Fred Maiorino

Motivation In a Multigenerational Workforce

The great majority of employees are quite excited when they start a new job. This sharply declines as time goes and continues to get worse for years later. The slip lies directly at the feet of management-both the policies and measures companies employ in managing their workforce. Research has shown that individual manager’s behaviors and styles are contributing to the problem. Fredrick Herzberg developed a two factor method to explain the concept to f motivation among employees. Using this two factor theory Fredrick showed that people are influenced by two factors.-Satisfaction and psychological growth as a factor of motivation factors and dissatisfaction as a result of hygiene factors. Hygiene factors are responsible for employee dissatisfaction. These factors do not led to high level of motivation but without them there is dissatisfaction. Motivation factor on the other hand are required to motivate an employee into high performance. These factors result from internal generators in employees. Hygiene factors include: quality supervision, salary, rank, security, company and job. Motivation factor on the other hand include: accomplishment, appreciation of achievement, responsibility for task, interest in job, progression to higher levels and growth. Combination of high hygiene and high motivation results to motivated employees with few complaints. When high hygiene combines with low motivation, employees will have few complaints but are not motivated. Combination of low hygiene and high motivation results to employees who are motivated but with a lot of complaints. Combination of low hygiene and low motivation results in the worst situation where employees are not motivated and have a lot of complaints. When we look at the case of Fred Maiorino, he seems to have been demotivated by lack of both motivating and lack of hygiene factors. For instance he was ranked poorly despite being a top performer in his district something that demoralized him badly. Also James. A. Reed adopted a new performance evaluation technique that discriminated against Fred and favored the young. This saw Fred’s salary increase by 5 % as compared to younger employees’ 12.7% increase. Also personal differences between Fred and his new boss played a big role in affecting his performance. Because of turning down the early retirement offer, the boss started accusing him of report falsification and tardiness and never even recognized his good performance and rich experience as a sales person.

Motivating and effectively managing the workforce becomes a very exigent to most organization especially when there is age diversity among the workforce.  These challenges often relate to mere disparity in opinion and goals as a result of generational differences. These are further convoluted because of the age differences between managers and employees as in the case of Schering that composed of both young and old employees. Most companies are presumptuous that people of varying ages will appreciate each other or have the same perspective and goals, something that has made even this problem worse. In order to be successful, managers need to recognize and value the generational differences, perspectives, and goals of others. The diversity between the generations creates a number of challenges in the workplace.  These challenges can be harmful or valuable to the company. Therefore it becomes the manager’s task to make sure that all these challenges are transformed into positives. To make sure that each group’s talent is acknowledged, accepted and maximized, it requires one to be aware of the difference between generations and then set up strategies that that will focus on each group independently.

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According to a research that was carried out by institute of employment studies it was found out that the old people tend to feel less valued and involved in their organization than those under 30s. This seen in this case study when Schering retired some of its old employees and replaced them with young employees who had just completed college- presence of young workers made Fred feel less valued because he felt that the they were being favored. The institute of employment studies also found out that, in a multigenerational workforce, the old people are less engaged as compared to their younger counter parts. Therefore it becomes the task of managers and supervisors to ensure everybody is engaged and properly motivated to give his or her best.

  1. Efficient communication and understanding of each generation.
  2. Devising effective assessment and evaluation procedures that take into account the age-diversity factor and that is acceptable and that put into account the special needs of a given generation. From the case study, Fred was highly demoralized because his boss adopted a performance evaluation method that discriminated against the old and he also set performance goals based on historical sales that worked against Fred. The boss should have avoided this by putting in place an evaluation method that brings everybody on board and that does not discriminate against anyone.
  3. Provide recognition -Managers should make sure that all employee contributions, both large and small, are acknowledged.
  4. Prepare your employees for improvement-A major reason so many managers do not aid subordinates in improving their performance is that they don’t know how to do this without infuriating or disappointing them. Fred’s boss Jim Reed tried coaching him on new ways to improve his sales but it never worked out because Fred was hesitant and wanted to do things in the traditional way and could not be motivated.
  5. Flexibility- the managers should be flexible in their management style and ensure that every one is on board and effectively engaged. For instance Fred’s boss should have put in place a flexible management styles that equally recognizes both the old and the young and adopt a flexible performance evaluation techniques that put into account the interests of all. For instance Fred at one time thought that his boss was applying flexibility to his own situation- this was when Reed was telling his sales rep to be flexible in their work habits.

