Employee Motivation

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The hospitality sector is large and includes a wide range of areas, including lodging, transportation, cruise lines, theme parks, and event planning, as well as the tourism industry. Cherry (2014) defines motivation as the process that guides, maintains, and starts behaviors aiming towards a certain objective. Motivation may also be defined as a driving force that can be conscious or unconscious that directs an action toward a specific goal (Starwoodone, 2014). Motivators can influence workers to have a favorable attitude about their jobs because their needs are met (Herzberg, 2014)

Different firms might utilize motivation to entice personnel to work toward a common objective. It is at the managerial level where the duty to motivate employees is held before being distributed to all other sectors. This research is conducted with the aim of getting the different ways employees in the hospitality industry can be motivated and the related theories.

There are different ways that can be used in the hospitality industry to motivate their employees. These include; provision of incentives and rewards, feedback and coaching, involving staff, giving clear growth parameters, use of guest cards and recognition of achievements, employee rewards, provision of professional enrichment, sharing of profits, soliciting employee input.

Methods Used To Motivate Hospitality Industry Employees

The motivation of employees can come as a challenge for the managerial department hence essential to use rewards and incentives which is one of the best ways to bring out the best in employees. Incentive and reward programs have become familiar and if well implemented three significant issues in the hospitality industry can be solved: retention, reliability, and recognition, (Kotch, 2007). Appreciating the employees with a simple "thank you" for a job well done can mean much more than monetary recognition. Incentives and reward programs can, however, be a way of investment to the industry hence carry a significant cost. Excellent managers perform exceptionally by providing good services to the customers which in turn boosts the revenue by the maintenance of loyal guests.

There two major types of rewards are extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. External rewards are different from work which include pay rises, time off and bonuses. Internal rewards are from doing the job and satisfaction of the management from a job well done and have the chance to display self-development and creativity. Money is one of the best forms of rewards. Employees' job performance are significantly affected by financial rewards. Money reinforces and also acts as an anxiety reducer, a conditioned incentive, as an instrument for gaining desired outcomes and as a "hygiene factor," (Opsahl and Dunnette, 1966).

While money influences the interest and productivity of an employee, there are other incentives that make individuals perform efficiently. These incentives are such as extra off days, free food, leisure activity support such as gym and company growth activities.

Feedback is when one is informed on how they use their abilities to attain given goals. The time and place feedback is given should be appropriate and more frequent to make it beneficial to the employee. A Feedback should consist of subjective data that is specific but not too detailed as the learner can be overloaded but focus on behavior which can be modified or maintained if it was positive feedback (Wood, 2000).

Feedback can be based on positive consequence (for example, congratulations, a tip, thank you). This reinforcement increases the probability of the person repeating that behavior. Negative consequence on the hand decreases the likelihood of the action. Neutral outcome (for example, zero response from the manager, customer). It also reduces the probability of repeating the behavior in such situation.

Involving staff is whereby the employees are made to feel like an integral part of the organization. Hospitality industries that are privileged to own for example a chain of hotels can organize regular staff meeting to allow for interactions between the staff from all the branches and recognition of the staff company-wide. Allow staff members from all departments of the company to interact and get to know each other and create a sense of team. As the manager, you can also ask for feedback from the employees and their thoughts about the organization, and the staff will feel valued, and a sense of loyalty developed.

During employment, employees will most likely succeed and maintain their jobs if they know and feel that they have a chance to move to better jobs and increase their wage. Clear parameters should be provided to show how an employee can move horizontally from food service to registry then recreation and to conference services. An employee should also have an opportunity to climb up the ladder from maid to managerial position.

The management can also make use of guest cards as a means of motivating employees. The guest cards will enable the owners to know who are working well and those sleeping on the job and in turn the employees will work hard enough to impress. To add, on the guest cards should provide for an area where the customers can give reviews. The employee who gets a lot of praise from the customer review can be given a bonus at the end of the month. Giving rewards to the employees who get good reviews and recommendations from customers will create a sense of competition between the workers, and in turn, the output will be to the advantage of the management.

Encouragement of employees by providing them with professional enrichment with tuition reimbursement or sending them to skills seminars and workshops motivates them on an upward career path, opportunities for job shadowing, and mentoring offers keeping the employees focused to attain a common organizational goal.

Sharing of profits with employees to help them increase their earnings while they in turn help the management in attaining greater profits. This mode of motivation helps in the creation of a simultaneous goal and strong teamwork. Sharing of profits in turn gives the employees a sense of security and ownership and continually and willingly want to work to improve the general working conditions.

Soliciting employee inputs by regularly surveying the level of satisfaction of the employees. Anonymous polls can be conducted to help get the morale breakers before they get worse and things get out of hand. Soliciting employee input also makes it evident to the employees that the management takes their opinions seriously and always want to improve their working conditions.

