Motivating Employees at the SAS Institute

Introduction

Every human behavior has a motive behind it, which acts as a drive to the behavior. Chances that the behavior is repeated depend on the reinforcement to the motive. The drive to repeat a behavior is referred to as motivation. Fitzmaurice & Kuklewicz (2010, p.3) defines employee motivation as the liveliness, ingenuity and dedication that employees bring into an organization or company.

This can either be intrinsic; drawn from within or extrinsic-drawn from material rewards. Companies and organizations need to motivate their employees in order to achieve high productivity from them. A number of scholars have advanced theories on motivations, which are widely applied in organizations to motivate employees.

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This paper discusses three motivation theories; Maslows’ need theory, Vroom’s expectancy theory and procedural justice theory. The paper further examines how SAS institute has applied these theories to motivate employees. SAS institute is ranked among the top a hundred organizations in the US to work with.

Managers at the institution are committed to the welfare and motivation of employees. The institution adopted a holistic reward system that integrates both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation strategies. This paper also analyses the reward systems adopted at SAS institute and how the strategies help the management to realize a win-win situation.

In the wake of the modern work conditions, employee motivation is a major concern in many companies and organizations. Employees feel secure, satisfied and ready to work if they are motivated to work. Managers apply most of the motivation theories to make employees feel motivated to work. Lack of motivation in work places often results in low performance, complacence and discouragement of the work force.

Maslows Needs Theory

Psychologist Abraham Maslows advanced the needs theory, in which he indicated that human beings have needs. The needs are ranked in a hierarchy, which he illustrates using the Maslows need hierarchy.

The hierarchy has five levels of needs; ranging from; physiological needs, security and safety, belonging, self esteem and self actualization as the highest need in the pyramid (Hellriegel & Scolum 2008, p. 118). Maslow emphasizes that the lower level needs are the basic human needs – physiological needs must be satisfied first before the next need levels.

Employees are motivated to work hard for an organization, based on the outcome they expect to satisfy their needs. They always seek to attain satisfaction for unsatisfied needs. Once a need is satisfied, it ceases to be a source of motivation to an individual and therefore the individual focuses their energy on the unsatisfied needs.

The needs of the employees at SAS are well catered for by the company management and in line with Maslows’ needs hierarchy. The perks paid in terms of salaries and bonus is well to standard to enable employees meet their basic needs.

Employees need to feel secure and protected in an organization. Security is one of the needs on Maslows’ needs hierarchy, Maslow points out that human beings seek to be protected. In an organization, employees should be treated well and made to feel part of the company or organization. Threats to employees and use of reprimanding language at work places by management makes employees feel insecure at the work place.

The founder and CEO Mr. Goodnight emphasizes that the manager have to treat employees just the way they would like to be treated (George & Jones, 2004, p98). The regard given to the employees by the managers at the SAS institute is as directed by the CEO, who feels employees are the best asset the company has. This approach enhances and develops their self esteem and confidence in the company.

The institution also caters for the higher needs of employees such as; family covers, providing a good and conducive working environment, with a large play ground for employees to jog around after work. These are facilities that are not provided by many of comparative companies.

Vroom’s Expectancy theory

Forming a cohesive workforce is one of the major issues companies struggle with, the process of recruitment and training of manpower is a hectic and resource intensive (Bruce, 2002, p.18). Companies need to provide employees a good working condition and environment to be able to retain their services for a long time. It is expensive for a company to keep on recruiting and training new employees to adapt to their system. Employees tend to work longer with organizations that are on keen satisfying their expectations.

The expectancy theory advanced by Vroom indicates that people invest their efforts in order to attain the desired performance, and that the performance and that the performance realized should lead to a set goal (Armstrong & Tina, 2005, p. 98).

The theory spells out three factors that influence an individuals’ level of motivation. The factors are expectancy, valence and instrumentality (Davies, 2007, p. 78) expectancy is the measure of the level of outcome that an individual perceives his or her effort in a particular task will result into.

Employees are motivated to work harder if the effort they invest yields an outcome equivalent to the effort. One would feel discouraged if the yields from an enormous effort are just insignificant. Companies usually share the outcomes from their business activities with employees; the ratio at which the profits are shared should be realistic enough for employees to feel the worth of their effort. Salaries and bonuses have to reflect the reality of the living standards.

Employees at the SAS institute are rewarded handsomely by the institution’s management. The package and the rewards that the employees receive are to the level of their expectations. This is why they are satisfied and continue offering their loyal services to the company.

They work for a total of 35 hours a week and the job conditions elicit intrinsic motivation to them (George & Jones, 2004, p.113). Their input at the company has led to the growth and recognition of the company as one of the largest software companies in the world. The recognition of working for one of the biggest and best ranked companies is in itself motivating. Recognition that the company has attained is shared well between the company and the employees.

Procedural justice theory of motivation

Employees feel satisfied to work in an organization where they feel valued and they view the distribution of the earnings gained out of their work to be just and fair. Fairness in the manner in which benefits are distributed makes employees develop confidence in the company management.

It also makes them feel the company appreciates the effort that they invest in the company. Unfairness and injustice has been a major cause of conflict in organizations, resulting in high employee turn over (Hellriegel& Scolum, 2007, p. 118). Besides income as a variable of justice in organizations, the management’s commitment to attending to employees’ issues also counts.

