of and commitment to high goals. (77).
Latham is not saying that money is required for people to set and commit to high goals. Money is most effective when it is aligned with the goals people would set anyway to excel at the work they love to do.
What do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!