i) Motivating Contingent Workers

We noted in chapter 1 that one of the more comprehensive changes taking place in or organizations is the addition of temporary or contingent employees As downsizing has eliminated of "permanent" jobs, an increasing number of new openings are for part-time, contract, and other forms of temporary workers. For instance, in 1995, approximately 6 million Americans, or the contingent workforce.70 These contingent employees don't have the security or stability that permanent employees have. As such, they don't identify with the organization or display the commitment that other employees do. Temporary workers also are typically provided with little or no health care, pensions, or similar benefits.

There is no simple solution for motivating temporary employees. For that small set of temps who prefer the freedom of their temporary status - some students, working mothers, seniors - the lack of stability may not be an issue. Additionally, temporariness might be preferred by those highly compensated doctors, engineers, accountants, and financial planners who don't want the demands of a stable job. But these are the exceptions. For the most part, temporary employees are so involuntarily.

What will motivate involuntarily temporary employees ? An obvious answer is the opportunity for permanent status. In those cases where permanent employees are selected from the pool of temporaries, temporaries will often work hard in hopes of becoming permanent. A less obvious answer is the opportunity for training. The ability of a temporary employee to find a new job is largely dependent on his or her skills. If the employee sees that the job he or she is doing for you can help develop salable skills, then motivation is increased. From an equity standpoint, you should also consider the repercussions of mixing permanent and temporary workers where pay differentials are significant. When temps work alongside permanent employees who earn more, and get benefits too, for doing the same job, the performance of temps is likely to suffer. Separating such employees or converting all employees to a variable-pay or skill-based pay plan might help lessen this problem.

ii) Motivating the Diversified Workforce

Not everyone is motivated by money. Not everyone wants a challenging job. The needs of women, singles, immigrants, the physically disabled, senior citizens, and others from diverse groups are not the same as a white American male with three dependents. A couple of examples can make this point clearer. Employees who are attending college typically place a high value on flexible work schedules. Such individuals may be attracted to organizations that offer flexible work hours, job sharing, or temporary assignments. A father may prefer to work the midnight to 8 A.M. shift in order to spend time with his children during the day when his wife is at work.

If you're going to maximize your employees' motivation, you've got to understand and respond to this diversity. How ? The key word to guide you should be flexibility. Be ready to design work schedules, compensation plans, benefits, physical work settings, and the like to reflect your employees' varied needs. This might include offering child and elder care, flexible work hours, and job sharing for employees with family responsibilities. It also might include offering flexible leave policies for immigrants who want occasionally to make extensive return trips to their homelands, or creating work teams for employees who come from countries with a string collectivist orientation, or allowing employees who are going to school to vary their work schedules from semester to semester.            

iii) Motivating Low-Skilled Service Workers

One of the most challenging motivation problems in industries such as retailing and fast food is: How do you motivate individuals who are making very low wages and who have little opportunity to significantly increase their pay in either their current jobs or through promotions ? These jobs are typically skilled with people who have limited education and skills, and pay levels are little above minimum wage.

Traditional approaches for motivating these people have focused on providing more flexible work schedules and filling these jobs with teenagers and retirees  whose financial needs are less. This has met with less than enthusiastic results. For instance, turnover rates of 200 percent or more are not uncommon for businesses like McDonald's. Taco Bell, PepsiCo's Mexican fast-food chain, has tried to make some of its service jobs more interesting and challenging but with limited results.72 It has experimented with incentive pay and stock options for cashiers and cooks. These employees also have been given broader responsibility for inventory, scheduling, and hiring. But over a four year period, this experiment has only reduced annual turnover from 223 percent to 160 percent.

What choices are left ? Unless pay and benefits are significantly increased, high turnover probably has to be expected in these jobs. This can be somewhat offset by widening the recruiting net, making these jobs more appealing, and raising pay levels. You might also try some nontraditional approaches as well. To illustrate, Judy Wicks has found that celebrating employees outside interests has dramatically cut turnover among waiters at her White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia.73 For instance, to help create a close and family-like work climate, Wicks sets aside one night a year where employees exhibit their art, read their poetry, explain their volunteer work, and introduce their new babies.

iv) Motivating People Doing Highly Repetitive Tasks

Our final category considers employees who do standardized and repetitive jobs. For instance, working on an assembly line or transcribing court reports are jobs that workers often find boring and even stressful.

Motivating individuals in these jobs can be made easier through careful selection. People vary in their tolerance for ambiguity. Many individuals prefer jobs that have a minimal amount of discretion  and variety. Such individuals are obviously a better match to standardized jobs than individuals with strong needs for growth and autonomy. Standardized jobs should also be the first considered for automation.

Many standardized jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, pay well. This makes it relatively easy to fill vacancies. While high pay can ease recruitment problems and reduce turnover, it doesn't necessarily lead to highly motivated workers. And realistically, there are jobs that don't readily lend themselves to being made more

challenging and interesting or to being redesigned. Some tasks, for instance, are just far more efficiently done on assembly lines than in teams. This leaves limited options. You may not be able to do much more than try to make a bad situation tolerable by creating a pleasant work climate. This might include providing clean and attractive work surroundings these breaks, and empathetic supervisors.