Manager at SAS institute are highly committed to the welfare of the employee, and determined to make them comfortable at work. Organizational life should also be fair to the employees. It is important for organizations to recognize that other than the work of the company, employees also have personal life to lead.

The company needs to be fair to this fact and provide employees with a well balanced work-life schedule. SAS institute provides her employees with a well balanced work-life schedule, employees who have children are allowed to come to work with their children (George & Jones, 2004, p. 105).

There is a daycare on the company compound to take care of employee’s children; the cafeterias have tall chairs to allow parents who have children sit with them (George & Jones, 2004, p.105). Justice also features in the criteria that the management uses to make appointments among the employees. Biasness in the mode of selection of the officials can be a source of motivation to the employees.

Traditional vs. new reward strategies

Traditional managers emphasize the use of monetary rewards to elicit motivation. This is referred to as extrinsic motivation, where material rewards are used to elicit motivation among employees. The danger with this type of motivation is that employees link their productivity to material gains from the company (Bruce, 2002, p.17).

Incase the company is not able to raise the material reward required to produce the motivation among the workers, and then the employees productivity goes down. Modern reward strategies emphasize on intrinsic motivation, this is the type of motivation that comes from within. It is linked to the satisfaction derived from the job rather than the material reward as a result of the job.

Intrinsic motivation is derived from the security, affiliation and belonging needs that the employees derive from the organization (Armstrong & Abbelpaum, 2003, p.97). The management should make employees feel part of the company and develop a cohesive team amongst the employees. Modern day organizations use motivational talks to encourage their employees especially during the economic downturn.

Motivational speakers use words that excite the human spirit into action, they are capable of turning an individuals mentality to think positively about work. Retreats and bonding sessions between employees and management is another approach widely used by companies to create intrinsic motivation among their employs.

SAS institute has embraced both reward systems but emphasizes more on intrinsic motivation. This is implemented through a number of ways; first, the company strives to eliminate boredom among employees by providing them with new and challenging work activities. George & Jones (2008, p.27) pointed out that the organization produces its products from scratch.

The company involves employees in the creation of its product from the beginning to the end. Much as this can be an expensive venture compared to an option where a company only buys another one together with her already developed products, this procedure provides employees with a learning experience.

It also keeps employees interested in the work; routine work in organizations is a source of complacency in organizations and companies. The institute also allows employees to shift jobs within the organization; this gives employees an opportunity to have different feelings within the organization.

Managers at the SAS institute have embraced employees, they are aware of the important contribution that the employees make to the company. Mangers involve and value the employees; this is a strategy to elicit intrinsic motivation among employees. Assuring employees’ security and making them feel part of the company is a significant strategy that managers at SAS institute apply to motivate employees. When employees feel part of the company, they put in their best to grow the company.

On the contrast, a company that treats employees as merely laborers and excludes them from major decisions in the company de-motivates her employees. The institution has implemented the best technology, to make the work of employees easier and more convenient. This is motivating besides the serene and well maintained work environment.

Conclusion

Employee motivation is very important to every organization, motivated employees work more to improve their labor productivity. The modern day employees encounter many stressful issues in the day to day life activities. Many are overwhelmed with responsibilities not just at work but also from their families and related places (George and Gareth, 2004, p. 18).

There is important that the management of organizations scout for the best proved ways of motivating employees to maximize their productivity. A number of behavioral psychologists have advanced theories related to motivation which give proper guidelines on how employees, students and people in general can be motivated to high productivity.

Maslows’ needs theory; procedural justice theory and expectancy theory of motivation are very significant tools for information on motivation. A human being can be motivated to work either from within or by external factors. Internal motivation is referred to as intrinsic motivation, where as motivation derived from material rewards is referred to as intrinsic motivation.

Research indicates that use of intrinsic motivation has more advantages over extrinsic motivation. Use of material rewards as a way of eliciting motivation can make employees connect their performance to material rewards. When this happens, employees tend to react negatively when the company reward trends changes. The SAS institute has been able to integrate both rewards strategies and they have enabled it to attain a win-win status.

Reference List

Armstrong, M, & Stephens, T., 2005, A handbook of employee reward and management. Kogan Page Limited, London

Armstrong, M., 2004 Employee Reward. Chattered institute of personnel development, London

Armstrong, S., & Abbelpaum, M., 2003, Stress-free performance appraisal: turn your most painful management duty. The career Press, New York

Bruce, A., 2002, How to motivate employees: 24 proven tactics to spark productivity in the work place. McGraw Hill Company Inc, New York

Davies, J., S., 2007, Security Supervision and Management: The Theory and Practice of Asset Protection, Butterworth Heinemann, Burlington

Fitzmaurice, J. & Kuklewicz, K., 2010, Motivation and Incentive Programs, accessed 19th march, 2010
http://www.slideshare.net/dredmonds/employee-motivation- 3415892.

George, J. M., & Jones, R. G., 2004, Understanding and managing organizational behavior, Pearson Prentice Hall, New York.

Hellriegel, D, & Slocum, J., 2007, Organizational Behavior, Thompsons learning Resource Centre, Boulevard

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