Each generation demands for a diverse set of values to motivate them at work.  In order for a company to be successful, all co-existing generations in the workplace need to appreciate and value each other, even when their perceptions and goals are greatly different. Management plays a vital role in how the different generations will interact together. Instead of looking for a speedy solution, managers should spend some time getting to understand the talents of the employees and focus on their perspectives and goals.  By doing this, everyone will be better positioned to capitalize on the strengths of the differences and minimizing the challenges.  From the case study, Schering management seem to have lost in touch with its old employees and adopted management styles that worked against them and demoralized people like Fred who belonged to the old generation.

A multigenerational workforce is characterized by the following generations each requiring different set of motivation.

(i) Baby Boomers-born between 1946 and 1964- this where Fred belonged when problems with his bosses started.

(ii) Generation X – born between 1965 and 1976

(iii) Generation Y – born between 1977 and the present

To motivate the baby boomers it requires the following:

  • Boomers are conservatives and like to doing things they way they have been doing them. Therefore when managers are handling such employees they should put this into account and not misunderstand them.
  • Allow Boomers to participate in associations and conventions that keep them professionally linked to their peers.  Boomers are motivated by working together on professional projects in affiliation with others like them. Scheringmanagers failed to recognize this when they treated both young and old employees the same way and even evaluated them using the same criteria. Also early retirements saw most of Fred’s colleagues replaced by young people who had different perceptive and ways of doing things.  
  • Compensation that is more long term, such as profit sharing and health care benefits including long term care. Schering failed to offer special benefits its long serving employees like Fred even their salary increment depended their sales performance.

To motivate the generation X, it requires the following:

  • Ensure you make available the flexibility needed for them to manage their other priorities, such as dependent children, aging parents, and even educational endeavors.  This flexibility can be as simple as providing schedule changes to accommodate these needs. 
  • Offer many opportunities for association and teamwork.  This is the generation that “is highly motivated through teamwork.
  • Provide acknowledgment in ways that bond with what they value the most.  Some value handwritten thank you notes for a job well done, while others are motivated by a tangible gift, such as flowers or gift certificates.

To motivate generation Y, it requires the following:

  • Offer flexibility when and where work is done.  Also, if you can provide technology that enables them to work at home one or two days a week.
  • This group is fascinated in change and challenge.  They will leave a higher paying good job for the chance to experience something fresh. They do not perceive their careers as needing to be linear.
  • Do not construe their rebellious nature as negative. This is the generation that will challenge and change much of what we need to change.

Resistance To Change

A common outcome of change in organizations is conflict from those whose jobs are directly affected. Both rational and irrational resistance can bring the wheels of progress to a stop. Management faces the challenge of foreseeing and neutralizing resistance to change. Resistance to change is a natural, normal reaction; it is not observed only in troublemakers. Resistance emerges when there is a threat to something the individual value. The threat may be genuine or it may be just a perception. It may arise from a genuine understanding of the change or from misunderstanding, or even almost total lack of knowledge about it. All change requires modification; the modification may concern employees more than the actual change. Resistance to change maybe very open or it may be very restrained. Most people don’t like change because they don’t like being changed. Because organizations are composed of individuals, there is often organizational resistance to change. Resistance to change often occurs when the organization (team, unit, department), as an entity, appears to resist change. One of the elements in the effective management of change involves understanding the resistance that often accompanies change. From the case study resistance to change started when Schering announced voluntary enhanced retirement program, something that was not taken lightly by most old employees like Fred who taught that they had a lot to fulfill before they retire. Also resistance to change comes out when Fred’s boss introduces a new performance evaluation model which old employees like Fred are resentful about because they think it discriminates against the old.  Despite the motivation from his boss, Fred resisted to adopt new methods of improving his sales and instead suggested that he was comfortable doing things in his traditional way. Therefore Managers need to know why people resist change and what can be done about their resistance.

