02 Jan Wholesale Employee Motivation
In the produce wholesale trade a manager faces many challenges. Two areas require constant attention to keep the business rolling. These areas are the grading and packaging of the product and loading the product to be shipped or transported. Various motivational theories apply to the way a manager motivates his or her employees to accomplish the two tasks, but the goal setting motivation theory is the most commonly used.
The goal setting theory is the most widely recognized and used concept; there are complete management systems that have incorporated goal setting basics into them. The basic jest of the theory according to Goal setting theory (2003) is that setting ”Specific and challenging goals are claimed to lead to higher performance” (par. 1). By giving specific goals or instructions to employees, there is less of a chance for misunderstanding and the employee will know what exactly is expected. The value of a goal will affect an employee’s performance as well. If the employee does not consider the goal important, he or she will not put forth considerable effort to accomplish it. A manager must know his or her employees and be able to gauge, which goal will be important to each. This can be daunting for a produce manager.
Find Ways To Motivate Employees:
The average produce wholesale house is perpetually under staffed during the busy seasons. Each employee performs various tasks within any given day. A day during the busy season can last up to 15 hours; therefore, a manager must find ways to motivate employees throughout a long tiring day. Using the goal setting theory a manager’s first goal is to move as much product as possible. This goal pertains to previously packaged product. Some employees are assigned to sale, and some to load the product. Salesmen do not load, and loaders do not sale. Employees assigned to these areas know exactly what their duties are. Loading of the product is the most sought after goal; whereas, by loading, an employee has the opportunity to earn extra money and make a name for his or her self as a professional stacker. Salesman comes in a close second to loading because the more a salesman can sale, the harder a loader has to work. Salesmen find satisfaction in creating strong and lasting relationships with their customers. A manager must know his or her employee’s habits and personalities to assign these roles accurately. Even though an individual may want to load, he or she may be too tired or aggravated to achieve the goal safely. Exhaustion will affect salesmen as well, limiting their attention span and tolerance as it applies to a customer. By paying attention to an employee’s behavior a manager will be able to assess what goals that are suited to the employee. When an employee is showing signs of stress, it is time to put them to packaging product.
Employees To Achieve The Goal:
Packaging of the product is a vital part of the business; although, most employees do not see it as a valuable goal. Packaging takes place in a back room by one or two employees, which affords little contact with the outside world. Persons assigned this goal usually do so grudgingly. The goal for this area is to grade and package the newly received product. The goal setting theory typically has no affect on employees assigned this goal. With employees dreading this task, a manager must find a different way to motivate his or her employees to achieve the goal.
To Focus On:
The packaging room is the perfect environment for the flow theory to blossom. In this particular area there is little to interfere with a person’s concentration and a clear goal to focus on. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1997) introduced the flow theory and describes flow as: ”…a state of effortless concentration and enjoyment that tends to occur when a person faces a clear set of goals that require appropriate responses and can be achieved at work, at play, and in social situations” (par. 1). An optimum environment does not always instill the flow theory in the packaging room. Employees feeling resentment for being assigned to the packaging room easily become off task. Managing this resentment is essential for achieving the goal. People are naturally self-centered; as employees it is, at times, appropriate to remind them of the grand scheme of the business. Reminding the employee of the importance of packaging to the next day’s sales will boast motivation of the employee. Giving control of the process to the employee also increases motivation. By encouraging the employee to observe the depletion of products and to make a decision on which product to package first will give the employee a form of immediate gratification. The gratification also comes from the employee knowing that his or her efforts are an intricate part of keeping the business afloat and customers supplied.
Find Success And Avoid Disaster:
Grading and packaging of the product is the start of the whole business process. Employees tend to view this as the least valuable goal; it is honestly the most important. Product comes into the warehouse in large quantities and must be graded and repackaged for sale. Failing to reach the goal of packaging will result in closing the doors of the business. The same is true for loading the product. Until the product is loaded for transport it cannot be taken out of the inventory. Failing to load the product can cause the inventory to become backed up and valuable storage space lost. This will also cause product not to be rotated properly. It is the manager’s responsibility to make sure none of these scenarios happen.
A manager in the produce wholesale trade can find success and avoid disaster by using the goal setting theory in select departments of the business. In other departments using the goal setting theory alone will not sufficiently motivate or satisfy employees. With knowledge of his or her employee’s behavior and personalities, a manager can effectively assign and motivate employees to goals and ensure the success of the business.