Over the years motivation for employees has become a crucial factor for
companies. As employees want to work for a company that gives them recognition
for their work, advancement within the role and most of all they feel motivated
at work. The industry I will be looking at is the fast food industry and within
that the business will be McDonald’s.
McDonald’s is known worldwide for the food they make, having more than
34,000 restaurants worldwide making it one of the world’s largest restaurant
chain. McDonald’s offers a zero-hour contract policy as they may require more
workers. It’s very important that they keep their employees motivated so that
they can keep up with the daily demand they have.
Motivation is a combination of three factors, energy, direction and
persistence. The theory that I will be looking at is Maslow theory, introduced
in 1943. His ideas are conveyed through a hierarchy diagram. There are five
categories within the diagram, physiological needs, security needs, social
needs, esteem needs and self-actualization.
The proposal for Maslow is that an individual should get what they desire,
and that the order he has proposed is the way individuals require those
factors. For example, security needs enable the individual to think about
financial needs to pay for rent and upcoming bills but by getting paid £4.75 an
hour for a 27-year-old is below the national minimum wage. “He and his colleagues scald themselves to earn the
profits”1 implying they are
having to put financial needs above their health to survive and pay bills. They
were unable to take any breaks due to how busy it was and this in the long term
would impact their mental stability alongside not being motivated the reason
being the conditions they work in.
On the other hand, zero-hour
contracts are useful for students as they would be able to take up hours during
their free time alongside even the elderly as they would be able to interact
with individuals, work and earn.
A criticism of Maslow theory is the structure of his hierarchy, as for every
individual the needs are going to vary. It was stated his theory supported job
satisfaction more rather than motivation by (Nadler and Lawler 1979)2
Hertzberg et al (1957) stated there are two types of motivation, the first
one being Intrinsic motivation which is self-generated and allows individuals
to do what they want to do, for example, doing more overtime or developing a
new skill. Extrinsic motivation is what is done to motivate them such as
incentives or even giving them a pay rise.
In McDonald’s to ensure that workers feel motivated about coming to work
they have “incentives put into place”3 that employees would get the
chance to go aboard or other perks involved. This means employees would take on
more hours when they were offered as they would have a greater chance of being
in the draw alongside making more money that month which would increase their
However, those factors are a fantastic way to motivate your employees but,
knowing that “hours are cut if you’re not a manager’s favourite”4
then employees would not be motivated by the incentives put into place as they
know their hours are going to be cut. Extrinsic motivation is what the
McDonalds employees are looking for as in the U.K and USA there have been
several strikes regarding the pay structure. It was mentioned that Steve
Easterbrook who is the chief executive “doubled his wage to $15.4m in 2017- an
hourly wage of roughly £5,700″5 hence why the employees went on a
strike as they had been demanding a pay rise.
Hygienic factors are crucial in any job and if the environment is unhygienic
then employees won’t feel motivated as Hertzberg stated. Several McDonalds
franchises “found food and grease on the floors, walls and in storage areas.”6
Being told by your family members that they would never work there or think it
is “degrading and dehumanising work”6 wouldn’t be motivating to hear
when you are struggling to find a job or don’t like your existing job. The
smell within the work environment would be off putting.
However, one of the criticisms for Hertzberg is that his findings were based
on managers rather than employees which invalidates his findings. The theory
states that achievement and recognition are much more important than factors
such as salary which nowadays is the first thing employees ask about.
The rewards that McDonalds offer is bonuses towards
staff, child care vouchers and health care plan that staff can invest within.
This is beneficial for working mothers or elderly that want to invest in a
health care plan or the staff being eligible to a bonus scheme that runs within
the company. There are non-financial rewards given such as longer lunches, extra
time off. Stated by a former employee “everything I needed to know, I learned
Overall, rewards are the main aspect why individuals
are motivated at work. For staff that are on zero- hour contracts it may not
give the same satisfaction compared to having a permanent job as the needs
would vary. Alongside I believe the theories proposed by theorists have also
made a difference within the workplace as employers have started thinking of
several ways to motivate their staff.