When change comes into view, fear and resistance to change follow often despite the benefits that may be associated with change. People fight against change because of the following reasons:

  • People may not understand the change and its implications.
  • People may also think that the proposed change makes no sense. Fred could not see any sense of adopting new methods of improving his sales because he taught his traditional method was perfect.
  • People find it difficult to cope with either the level or pace of the change. For instance the old people in Schering could not cope with the new performance evaluation method put in place and they complained that it favored the young.
  • Fear of the unknown-It is natural human behavior to fear the unknown. With many changes, the outcome is not predictable or the results are often not made known to all of the affected employees. Similarly, employees may oppose a new manager simply because they don’t know what to anticipate. A related fear is the uncertainty employees may feel about working in a changed environment.  For instance from our case study, Fred felt threatened when numerous personnel shifts and new sale incentives were implemented in Schering-plough sales division. He felt that he was going to be the victim of the changes.
  • Economic reasons -Employees oppose any change they think threatens their jobs or incomes. The threat may be genuine or only imagined thus the result is resistance. For instance Fred could not take the enhanced voluntary retirement benefit offered by Schering because he thought this could mean more troubles for he had a boy in college and had to pay weddings.
  • Extra work and inconvenience- Almost all changes entail work, and many result in personal inconveniences to the affected employees and consequently instigate violence or rebellion.
  • Threats to interpersonal relations-The social and interpersonal relationships among employees can be quite strong. When changes that threaten these relationships occur for instance early retirement, transfers etc-the affected employees often oppose. This is because employees naturally feel more at ease when working with people they know well. Also, the group may have devised methods for doing the work based on the strengths and weaknesses of group members. Any changes in the group would naturally disrupt the routine.

Resistance to change requires managers within an organization to adopt an effective model that will effectively manage change or improvement. This model must take into account the special interest of all employees so that there is minimal resistance and that the performance of an organization is not compromised. The theory of constraints proves to be the best option in managing resistance.

The theory of constraints (TOC) originally developed by Goldratt, is a management philosophy focusing on continuous improvement process. The fundamental idea of TOC lies in the recognition and exploitation of the system constraints in the process of improving a system. TOC is based on the postulation that the performance of a system is determined by the system constraint which is anything that blocks the system from meeting its stated goal, or in achieving a higher level of performance with respect to this goal. As the first step in improving a system, managers need to determine what constrains within the system that will prevent it from reaching its goal. Constraints can be physical or nonphysical. When the constraints are physical, such as resources, raw materials, or supplies, they can be relatively easily recognized by undertaking a capacity analysis. However, if constraints are nonphysical, such as policies, behaviors, or measures, they are harder to recognize.

When employing this theory to carry out change in an organization three questions need to be asked. These are: what to change? What to change to? How to effect change? What to change to, managers should carry out proper evaluation to determine whether the change identified will solve problems or result in improvement to an organization. It is also required that changes focus on the right elements in order to result to improvement. Weak points of the change should be identified and strengthened. The next step involves identifying what to change to. This involves identifying the path which change should take by putting into consideration all the opposing forces. This helps the decision makers search for a solution by challenging the assumptions underlying the conflict. The success of last step on how to effect change depends on the degree of understanding and support participants in the improvement process might have about the implementation of the change. Participants might have doubts because they may perceive some critical obstacles that prevent the change from being implemented.

To effectively manage or reduce resistance it requires proper implementation of theory of constraint change. Also an organization should take the following into consideration when implementing changes:

Education and Communication

This approach is appealing because it advocates prevention rather than a cure. The idea here is to help employees appreciate the true need for a change as well as the logic behind it. Various media may be used, including face-to-face discussions, formal group presentations or special reports or publications.

Participation and Involvement

Personal involvement through participation tends to defuse both rational and irrational fears about a workplace change. By participating in both the design and achievement of change, one acquires a personal stake in its success.

Facilitation and Support

When fear and anxiety are responsible for resistance to doing things in a new and different way, assistance from management in the form of special training, job stress counseling and compensatory time off can be helpful.

Negotiation and Concurrence

Sometimes management can counterbalance potential or actual resistance by exchanging something of value for collaboration. An hourly clerical employee may, for instance, be put on a salary in return for learning how to operate a new Internet workstation.

