Today’s corporate world is stressed by an unbridled competition for profits and recognition. In the process, organizations have become so engrossed in this stressful struggle for space that they are losing focus on the strategic management of their human resources.
One essential pillar in HR management is the platform of motivation and over the years, the quintessential debate rages on as to whether money is really a motivator for the employee.
Arguments for and against this are manifestly poles apart and deeply entrenched. Those who argue in support of money as a motivator posit that where employees’ basic physiological conditions have not been addressed, monetary reward assumes a superior role as a motivator.
Indeed, organizational cultural practices largely support the money syndrome. In a typical service-organization, the management offered free-weekend room accommodation to the best employee of the month. Not long after implementation, the employees intimated that they preferred the reward converted into physical cash.
The other side of the coin sees so much strength in the non-monetary reward systems; convinced that these approaches offer employees a long term satisfaction in terms of skills/competency enrichment, creativity and career development.
Building human capacity through the development of non-monetary reward schemes is a formidable challenge that confronts HR and line managers alike. Examples of some non-monetary reward schemes are discussed below.
Managers who spend time and effort building morale at the workplace end up giving a life-long gift to their subordinates: They will possess and own it everywhere they go. Today’s employees are looking for more than a monthly cheque therefore, persons in high managerial positions must learn to connect with their subordinates.
Effective and frequent connection with subordinates can inure positively to the organization in the following ways:
- Subordinates feel free to speak up.
- Employees are convinced that they will receive timely information concerned with their respective work stations and the company in general.
- Commitment and loyalty can be the beneficial outcomes of connecting well with colleagues and subordinates at the workplace.
- When management connect well with their employees, they get to understand and appreciate the needs of employees.
- It promotes mutual understanding between employees and management and ensures the attainment of corporate goals and profits.
Empowerment is nothing less than recognizing employees’ potential and giving them the resources, responsibility and authority to get things done their way. Empowerment can release tremendous amounts of employee energies and may contribute immensely in lowering undue demands for monetary rewards. The point needs to be made that drawbacks to productivity cannot always be laid at the doorsteps of labour unions; management may ultimately have to be blamed.
Empowering staff can lead to the building of formidable functional teams at the workplace and it is the responsibility of line managers to use appropriate pro‑ling techniques to develop teams at workplaces. Case-studies into some hotels in Accra reveal that work place teams have contributed highly in guests’ retention and revenue maximization.
Other organizations have developed multi-skills programmes where employees are guided and trained over a period of time to acquire additional skills other than the skills they first entered the organizations with. Such employees serve as rapid skills-deployment agents who are used to support other areas of the organization when service demands increase. Through this mode of empowerment, companies can use less staff to accomplish multi-service objectives at less cost.
It is the contention of the writer that the contributions made will take the debate to more qualitative levels and also serve as a basis for further insights into the subject. Also, it is envisaged that the issues raised will tickle industry practitioners into looking into the objective conditions prevailing at the various work places and design and implement deserving schemes that will meet the aspirations of the organization and its staff.
By Kojo Hazel