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Motivation: In Today's Workplace

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In the background materials below, you read about some very traditional theories of motivation such as Theory X and Theory Y, and the hierarchy of needs. But one trend that has received a lot of attention in the media is that of weird or offbeat methods to motivate employees. The recent movie The Internship is set in the odd (or "googly") workplace culture of Google. Zappos Shoes even mentions "weirdness" in the list of corporate values.
CashLinq, a financial services firm, is famous for their Nerf gun battles in the office. Eric Ryan, founder of the highly successful soap company Method, was known to go to extremes to motivate employees such as dressing up as a chipmunk or holding impromptu office dance parties. Other examples of unorthodox motivation techniques may include unusual perks such as health insurance for your pets, or allowing employees to ride scooters in the office.
But is this just a passing fad for trendy new companies, or is there actually a method to their madness? For this assignment, you will be doing some research on these offbeat new motivation techniques and investigating whether or not these techniques actually fit in with standard textbook theories of motivation. Review the background materials, and then read the following articles and also see if you can find any other examples of bizarre or unusual workplace motivation techniques:
Petrecca, L. (Dec. 30, 2011). Quirky perks for workers: Pet insurance, massages. USA Today
Pet insurance, at-your-desk meditation services, jewelry discounts and funeral planning -- from the quirky to the somber, workplaces are providing a range of unique benefits in 2012. The options come as many firms try to placate employees frustrated by pay cuts, heavy workloads, high health insurance costs and reduced 401(k) matches. "Companies are trying to have it feel like it's not one big take-away," says John Bremen, a managing director at employer consultancy Towers Watson. "They are trying to find ways to appeal to the workforce." Many voluntary benefits -- such as reduced-price computers and pet insurance due to group-buying discounts -- won't gouge a corporate budget. "On the employer side, there's a recognition that they can't always add to the benefits program in a way they have in the past," says Ronald Leopold, national medical director at MetLife. "But they want to offer employees different things and a broader set of (choices)." Businesses are using these perks to make harried workers feel valued, as well as to help them balance personal and professional needs. Among the many options offered: free tickets to theme parks, cellphone plan discounts and at-work massages. Benefits at drug manufacturer Allergan include adoption assistance and auto insurance discounts. It also has a free concierge service for workers to acquire theater tickets, drop off laundry and get restaurant reservations. Firms such as S.C. Johnson, TD Bank and Travelocity provide discounted health coverage for workers' pets through Petplan Pet Insurance. Petplan "has seen tremendous growth in this area of voluntary benefits,"co-CEO Chris Ashton says. "In this struggling economy, employers are increasingly looking for low-cost options to keep their employees happy." Yet, it can be tough to meet the needs and wants of a diverse workforce. "No one strategy is going to necessarily impact all employees equally," Leopold says. "What's good for one (employee) isn't necessarily good for the other." For instance, many will look at the pet insurance option and say, "You've got to be kidding me," he says, but there are employees "who will say, 'I don't care about the 401(k) plan or disability (insurance) -- but pet insurance, yes!'"
Quirky offices may inspire employees. (Dec. 17, 2010, Dec 27). McClatchy - Tribune Business News
Dec. 27--SINGAPORE -- Imagine playing pool at work or being surrounded by thousands of dollars' worth of art -- it sure beats sitting in a sterile cubicle all day. These days, some employers are paying increasing attention to interior design and staff facilities to keep their workers happy, healthy and stimulated. Office designers say that the more consideration employers give to their workers' well-being, the better productivity will be. At first glance, it may seem counter-productive to offer your staff an environment for fun and pleasure. After all, a comfortable cafe or a prettily decorated workspace would surely distract them from their work. But, as they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. That is the mentality that appears to have been adopted by some more enlightened employers. When Kraft Foods, the world's second-largest food company, announced its expansion in Singapore with Cadbury earlier this month, it showcased a newly designed Asia-Pacific headquarters in Keppel Bay Tower featuring four lush cafes. Each one is named after a Kraft Foods' product brand -- such as the Cheez! Cafe and the Oreo Cafe -- which Kraft says "provides flexibility for employees to suit their mood or task, choosing from quiet and calm or sociable and colourful work spaces". The quirky Cheez! Cafe, for instance, marries the two companies with dairy-inspired upholstery and a huge slice of what looks like cheddar cheese on the ceiling. Said Mr Varun Bhatia, vice-president of human resources for Kraft Foods Asia Pacific: "Everything about our new headquarters reflects the way we operate and interact here at Kraft Foods. Flexibility is not only about using new technologies; it's also about how we think." Among other things, the company has a work-from-home scheme and health and fitness programmes including gym memberships, which "demonstrate our commitment to a comfortable, healthy workplace", he added. Promoting health and fitness programmes, in particular, is a fast-growing trend among Singapore companies. Many firms these days offer gym membership allowances to their staff -- that is, if they do not already have a gym in their office headquarters. DBS Bank, for example, opened its new Asia Hub in Changi Business Park in September. It features a state-of-the-art 24-hour gym and dance studio. Staff based at the out-of-the-commercial-district office can also enjoy a stylish in-house cafe able to accommodate more than 300 people, and open-concept workspaces with 'social hubs' designed to foster greater team interaction. Taking relaxation one step further, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has a multimedia centre with a pool table, two table football -- or foosball -- tables, and a television console for video games, catering to a younger, Generation Y team. SPH digital media editor Felix Soh explained that the idea was to create breathing space for staff -- an area where they can take a break, let off steam and unwind -- as long as they do not distract their colleagues or create a ruckus, of course. Contrary to the belief that work and pleasure should not mix, Mr Soh maintained that the play area actually makes the office more conducive for work and less stressful. "There's nothing better to de-stress than to take it out on a pool ball or to annihilate terrorists in a video game," he said. More creatively inclined offices, such as advertising agency Formul8, indulge their employees' interests in line with the company's interests. Founder and owner Fiona Bartholomeusz dresses up her office with more than 15 pieces of art to inspire her team, which she describes as 'less traditional'. "I think because they're a lot younger and mainly in their 20s, they're more into digital art and manga," she said, eferring to Japanese comics. "Plus, I have several red sculptures of naked boys by Chen Wenling. That takes getting used to!" Ms Bartholomeusz probably best sums up the justification for employers to invest in whimsical work spaces. "I guess everyone likes to work in an office that's creative and not a stodgy, grey and sterile environment," she said
