Employee Motivation: The Key to Training

By Grant, Philip C. | Supervisory Management, June 1989 | Go to article overview

Employee Motivation: The Key to Training


Grant, Philip C., Supervisory Management


Employee Motivation: The Key to Training

The Effort-Net Return model of motivation provides good insight for making sure a trainee is fully motivated to learn. The integration and comprehensiveness of ENR are unique and provide a depth of insight rarely achieved with other contemporary motivation models.

ENR suggests using five distinct strategies to generate high motivation. The premise of ENR is that it's not enough just to "tell"; you also have to "sell" trainees on the material they are supposed to learn if training is to succeed.

Assure training is seen as

valuable

For the trainee's motivation to be high, the training experience must be perceived by the trainee as valuable. Those responsible for conducting the training must convince the trainee of this. The trainee, of course, will not be motivated if he or she views learning as a waste of time. Here are some specific actions you can take to make sure the trainee perceives training as valuable:

1. Persuade the trainee that the training will result in higher job performance and greater employment satisfaction. Explain how the abilities developed in training can lead to promotion, salary increases, heightened fringe benefits, more interesting task assignments, and greater decision-making responsibilities. Also explain how such things as stress, fatigue, boredom, and physical injury can be reduced through training.

2. Convince the trainee that management and the trainee's fellow workers are fully supportive of the training.

3. Provide the trainee with rewards such as recognition, pay bonuses, and prizes for participation in the training. Insofar as possible, individualize the rewards, granting different rewards to different trainees according to need or want. A reward is perceived to have high value when it is well-matched to a person's needs. Also, take care that rewards are perceived as equitable. For example, if one receives a bonus that is less than a bonus received by a fellow trainee, it can be perceived as unfair and, therefore, lacking in value even though it may be high in absolute terms.

4. Make sure rewards are scheduled properly. For example, a single, large pay bonus offered in one lump sum long after the training period will not be seen as valuable as numerous smaller bonuses distributed throughout the training period.

5. Convince the trainee that what is learned during the training program cannot be obtained elsewhere.

6. Assure that rewards received by the trainee during the training or back on the job after training are sufficient. Reward alone is not enough. The size of the reward is important too.

Assure rewards are tied

to learning

Keep in mind that the trainee must not only perceive rewards as valuable, but also understand that those rewards depend on how much he or she learns. The following actions can be taken to convince trainees that rewards are contingent on the amount of learning that takes place:

1. Periodically assess learning progress during training and issue rewards on the basis of how well the trainee scores on the evaluations.

2. Develop and distribute to trainees a reward schedule that illustrates how rewards are tied to learning-progress scores. Make sure the schedule shows substantially higher rewards going to those who score high than to those scoring low.

3. Assure the trainee that the person in charge of issuing rewards can be trusted.

4. Inform trainees that their overall degree of learning will be assessed at the end of the training program and rewards back on the job will accrue in accordance with scores achieved on this evaluation.

5. Show the trainee that assessment of learning is a valid process. If the trainee feels otherwise, he or she will likely say, "What's the use? Rewards really don't depend on the degree of learning.

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