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Job satisfaction and staff motivation imperative for organisational success

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The job satisfaction of staff and their motivation to work efficiently is essential for organisations to achieve and sustain themselves if they want to remain competitive and produce products of value. This emerged out of research undertaken by academics at the Management College of Southern Africa.

Ms Vartikka Indermun, an academic in Human Resource Management and Professor MS Bayat, the former Dean who is now the Director of the Cape Regions, expressed this view in an article published in the International Journal of Innovative Research in Management. In their article titled: An Analysis of Organisational Behaviour and its Impact on Organisational Success they expressed the view that it was important for organisations to ensure their employees were performing optimally to maintain a competitive advantage over other similar organisations.

The study reveals that happy employees are more enthusiastic and display high levels of performance and productivity. While disgruntled employees on the other show signs of low productivity, turnover and are frequently absent from work. Hence the need for internal organisational research to determine the relationship between motivation, job satisfaction, teamwork, group dynamics, leadership and employee performance.

“The organisation and the design of jobs can have a significant effect on staff. Attention needs to be given to the quality of working life in an organisation. Managers need to understand that a positive work life can lead to an increase in employees’ performance,” stated the researchers.

Personnel forge a bond with their organisation which stems from their motivation to work and the rewards they receive. How the tasks and duties associated with a job are crafted is essential and determines the job satisfaction and motivation levels of personnel. It is the responsibility of managers to ascertain how co-operative staff are and direct them to work in order to achieve organisational goals and objectives.

The study confirms that achieving job satisfaction and motivation lies with both the employer and employee. The employer must provide their personnel with all the tools required to perform the job at hand and reward them with a good compensation and benefits, while the workers in turn will be satisfied and work efficiently.

The importance of employee’s needs is highlighted in the research. Low job satisfaction can lead to a low morale, which will cause the employee to work less and concentrate more on the negative aspects of his/her job, leading to low self-esteem and a general malaise that will inadvertently spread across his/her social circles.

People around them are likely to feel the frustration and may even have to bear the brunt of this malaise. This depression could also have a huge influence on their personal relationships and family life. In many cases, an unhappy worker may have marital problems and health problems caused by stress.

 To overcome low morale among personnel and achieve job satisfaction the research suggests the need for managers to pay attention to the attitudes displayed by their workers as this may signal if one’s personnel are satisfied or not. “In many organisations resignations and absenteeism are major problems; in order to keep this down, managers should do things that will generate positive job attitudes. The most important action managers can take to raise employee satisfaction is to focus on the intrinsic parts of the job, such as making the job more interesting and challenging,” said the researchers.

The study suggests four approaches managers may use to foster high performance levels among staff and discourage undesirable behaviour. These are:

  • Positive reinforcement entails certain outcomes if the employee performs organisational functions excellently. Positive reinforcers could be a pay increase; promotion or praise.
  • Negative reinforcement involves the manager using negative reinforcers such as criticism, threats and unpleasant assignments to eliminate unwanted behaviour. However, positive reinforcement is touted instead of negative.
  • Extinction is where employees may perform certain behaviours, which are not beneficial to the organisation, but are being reinforced by the organisational context. In this situation, the manager should identify and remove the reinforcer, thereby leading to the extinction of the undesirable behaviour.
  • Punishment provides for the immediate elimination of undesirable behaviour and involves the administering of negative consequences, such as a pay cut, temporary suspension, and demotion. Punishment should only be used when absolutely necessary.
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