Seasonal Motivation Options When Money And Stability Are Not Available: Departmental Cross Training, Flexible Hours, And Giving Employees A Voice. Brief Lots Of References

950 words - 4 pages

Seasonal Motivationnamecollege/courseinstructordateAbstractWhat's a company to do when they don't have the standby motivators of money and stability to motivate their employees? Sam Houston Race Park was faced with this same question and came up with three intriguing solutions: departmental cross-training, flexible hours, and giving their employees a voice that would be heard.Seasonal MotivationAbraham Maslow defined the hierarchy of individual needs in a pyramid-type illustration (see Figure 1). Human motivators all fall into one or more of the five defined levels. Financial compensation and job security are widely recognized as the most basic motivators. How can a company motivate employees without providing the two 'basic' motivators? This is the question Sam Houston Race Park (SHRP) was faced with when opening their doors in Houston. Horse racing is a seasonal industry and the majority of its workforce are cyclically laid off and rehired when the next season begins. The budget wasn't in place for premium pay. What motivators could SHRP utilize in lieu of dollars and stability? Their solution: Cross-training, flexible hours, and employee voice recognition.SHRP faced many challenges launching its operation in Houston, Texas. The new industry generated working departments many Houstonians had never seen before. After only a few months' time, inter-departmental hostilities became apparent. Instead of forcing the issue, management instituted a series of voluntary 'cross-training' days for all departments. Someone working in track maintenance, for example, would help answer the switchboard for a day; someone in admissions would help the marketing with event logistics.Sending people to work in another department at a moment's notice is not what cross-training is about. This has to be an effective planned process. Employees must "buy" into the idea, be encouraged to give feedback and make suggestions for improvement. They become "partners"... meetings can be used to share lessons learned. When employees think "the grass is greener on the other side of the lawn" they soon realize their mistake after exposure to other departments. They return to their job with a better attitude (Belilos).The results were both surprising and immediate; cooperative efforts to keep things running smoothly became evident. Those who thought of the opportunity as a 'day off of my job with pay' were soon surprised when they were carrying trays of food or sanding wood for stall beams. Employees were more satisfied with their own positions and more vocal about ways to improve processes between departments. There was less suspicion regarding interdepartmental requests and more open communication. Maslow would have recognized this cross-training effort as a fulfillment of social, ego, and (in some cases) self-actualization needs.Another motivator that attracted workers to SHRP was flexibility: varying hours, days and shifts. For some, the seasonality itself became a motivator for...

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