Herzberg´s Motivating and Hygiene Factors

Herzberg (2014) states that motivation of employees is best read as soon as the attitude towards work is also understood. Attitude is important to work as it is both the basis and starting point for the two factor theory stated by Herzberg and differentiates the two types of factors.

The first set of factors, called motivators were brought about by happy feelings and right attitude within a worker, and they were task-relative. Some job motivating factors are: achievement, recognition, advancement, responsibility, possibility of growth, work itself. The motivators are directly connected with the job and hence intrinsic. Herzberg (2014) states that motivators satisfy worker’s needs as they cause positive job attitude. Presence of motivators creates job satisfaction and dissatisfaction in their absence.

Extra-job factors, also known as hygiene factors were developed which basically consisted of feelings that are unhappy and poor attitude towards the job, which were related to the surroundings which influenced the doing of the specific job but not to the job itself.

Examples of hygiene factors are personal relations with; supervisors, subordinates, salary, peers, supervision on job security, working conditions, status, technical, personal life, company policy and administration.

Vroom Expectancy Theory

Vroom and his expectancy theory provide the reason one option is chosen over another by individuals. "The basic idea behind the theory is that people will be motivated because they believe that their decision will lead to their desired outcome" (Redmond, 2009). Every person sets their own goals and hence can only motivated if they believe that there is a measurable dependence between performance and efforts. Performances that are favorable will result in rewards that will be satisfying to urgent issues and desirable.

In Redmond, 2010, there are three components on which the expectancy theory is based on


• It is a belief that more effort input increases chances of a better yield.


• It can be explained as a thought that a valued outcome will come out of an individual if they perform well. Instrumentality can be upheld by having respect and trust on the seniors who decide on the award winners, having a transparent process of choosing the award winner, having clearly understanding the relationship between results and performance.


• Valence in more straightforward terms is "value." Valence refers to beliefs about a specific outcome desired, (Redmond, 2010). Particular outcomes differ individually in the value levels. For example, motivation may not be increased by a bonus for an employee who prefers to be formally recognized or promoted. Valence can be liked the importance a person puts on a job in order to achieve a set out outcome.

McGregor Theories

In The Human Side of Enterprise, McGregor (1960, In Travis L.Russ, 2013) came up with Theories X and Y to reflect two assumptions that managers are responsible for their employees. The theories argue that communication and motivation of employees by the managers is based on their assumed human natural behaviour.

Theory X

Average human beings have a natural hate for work and avoid it at all costs. It is because of the dislike for work that people have to be controlled or directed to perform towards the goals of the organization.

Theory Y

Average human beings like to work as it may be a source of satisfaction or punishment. The only way of bringing out effort towards set goals is by external threat and control. Among the functions of rewards is to make the employees to be committed to the objectives and an average human being learns to accept and seek responsibility.

Both theories show the activity of human beings at their workplace and manager presume employee´s behavior. While Theory X discusses the dislike of work that cannot be changed, Theory Y, places issue in the hands of management. Theory Y indicates in the case of lazy, unwilling and inactive employees, it is the fault of the administration. The theories are used widely and accepted by managers to aid in the control of employees.

Skinner’s Positive Reinforcement

Productive reinforcement is "any pleasant or desirable consequence that follows a response and increases the probability that the response is repeated" (Wood, and Boyd, 2005). Skinner (1948), states that behaviors that tend to be repeated are those that are built up; an action, on the other hand, which is not enhanced, dies out or weakens. The term operant conditioning was invented by Skinner, 1948, which means changing behavior roughly after the desired response by the use of reinforcement.

Three types of interventions were identified: neutral operants - environmental factors neither increase nor decrease the chances of repeat of an action; reinforcers – environmental response that increase the probability of the repeat of a behavior; there are either positive or negative reinforcers; punishers – environmental responses that decrease the probability of the repeat an action; punishment weakens behavior. The consequence an individual finds in rewarding is provided for by positive build-up. Behavior can also be enhanced by the removal of unpleasant reinforcers well known as negative reinforces. Strengthening of a behavior can be brought about by negative support as it stops an unpleasant experience.


In conclusion, I would like to summarize the findings of my work. I explained theories that explain theories which are most used by companies. I also stated the importance of the implementation of the theories in the hospitality industry. I have explained broadly the importance of the use of incentives and rewards on employees to encourage them to improve performance as well as the use of constructive feedback and coaching, involving staff, giving clear growth parameters, use of guest cards and recognition of achievements, employee rewards, provision of professional enrichment, sharing of profits, soliciting employee input. From the different theories it was evident that employee motivation is important in the hospitality industry in order to increase the profits, employee satisfaction, feedback and loyalty, and in turn the rate at which employees leave the different places they work.


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May 17, 2023

Psychology Business

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