Part AIn every business organization, compensation or reward is an important issue and is identified to be a motivating factor, for employees to perform well and contribute effectively to the organization’s growth and for the attainment to whatever goal the organization has. One of the organizations that needed to have a good reward system is the construction industry.
This is because the construction industry is composed of various workers: engineers, architects, electricians, technicians, foremen and labourers who are usually required to work even on holidays and weekends because construction projects have a definite time-frame and should be finished as demanded by the client and the weather. Aside from that, construction workers are exposed to accidents, injuries and hazards, thus reward system in this industry should be carefully given attention.
Haohe Construction China Ltd is a private owned Chinese company that specialized in providing engineering construction services such as general contracting, planning, design, mechanical & electrical installation and project management. The elements of the reward system in Haohe include both the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards: compensation, benefits, work importance, social interaction and work variety.
In Haohe, extrinsic rewards are very important to be able for employees to meet their needs and to support their life. Compensation involves wages and bonuses while benefits include insurances and premiums that can be received in particular instances. Wages and benefits are the direct financial rewards. These are more important than the other elements of the reward because money helps meet the basic material needs; increases purchasing power of employees; raise the standard of living; and solve immediate financial problems (Ofili, 2004). The low wage prevalent in the industry is the reason behind the shortage of skilled workers and the difficulties attracting young people into the skill trades (ICAF, 2001).
Intrinsic rewards can also be as effective as financial rewards for employees in Haohe, such as social interaction, work importance, work variety Social interaction is the key for every construction projects, no one can work alone, every employee work as a team and there should be good rapport among each people involved in the project to be able to finish a quality project. Because of this, workers in the company have learned good social interaction and team working, making a friendly working environment that are work conducive.
Work importance is another important element of the Haohe intrinsic reward. Workers gained sense of achievement because the infrastructure or facilities they built have become very useful to the society and has given identity to cities or countries.
Work variety is also a vital element because construction workers are able to experience working for different projects, enhancing their experiences and skills. For example, one worker may do a high-rise building construction but can also be able to work for road construction or airport construction for his next job.
In the meantime, Social events like a dinner party after the completion of successful project for example, will confirm a sense of belonging to employees while learning opportunities such as seminars or trainings on how to use new processes or high-tech equipment confirm real opportunity, building loyalties for the company (Amar et al, 1998).
Part BWithin a construction company, it contains a wide range of employee such as engineers, architects, electricians, technicians as mentioned above. And they belong to different category. Such as architects and engineers are highly compensated because they are the backbone or the brains of every construction projects and are needed in every phase of the project while the plumber, electricians, carpenters, painters and other are need only at particular phases of the project. Wages and salaries of construction workers also depends on how big the project is, thus their earning are not stable.
Additionally, job tenure in construction is lower than in other industries and generally, construction work is, by nature, temporary (Ringen et al, 1995). Workers in the industry depend on contractors to provide work for them, when a certain project is finished workers may be out of work for a certain period until the contractor gets another project again, thus workers tend to transfer from one contractor to another or work for different employers at the same time.
To choose two job holders with different levels of responsibility, I prepared a questionnaire to be completed by 30 employees from across the range of roles at Haohe, I must stress that this was not a representative sample. The result is that the graduated project executive and senior architect scoring relatively high. As a project executive represents most of the junior level of staff in Haohe, and an architect who form the core of the business, comprising the bulk of the employ. For such reason, I have chosen the roles of project executive and architect for the comparison.
Jobholder No.1 – a junior project executiveJobholder number 1 is a fresh graduated student, has been working with Haohe construction for a year as a project executive.
As starting from the junior level, he has been sent to the project site to supervise the progress of the project, doing the on-site management and client liaison for bulk recruitment projects. Understanding client’s requirements, and hence work to fulfil the manpower requirement, and ensuring implementation and compliance of policies and procedures on projects, conferring with all project team members on technical issues to ensure a delighted client and a successful project that meets project specific profit goals.
Being a project executive, he represents most of the junior worker within Haohe construction. Applying the Maslow’s need hierarchy content theories, for the current stage, the biological requirement, safety and affiliation are acting the most important element for them.
For the reason that as a fresh graduated student, the priority is turn into independence, especially in term of financial. thus the compensation provided by the company, including the accommodation and meals are essential for them as satisfying their biological requirement and safety, even though the wages and salaries are generally less competitive considering that construction work is physically and conceptually demanding.
