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Fostering a Motivational Work Environment for Student Staff

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Doug Wagner

on 8 October 2012

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Transcript of Fostering a Motivational Work Environment for Student Staff

by Doug Wagner Fostering a Motivational Work Environment Currently working at Western Kentucky University
as a Coordinator for Housing and Residence Life Doug Wagner Presentation Overview Student staff start out motivated
The role of the Hall Director is not to control staff but to facilitate performance
Motivation through self-governance is the most successful practice
Individuals should be treated fairly, with timely/honest feedback Undergrad: Cornell College, Mount Vernon IA
BA: Modern European History
Grad: University of North Dakota
Master's in Ed. Leadership Gain an understanding of Theory "X" and "Y"
Learn some strategies in motivating others
Learn how to redesign student staff positions into highly motivational jobs Important Assumptions Prior to Starting the Presentation Assumes that: Employees do not want, know how, or are able to perform job duties/take responsibility.
This requires that managers take a hands on role, coercing, intimidating, and manipulating staff in order to get results. Theory X Satisfaction
Performance Indulging Managers who place emphasis on the satisfaction and ignore performance are undermining the performance of staff. Imposing Manager has little concern for how employees feel about the job they are doing. Zero leadership on staff leads to zero performance of staff members and the students will suffer. Ignoring Managers ignore both satisfaction and performance so they are ignoring the task they have been charged with. This is the ideal motivational environment. How employees feel about what they are doing is important but this feeling cannot overshadow the responsibility of holding employee's accountable for performance. Integrating Theory Y Assumes that: Employees basically want to do a good job and assume more responsibility, so the managers job is to assist workers to reach their potential by channeling their motivation to succeed. Performance Ideal Circumstances The ideal environment is one in which student staff feel personally satisfied while at the same time have high motivation to perform.

This is done through the following formula. Motivation Outcomes Satisfaction Remove obstacles to performance, or ask yourself can student staff accomplish these goals. Motivation Two Important Steps Set moderately difficult goals which are understood and accepted Performance Use both positive and negative reinforcement in order to shape behavior. The question here to staff should be; which is more rewarding being a high performer or a low/average performer? Make sure the rewards are distributed fairly. Satisfaction Come up with rewards that the staff find motivating. Make sure that the rewards as well as the criticisms are timely, specific and accurate Outcomes Outcomes Performance If they cannot achieve the goals set, need to find out why and address the issue. For example, if staff need training then their lack of training is an obstacle. Often times the staff members that are the least likely to perform well, are those that have become disinterested with their position and their responsibility. Their lack of performance is merely a symptom of becoming disinterested/disengaged with the position. It is important to note that to much criticism will result in a staff that is worn down. Praise is the best thing to keep staff engaged and motivated. The number one reason staff quit is that they don't feel appreciated. Intrinsic Outcomes In a world where budgets are cut, finding the resources to find external outcomes like increase in pay or other added benefits becomes difficult. It then becomes important to find internal motivators that are meaningful for staff. These motivators can include added responsibility or development of new skills. Work design is the process of matching job characteristics with staff skills and interests. Redesigning Work The best way to add meaning to work is by adding the following psychological aspects to the job. Adding a variety of tasks to the job can help increase the performance of the work because the work will be perceived as more important/meaningful. Skill Variety If the job requires too little work then the job is perceived as unimportant which could lead to performance suffering. The more autonomy that is added to a position, then staff will feel that they have a direct say over their own success or failure.

Adding autonomy can be achieved by allowing staff to make decisions on how to complete a task. Autonomy The less autonomy present the more a staff member will dislike the work because the work they do will have no bearing on their success or failure. This could result in, only doing the minimum. The more feedback a staff member receives about how well their jobs are being performed which will increase the knowledge of the results of their work.

The more knowledgeable a staff member is about the work they do the more they can directly see the results of hard work. Feedback This can be achieved through showing student staff how the completion of their job duties fits in with the mission of the overall department/institution. Consider going over student development theory to see how your department initiatives fit in with them over all mission of the institution. Murray's Manifest Needs Model Proposes that staff members can be organized according to their various needs. The needs are categorized by their strength. These needs can be similar or they can be conflicting. But the important thing is that only some of them apply to the workplace. Individuals who possess this need will exhibit the following
- Tendency to set moderately difficult goals
- Desire to assume more responsibility with work activities
- A single minded focus on task accomplishment
- Strong desire for feedback Need for Achievement This can be difficult for RAs specifically as documentations and policy enforcement could result in disapproval from peers. Team building should be emphasized to encourage approval/affiliation. Need for Affiliation Those who possess this need will exhibit the following
-Interest into how others feel
- To conform to the expectations of others, especially if the affiliation is valued
- Desire for approval from others Need for Power Those who possess this need will exhibit the following
- Focus on advancing the organization forward
- Enjoy the work and will complete tasks on time
- Willingness to sacrifice self-interest for the good of the order
- Strong sense of justice and equity
- Seek expert advice, and do not shy away from criticism Consider adding additional responsibility to staff that have become disinterested, give them a specific weekly job. Find out their interests and attempt to match the additional responsibility to their desired career. Applications for Student Staff Don't sacrifice performance for happiness with the position because this will ultimately lead to either dissatisfaction of the staff member or the entire team. Student Staff possess the capacity to do the jobs that are asked of them, but require a great deal over the course of the year to reach their full potential. Find the cause of the performance issue and address it immediately. For example, if there are performance issues on staff examine the training they have received, and evaluate if it was sufficient. Satisfaction is important but if one staff member is happy because there are no consequence for poor performance, then others may become dissatisfied with their position. Be comfortable with criticism both of your ability to manage, and of your staff's ability to perform. Your responses and daily routine as a manager role models the things you wish to see in staff. If you are to give student staff timely feedback, you must be willing to take feedback as well. Theory Y is the best way to create and manage a motivational work environment. Theory Y will help create an environment where staff are continuously motivated to perform but in order to use it, it is important to find what motivates staff. You will be viewed as a "nice" person who gets no results. Viewed as an individual with great results who no one wants to work for. Recognize successful programs publicly, be your staff's biggest supporter.

Find ways to frequently recognize staff for performance. If student staff have become disengaged, find ways to make the job exciting again, give them a new experience. Why is this important? According to a report released by the Society for Human Resource Management, students who graduate from two and four year institutions still possess significant deficiencies in the following areas that related directly to work force skills. Leadership Only 17% of employer respondents stated that their new hires had adequate or excellent leadership skills. Professionalism/Work Ethic Nearly half of employer respondents reported deficiencies of new hires in this area. Communication Skills 47% of employer respondents reported deficiencies in communication skills of two year college grads. 27% of employer respondents reported deficiencies in communications skills of four year grads.
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