Manipulation and co-optation

Manipulation occurs when managers selectively hold back or dispense information and consciously arrange events to boost the chance that a change will be successful. Co-optation normally involves token participation. Those who are co-opted with token participation cannot claim they have not been consulted, yet the ultimate impact of their input is insignificant.

Open and Understood Duress

Managers who cannot or will not invest the time required for the other strategies can try to force employees to go along with a change by threatening them with termination, loss of pay rises or Promotions, transfer and the like.

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Lack of Trust

Trust involves reliability and doing the right thing. It is one of the most indispensable elements that determine the success of an organization especially in situations where the value on an employee is being observed. Trust at work place helps to build respect and loyalty and plays a critical role in putting up a safe and working environment. By focusing on the needs of the employees and building trust on them, helps to increase the commitment of an employee to the organization.  When employees become committed to an organization they become more engaged in doing their work to the best of their ability and always try to find new ways of making them more effective and more efficient. Studies have found out that there is a very strong correlation between how employees trusted their managers and the overall customer satisfaction. These studies have also established a link between increased levels of trust and profitability in an organization. Since managers are initiators of trust therefore it becomes very essential that management understand the value of trust and how to promote trust in their organizations.

Management needs employees to feel that they are valued, trusted, and have them believe that the company is acting with integrity in their best welfare. Studies have proved that fewer that two out of five employees today have trust or confidence in their senior leaders. Lack of trust leaves a workforce with a very skeptical view of management based on their observations that management has often laid morals aside in order to benefit the bottom line. Economic factors, resulting in layoffs have caused loss of trust in many individuals. This in turn has been the cause of poor morale and reduced company loyalty. Downsizing has the similar consequence on employees particularly if it is not handled appropriately or mis-communicated. The remaining employees are caught wondering if they are next. This has an even more demoralizing effect on the younger and newer employees who lately watched top-level management get terminated or laid off after they have been loyal and served the corporation for many years. This conveys the message that loyalty does not survive in companies any more, and when the economy improves, these employees will likely look for employment where they feel more protected. Other hidden costs of mistrust in the workplace include; no company loyalty and decreased commitment. Also Distrustful employees are not as productive. Likewise, mistrusting management wastes time checking up on employees. Therefore, it is very important companies work to build trust in their organizations.

From the case study, trust between employees and management started when the enhanced voluntary retirement was announced, this made old employees like Fred feel that the management no longer valued them and was trying to get rid of them. Another case of mistrust is seen when Fred’s boss found out that he has not been going to work at the required time although he always indicated that he had done a full-day work. Fred also losses trust with the management when it put in place new sale incentives and new performance evaluation models which he thinks the management was using to suppress the old. Lack of trust is also seen when Fred sues management of Schering after being laid off on the basis of age discrimination.

To build, maintain and gain at trust at work place both employees and their managers should observe the following:

  1. Be honest-This is the most fundamental element upon which trust is built. This requires that one should tell the entire truth and share honest information even it is to your advantage.
  2. Reliability- this requires one to do or follow what he said or promised to do.
  3. Consistent-this require one to be consistent in words and behaviors. One should show at work place at the expected time or earlier and leaves at the required time. This also demands one to do what he said to do and always live up to his promises.
  4. Straightforwardness- one should speak out what need to be said in a non threatening manner and without being judgmental.
  5. Acceptance- this require that one should accept others who are different in behavioral styles and approaches. This forms one of the vital elements upon which lasting trust in an organization is built.
  6. Openness- this calls for one to listen to others and encourage them to speak out. Differences in opinions should be sought and be valued.

Trust needs to be built, maintained and also one should be in a position to gain trust from others. Building trust will call for the following: ensure open communication, tell the truth, Share good and bad information between all levels of the organization, promote creativity, cultivate talent, allow disagreement without negative repercussions, uphold integrity and make decisions that are fair and consistent. To maintain trust will require the following: Reward value added activity, reward pro trust behaviors, Punish breaches of trust. And also to gain trust it requires the following to be observed: Be honest, guide by example, management should be visible to all levels of the company, improve training and embracing effective Communication methods.