Habib, M. (Oct. 7, 2011). Foosball? bah. employers dangle offbeat incentives. The Globe and Mail
Exploring exotic destinations, cruising the high seas and studying the finer points of beer sound like exciting leisure pursuits, not the sort of thing you'd enjoy while on the job. But many of Canada's Top 100 Employers offer their own unique benefits in addition to such common incentives as topped-up maternity payments, and retirement guidance. Pet benefits at Ceridian Canada You could say it was a pet peeve of Ceridian employees that led to the introduction of an innovative perk at the Winnipeg-based HR solutions provider - an animal insurance subsidy plan.
Ceridian "has every benefit that you would expect an employer to have" for its nearly 1,400 employees, from dental to disability plans and a fully paid company pension program. This helps to both attract and retain employees, says Cande Dandelé, executive vice-president of marketing and life works. The pet health insurance coverage was added after employee focus groups and surveys showed the company which programs employees valued most, and whether any improvements were needed. The pet plan, developed in conjunction with benefits consultant Strata Consulting, pays for up to 80 per cent of veterinary costs. Among Ceridian's other initiatives is a program that allows co-workers to nominate employees for a chance to win a company-paid vacation to a sunny destination. L'Oreal puts the ooh-la-la in labour One of the world's leading cosmetics and personal-care companies, L'Oreal Canada Inc., encourages its 1,200 employees to travel outside their workplace to learn the "L'Oreal culture." So aside from providing benefits and perks liked topped-up parental leave, a subsidized onsite daycare and "summer" Friday hours all year long, the subsidiary of Paris-based L'Oreal Group sends employees to Paris and New York for international training. The company draws about 80 per cent of its employees straight from colleges and universities - and these young employees needs to be constantly challenged, says Marjolaine Rompré, director of learning for development. "The fact that we invest heavily in their development is extremely pleasing to Generation Y. It's one of their top wants." L'Oreal Canada's head office, distribution centre and manufacturing plant are in Montreal, and they have a sales office in Toronto and sales representatives across the country.
Molson Coors brews beer smarts Joining one of the oldest and largest breweries in Canada puts employees on the road to an MBA education like no other. Here, MBA stands for Molson Beer Academy, a program that teaches each worker all about brewing, the industry, and the company's brands. Jeff Armstrong, director of sales training, says in addition to tuition subsidies, a mentoring program, career-planning services and referral bonuses for its more than 3,000 employees nationwide, Molson Coors runs multiple programs to help foster an appreciation for both the company and the brand. "Ideally, those folks who have the 'beer gene' and a passion for beer inside them will seek us out and want to be a part of the next 225 years of Molson Coors Canada brewing excellence," says Mr. Armstrong. "It is a full day of beer education and fun, hosted by a cast of beer specialists," explains Mr. Armstrong. "Participants rave about the tasting sessions, Beer 101, that explore styles and ingredients, and, of course, the tour of the brewery."
RBC employees go cruising Royal Bank of Canada rewards staff year-round with special benefits and programs, but employees can also set their sights on an annual perk that takes them to exotic places: a luxury cruise. Every January, 700 top-performing employees are chosen for the week-long cruise convention. "The RBC nomination program recognizes teams and individuals who build points up over the year and redeem them for merchandise," says Per Scott, Toronto-based vice-president of human resources. "The cruise is part of a bigger program that recognizes people's work and efforts." RBC's 79,000 full-time employees, including about 57,000 in Canada, get a range of benefits and incentives, including health coverage, retirement-income and -planning help, performance and new-employee-referral bonuses, discounted and waived fees on banking services and products, and flexible work options.
1. Are these unusual motivation techniques more closely matched to McGregor's Theory X, or his Theory Y? Cite at least one of the textbook chapters from the required background readings to support your answer.
2. Which of Maslow's needs do you think these techniques address or do not address - physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and/or self-actualization? Cite at least one of the textbook chapters from the required background readings to support your answer.
3. Overall, what do you think the main advantages and disadvantages are of these new and unusual motivation techniques as compared to more traditional techniques?

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In compliance with BrainMass rules this is not a hand in ready assignment but is only guidance.

1.
The unusual motivation techniques are more closely matched to McGregor's Theory Y. According to Theory Y people view work as being as natural as play and rest. For example, dressing up as Chipmunk or impromptu dance parties emulate play and motivate employees. Further, according to Theory Y people will exercise self-direction and control towards achieving objectives they are committed to (1). Many perks such as pet insurance, computers at discounted prices, and group discounts encourage employees to exercises self-direction and control towards achieving their work objectives. This makes them more productive. ...

Solution Summary

The response provides you a structured explanation of workplace motivation . It also gives you the relevant references.

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