IATF 16949:2016 Clause 7.3.2 Employee motivation and empowerment

Employee motivation is the way of bringing empowerment in the organisation. This has it’s ways of knowing the people’s behaviour and the productivity towards their work. In terms of the organisational work, Motivation is described as an individual to work. Highly motivated employees are more productive than the normal employees. However motivation and empowerment are some or the other way related to each other. In an organisation it is important to keep employees motivated to get the good job done from them. Motivated employees always look forward to do their work in better ways and also in different ways. There are different ways of motivating employees in every organisation. As per the organisation, the way of motivation differs and also it differs from person to person. Now-a-days people feel that the motivation is a difficult task due the changing workforce environment. Every employee joins the organisation with their different needs and wants. They have their own values, beliefs and the way of behaving, attitude, lifestyle, perception etc. Employee motivation is the level of energy, commitment and creativity that an employee bring in their job. Motivation is vital for any organisation because the employees are the assets of the organisation. It also helps in the growth of the employees along with the organisation. Employees should be motivated by giving the monetary and non monetary benefits and also by rewards and recognition, along with good appraisals, incentives etc. Incentives can be monetary or non monetary. Empowerment basically means to give power or authority to a person. In terms of organisation or work, employee empowerment differs from organisation to organisation as it depends on the work culture and environment. Hence, “Motivation is a key to performance improvement of the employees and which leads to empowerment”.

Clause 7.3.2 Employee motivation and empowerment

The organization must maintain a documented process to motivate employees to achieve quality objectives, make continual improvements and to create an environment that promotes innovation The process shall include the promotion of quality and technological awareness throughout the whole organization.

The personnel must be motivated to achieve the organizations quality objective. The process to motivate employees and promote quality awareness and innovation may include the use of – cross-functional teams; employee surveys; employee recognition awards; improvement suggestions; poster campaigns; quality circles; workshops; etc.

Employee motivation process
The standard requires a process for the motivation of employees to achieve quality objectives and make continuous improvements to be established. Everything achieved in or by an organization ultimately depends upon the activities of its workforce. It is therefore imperative that the organization is staffed by people who are motivated to achieve its goals. Everyone is motivated but not all are motivated to achieve their organization’s goals. Many may be more interested in achieving their personal goals. Motivation is key to performance. The performance of a task is almost always a function of three factors: environment, ability, and motivation. To maximize performance of a task, personnel have not only to have the necessary ability to perform it but need to be in the right surroundings and have the motivation to perform it. Motivation comes from within. Employees therefore cannot be altered at will by a manager, despite what they may well believe to be the case. So what is motivation? It has been defined as an inner mental state that prompts a direction, intensity, and persistence in behavior. It is therefore a driving force within an individual that prompts him/her to achieve some goal. There is a motivation process — not an organizational process but a process Operating inside the individual.

From this diagram it will be Observed that motivation comes from satisfying personal needs and expectations of work. Therefore the motivation to achieve quality objectives must be triggered by the expectation that achievement of objectives will lead to a reward that satisfies a need of some sort. This does not mean that you can motivate personnel solely by extrinsic rewards such as financial incentives. It requires a good understanding of an individual’s pattern of needs. People desire psychological rewards from the work experience or like to feel a part of an organization or team. People can be motivated by having their efforts recognized and appreciated or included in discussions. However, this will only occur if the conditions they experience allow them to feel this way. If a person knows which quality objectives need to be achieved and has the ability to achieve them, and the environment in which the work is to be performed provides the right conditions, the role of the manager in enabling the person to be motivated is that of removing barriers to work motivation. There are two types of barriers that cause the motivation process to break down. The first barrier is job—related; i.e. there is something about the job that prevents the person from being motivated. An example is boring and monotonous work in mass production assembly lines. The second barrier is goal related; that is, attainment Of the goals is thwarted in some way, which results in frustration and a decline in the motivation to continue. Common barriers are:

  • Fear of failure, of reprisals, of rejection, of losing, of conflict, of humiliation, of exploitation
  • Distrust of management, favoritism, discrimination
  • Work is not challenging or interesting
  • Little recognition, respect, reward o No authority and responsibility

Empowerment is said to motivate employees as it offers a way of obtaining higher level of performance without the use of strict supervision. However, it is more theory and rhetoric than a reality. To empower employees, managers not only have to delegate authority but put at their disposal resources to use as they see fit and trust their employees to use the resources wisely. If you are going to empower your employees, remember that you must be willing to cede some of your authority but also, as you remain responsible for their performance, you must ensure your employees are able to handle their new authority. Employees not only have to be trained to perform tasks but need a certain degree of experience in order to make the right judgement. Some employees may acknowledge that they are willing to accept responsibility for certain decisions but beware, they may not be ready to be held accountable for the results when they go sour. It is also important that any changes arising from the empowering of employees to improve the process be undertaken under controlled conditions. However, empowerment does not mean that you should give these individuals the right to change policies or practices that affect others without due process. Managers therefore need to understand and analyze human behavior rather than establish a process for motivating employees.

Quality and Technology awareness

The standard requires the employee motivation process to include promotion of quality and Technology awareness on all levels. As indicated above, the motivation process is not an organizational process; the intention is that personnel be made aware of quality and all aspects of its management. It would be better to call the process the communication process since that is all it can achieve. You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, so the saying goes.
It is the same with people! Making them aware of the quality and Technology and how important
they are to the business and consequently to themselves may not motivate certain individuals. The intention is to build an understanding of the collective advantages of adopting a certain style of behavior. It is therefore more important to modify behavior than promote awareness.

Measuring employee satisfaction and understanding

Many companies carry out employee surveys in an attempt to establish their needs and expectations and whether they are being satisfied. It is a fact that unsatisfied employees may not perform at the optimum level and hence product quality may deteriorate. Like customer satisfaction surveys, employee satisfaction surveys are prone to bias. If the survey hits the employee’s desk following a reprimand from a manager, the result is likely to be negatively biased. The results of employee satisfaction surveys are also often disbelieved by management. Management believe their decisions are always in their employees’ best interests, whereas the employees may not believe what management says when management’s track record has not been all that great. Employee satisfaction has less to do with product quality and more to do with relationships. However employee relationships can begin to adversely affect product quality if no action is taken. By all means install a process for measuring employee satisfaction but design the survey with great care and treat the results with caution as they cannot be calibrated. A common method for measuring satisfaction is to ask questions that require respondents to check the appropriate box on a scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. Measuring employee understanding of appropriate quality objectives is again a subjective process. Through the data analysis you will have produced metrics that indicate whether your quality objectives are being achieved. If they are being achieved you could either assume your employees understand the quality objectives or you could conclude that it doesn’t matter. However, it does matter as the standard requires a measurement. Results alone are insufficient evidence. The results may have been achieved by pure chance and in six months’ time your performance may have declined significantly.The only way to test understanding is to check the decisions people make. This can be done with a questionnaire but is more effective if one checks decisions made in the workplace. Is their judgement in line with your objectives or do you have to repeatedly adjust their behavior? For each quality objective you should have a plan that defines the processes involved in its achievement. Assess these processes and determine where critical decisions are made and who is assigned to make them. Audit the decisions and ascertain whether they were contrary to the objectives. A simple example is where you have an objective of decreasing dependence upon inspection. By examining corrective actions taken to prevent recurrence of non conformities you can detect whether a person decided to increase the level of inspection in order to catch the non conformities or considered alternatives. Any person found making such a decision has clearly not understood the quality objective.

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