Even though those who are engaging in construction works have set his mind that this job is a blue collar one and that he should expect salary lower than the salary from white collar jobs, after few year, they will consider to change their job. According to the Maslow’s need hierarchy, he can not foresee his future development within this organization, his esteem need, transcendence and self-actualization need won’t be able to fulfil. In this regards, most of them will choose to move on to the real estate company, seeking for further growth. This does reflect the fact that Haohe construction’s motivation system for the junior workers is still remain at the very beginning stage.
It is obvious that the Maslow’s need hierarchy content theory is closely related to the process expectancy theory. Expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964; Porter and Lawler, 1968), suggests that individuals, acting through self-interest, adopt courses of action perceived as maximizing the probability of desirable outcomes for themselves. This desire to maximize self-interest provides aspiring employees with unique opportunities to their roles by simultaneously meeting both personal needs and organizational requirements.
As described above, the project executive consider the biological requirement, safety need are the main concern at the current stage. In this case, he perceives if he works hard, he will get paid accordingly, satisfying his fundamental need. At the same time, a certain bonus will be considered as reward to receive by the end of the year.
Thus, he will work hard to ensure the job performance. As job satisfaction depends on need fulfilment, according to his Maslow’s need hierarchy, he is putting the basic biological and safety as his priority, once his need fulfilled, it will related to his attitudes and linked with the performance. Good performance, appropriately rewarded, is likely to lead to a job satisfaction.
Generally speaking, organizational performance in Haohe is basically dependent on how each employee is motivated to perform his job well. For the junior workers, Haohe should consider to adopt the performance-related compensation, which is one of the means that organizations can use to enhance motivation and performance.
Jobholder No.2, an ArchitectJobholder number 2 is a senior architect who has been working with Haohe construction for over 10 years. As an architect, she was in charge of design, plan and supervise the construction of buildings. She is responsible for the safety, usefulness and aesthetics of their buildings. She must design structures that satisfy the client’s needs while conforming to the laws and regulations of the area in which the structure will be built.
Accordingly to the Maslow’s need hierarchy, apparently, it is completely opposite to the junior project executive. For her, as a senior architect, biological requirement, safety and affiliation needs are no more the motivator. She gives more emphasis on the aesthetics, transcendence, freedom of expression and self-actualization. To achieve her self-actualization, Haohe should provide her more on-going challenging projects.
This self-actualization needs also reflect on the expectancy theory. Expectancy Theory States that workers motivation is a result of how much a person wants a reward (valence), the estimate that the probability that the effort will result in the expected performance (expectancy) and the belief that the performance will result in the reward (instrumentality).
In other words people want to believe they will be rewarded for their effort(s) and the level effort they are willing to exert is based on this belief of reward. As a result of the Maslow’s need hierarchy, when self-actualization and transcendence are the ultimate goal for her, as she is sharing the same objective with the company. It means as long as Haohe would provide a good platform for her, gaining all the challenging new project for her to develop, she will commit to the company, and put all her effort on working, trying her best to achieve her/company’s final goal.
With reference to her expectancy, she more focuses on the intrinsic rewards rather than extrinsic rewards, through the intrinsic reward to fulfil her job satisfaction. Intrinsic rewards are valued outcomes within the control of the individual, such as feeling of satisfaction, competence, self-esteem and accomplishment.
This is a very comment practise that existing in most of the company, when the employee reaching the high management level, salary increasing and promotion are not more the motivator. Haohe is aggressively developing this global market, he believes, by going global, it will provide more opportunities and challenge for the employee to grow and develop.
ConclusionTherefore, the motivation practices in the Haohe construction is a reward system should be various toward to different category employee. Even though there are nine needs under Marlow’s theory, from the basic biological requirements to the highest hierarchy self actualization and it really pointed out the progress of needs from human beings. However, the process could be stopped by any levels, and besides, maybe it is too vague for the Mrs. Johnson to predict the behaviour from the employees of the company because there are different positions of jobs which have different working content. Although the Marlow’s theory still offers the correct concept, the situation nowadays may need some adjustment.
For the worker in Haohe, it does not only involved providing pay and incentives but also include good working relationship, the work itself, recognition of the workers’ performance levels and having the sense of contribution to the result of the project. As this industry is not very attractive and rewarding but some people find satisfaction with this kind of job having the awareness of how important their jobs are.
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