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How Do You Motive Employees?

With Fringe Benefits?

A survey conducted in 2018 estimated the cost of fringe benefits is now costing employers an additional £8.73 per hour on top of the hourly rate of pay. These figures are noteworthy because the cost of fringe benefits is now adding an additional 50% increase on the wage bill.

Employee benefits ‘were’ used to attract the best employees, a company car and health insurance was a good package but they have now extended to share options, restaurant vouchers, gym membership, discount shopping vouchers and  become somewhat more of an expectation and a right than a benefit or a reward for exceptional performance.

It is claimed that people now spend ‘less’ time working for ‘more’ money than ever before, a 10 hour day is unacceptable, a six day week is a thing of the past, claims that a four day week will make employees more productive are now being considered! Do you have a Fringe Benefit of the Month? Or a Friday Social? Something that takes employees away from their desks and motivates them to leave early?

Daniel Goleman explains the interventions that have been implemented in the past to try and encourage leaders to motivate their workforce:

  • Human Relations Training: How to relate to your team to motivate them and get them to listen.
  • Sensitivity Training: Understand, Trust and Co-operation. A number of employees learnt how to exploit these practices and leaders felt they were getting nowhere fast!

Leaders then claimed that the fault was not in what they were doing or trying to achieve, it was the employees’ fault for failing to appreciate what they were doing:

  • Communication: Specialists would come in to explain to the workforce what management was doing for them. Briefing sessions, workshops, town hall meetings, councils, you name it, but no additional motivation resulted.
  • Two Way Communication: Employee engagement surveys were devised, suggestion plans and group participation programs, employees and managers were spending time together, listening to what each had to say but very little improvement in motivation was evident.

Behavioural scientists started to take another look at their data and took human relations one step further…

  • Employee Counselling: An opportunity for employees to discuss their problems and issues about the workplace, however counsellors forgot their role was just to listen, got distracted and tried to solve every problem they heard about.

Today this process has been adapted and continues to flourish in the form of Coaching, a regulated and well-respected practice of supporting employees albeit an expensive fringe benefit for employers.

How do you install a generator in an employee?

Taking a sample of Engineers and Accountants initially, Daniel’s research has moved into many other sectors since. He identified that the opposite of job satisfaction is not job dissatisfaction but no job satisfaction and similarly the opposite of job dissatisfaction is not job satisfaction but no job dissatisfaction.

Two different needs of employees are involved here; the built in Drive to avoid pain from the environment, plus all the learned Drives that become conditioned to the basic biological needs, for example hunger, we need money to buy food, therefore we need a job to earn money.

The other set of needs is achievement, and when we achieve, we experience psychological growth, the stimuli for the growth needs are tasks to induce growth, this is the job content.

Motivators are the greatest cause of employee satisfaction; you don’t need any fancy software to ask your Teams the following questions:

  • What events have occurred in your work that have led extreme satisfaction
  • What events have occurred in your work that have led to extreme dissatisfaction
  • Was this issue resolved?

Score each of the events as one, if the issue was resolved positively score a further point and add it to the satisfaction score, your satisfaction score should be higher to demonstrate a motivated workforce.

Behavioural Scientists believe that human needs are irrational, vary depending on the situation and therefore when designing and planning fringe benefits, the people team must concoct an appropriate incentive system that facilitates the most efficient use of their employees, but most just give in and hand employees everything on a plate, all take and no give.

So, we need to ensure that jobs are structured in a way that leads to the most efficient operation, we need to form teams that are Psychologically safe and provide the optimal support network, in the hope of instilling healthy employee attitudes.

The Greatest Cost to a Business

We know that the greatest cost to a business is staff turnover, absenteeism, presenteeism, errors, violation of safety rules, strikes, higher wages and greater fringe benefits.

Work must be enriched to bring about the effective utilisation of personnel. Job enrichment describes this movement, this provides opportunities for employees’ psychological growth, we must not add meaningless tasks otherwise we will not be enriching the role, nor should we circulate jobs and tasks as if passing the responsibility to a different employee each week.

What can be achieved from job enrichment:

  • Remove some controls while retaining accountability – Responsibility and Personal Achievement
  • Increase the accountability for individuals own work – Responsibility and Recognition
  • Giving an employee their own project – Responsibility, Achievement and Recognition
  • Granting additional authority to individuals in their activity – Responsibility, Achievement and Recognition
  • Make periodic reports available to all employees directly to themselves as opposed to supervisors – Internal Recognition
  • Introduce new and more difficult tasks not previously handled – Growth and Learning
  • Assigning individuals specific or specialised tasks enabling them to become experts – Responsibility, Growth and Advancement

After 6 months of trialing the above in workplace settings, employees given job enrichment opportunities were seen to be out performing their colleagues not on the job enrichment program, in addition there was a marked increase in their liking for their jobs, absence levels dropped, higher rates of promotion, performance improved and there was a positive change in attitude towards tasks.

Steps that Managers should take to implement job enrichment and turn on the internal generators of its employees

  • Select the jobs in which when changes are applied it’s not too costly, you don’t have to make major changes, some of the smallest changes can make the biggest difference
  • Where attitudes are poor
  • Motivation will make a difference in performance
  • Approach the jobs with the conviction they can be changed
  • Write a list of the changes for each job role that will add job enrichment
  • Screen the list for general statements that when put into practice are rarely followed
  • Screen the list to ensure all statements shout motivation
  • Do not involve the people who are going to have their job enriched in this planning process, they are far more vital in the specific job role and having to create their own role may inhibit motivation
  • Be prepared for a drop in performance in the first few weeks as they have to find their feet and manage the change process
  • Expect supervisors, line managers or team leaders to express some anxiety over the changes you are making but offer reassurance that this will work in the longer term
  • Work on the basis that these changes are permanent

Businesses and Organisations are facing a really challenging time right now, there may not be a lot of surplus cash for the Christmas Party let alone more fringe benefits to motivate staff with. Evidence clearly shows that it’s not all about the benefits, job enrichment is just as, if not more important right now to engage employees, gain commitment and increase job satisfaction.

If you implement the above steps and the employee still does not or will not engage, do you want them working for you? There internal generator may be permanently off or on stand-by, no amount of additional fringe benefits will switch the internal generator on, but as long as you try to get it going, then you have tried your best.

Perhaps it’s time to invest in those that want to be invested in!