Since employees are one of the most valuable assets in every organization, one of the most vital challenges facing every entity is ways to retain them. When employees are motivated and engaged appropriately, they are more likely to stay in an organization. Motivated and engaged employees are more productive, improve customer satisfaction, be more efficient, and willingly contribute to fulfilling an organizational vision (Osborne & Hammoud, 2017). Bearing in mind that different factors motivate employees, managers in entities need to identify what motivates every employee and develop the appropriate reward systems. This article will detail two best practices to motivate and engage employees and assess how effectively Microsoft engages its employees. Furthermore, based on the evaluation, provide a specific recommendation for Microsoft to enhance employee engagement. Finally, discuss insights gained and actions I would take as a leader to improve my effectiveness in engaging employees.
Workplace environment and leadership
Creating an enabling working environment
The work environment is one vital factor that affects employees’ motivation and engagement and, ultimately, the decision to stay in a company or not. Employees need a healthy or conducive work environment that impacts the organization. Organizational culture must provide a psychologically safe environment to improve employee engagement and promote motivation (Osborne & Hammoud, 2017). A comfortable working environment, relatively presenting low physical and psychological stress, facilitates professional development, and produces a high level of motivation, engagement, and satisfaction among employees. If an organization cannot provide such an environment, workers feel less committed and ultimately quit. The work environment is concerned with the climate in which employees perform their roles and responsibilities, including the physical setting.
In the physical environment, the primary practice would encourage engagement in adopting an agile layout placed appropriately to fit the workplace needs. Agile layout entails employees working in teams instead of hierarchically supervised departments. Also, it entails employees performing their tasks proactively (Grass et al., 2020). This office structure brings forth many process gains. The layout would encourage a vibrant and interactive work environment. An organization would be able to promote efficiency and a cohesive team system due to greater flexibility within the workplace. Furthermore, studies in social psychology demonstrate that structure layout impacts several factors, including communication and social interaction patterns (Junker et al., 2021).
Authentic leadership influences employees’ engagement (Nicholas & Erakovich, 2013). The ability of a leader to communicate effectively is the foundation for employee engagement. There are multiple ways leadership can influence motivation and engagement among workers beyond formal authority and control. Transformational leadership influences workers through idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized considerations. On the other hand, transactional leadership focuses on encouraging equitable exchange with employees through goal setting and providing rewards (Serrano & Reichard, 2011). Though literature proposed multiple paths leaders can follow to promote motivation and engagement. The best approaches would be to develop meaningful and motivating tasks, support and coach staff, and enhance workers’ resources.
Roles and responsibilities become useful when employees perceive they receive a return for their energies. Employees must see the value of the work. Therefore, leaders can create compelling visions and redesign tasks to increase job resources. On the other hand, another strategy is supporting and coaching employees. Serrano & Reichard (2011) state that leadership that focuses on individualized considerations, a component of transformational leadership, positively affects employee involvement. To demonstrate support and coaching, leaders can offer supporting and coaching by allowing employees to participate in decision making, giving regular feedback, and recognizing employees’ achievements. Similarly, several researchers have shown between enhancing employees’ resources and employee engagement. Leaders can provide training on relevant aspects of an organization. Also, they can develop social capital through building relations among the workers, which would heighten task cohesion.
Microsoft is one of the leading entities in the information technology industry to empower the globe. The American multinational organization was founded in 1975 and has grown to a renowned technology organization. Microsoft promotes an enabling environment to motivate its workforce through implementing human resource policies such as a diverse and inclusive workplace, an equal employment opportunity policy, and employee training. (Legal Guidelines| Microsoft Careers) By promoting a diverse workplace, the organization makes employees feel valued in positive work culture. Also, the organization implements an equal employment opportunity policy that enforces respectful treatment and gives equal chances for employees to grow. Similarly, the organization seems to employ Herzberg’s motivation theory. This is an event in its workforce’s physical benefits, including healthcare and parenting benefits, selling stock to employees at a favorable price.
Microsoft implemented centrical to promote communication through advanced gamification while integrating learning and performance data to promote engagement. The company believes this matrix would intrinsically reward employees. Also, the organization adopted an agile workplace layout (Colquitt et al., 2014). The open space encourages employees to be more productive due to heightened speed in sharing ideas and receiving feedback on project tasks. On the other hand, the company implements authentic and transformational leadership styles. While these practices profoundly impact the success of the company. There are several recommendations the organization could use to enhance engagement and motivate its employees.
Microsoft management should establish a teamwork and collaboration culture or working environment. This recommendation entails an all-encompassing nature. The organization will develop a culture that facilitates engagement, establishes common goals, and creates a holistic attitude towards tasks through teamwork and collaboration. This culture will promote collaboration between employees and management and among employees themselves. Employees would be more supportive of each other’s growth and struggles. When employees collaborate, the innovation may increase significantly.
Secondly, the organization should implement a recognition program to increase motivation. In many organizations, management often equates recognition of workers with monetary rewards; however, verbal or written acknowledgment and appreciation can act as vital tools. The organization should continuously acknowledge employees for their contribution towards organizational success. Third, the organization should employ feedback and a 2-way goal-setting culture that fosters a strong commitment to promoting engagement.
The main difference between highly effective and productive companies and less effective ones is employee motivation and engagement. Employee satisfaction suffers when an organization lacks employee engagement, performance decreases, and employee turnover rates rise. Furthermore, human beings are not homogeneous entities. They have various aspirations, needs, and differing perceptions of what constitutes proper rewards for effective motivation. It is important to understand if employees are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. By understanding what motivates employees assists in comprehending the dynamics underlying various essential behaviors such as absenteeism, job performance, customer satisfaction. In addition, understanding employees’ motivation allows managers to structure the work environment to promote productive work behaviors such as engagement.
Similarly, leadership plays a key role in establishing a work environment that allows workers to feel energized and have the chance to demonstrate involvement. Therefore, as a leader, understanding how employees become engaged is vital in producing employees with maximum energy and engagement. Hence when in a leadership position, one action I may implement is facilitating supportive employee relations. This would occur by building a trust culture by encouraging frequent and open communication and allowing employees to own their mistakes. By displaying this behavior it would produce group cohesion and consequently, cause an energetic involved team. Similarly, I would be keen to acknowledge and appreciate my colleagues differently, including giving time off and providing monetary incentives for employees attached to extrinsic motivation.
Colquitt, J., Lepine, J. A., & Wesson, M. J. (2014). Organizational Behavior: Improving Performance and Commitment in the Workplace (4e). New York, NY, USA: McGraw-Hill.
Grass, A., Backmann, J., & Hoegl, M. (2020). From empowerment dynamics to team adaptability: exploring and conceptualizing the continuous agile team innovation process. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 37(4), 324-351.
Junker, T. L., Bakker, A. B., Gorgievski, M. J., & Derks, D. (2021). Agile work practices and employee proactivity: A multilevel study. Human Relations, 00187267211030101.
Legal Guidelines|Microsoft Careers. https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/legalpolicies
Nichols, T. W., & Erakovich, R. (2013). Authentic leadership and implicit theory: a normative form of leadership?. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.
Osborne, S., & Hammoud, M. S. (2017). Effective employee engagement in the workplace. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 16(1), 4.
Serrano, S. A., & Reichard, R. J. (2011). Leadership strategies for an engaged workforce. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 63(3), 176.