I recently read a dissertation from a hospitality student that focused on the impact of staff motivation in service delivery in restaurants. Its findings as well as its background were both intriguing in equal measure. In a general statement, the researcher found out that the level of motivation of staff in restaurants is directly related to their quality of service delivery.
That said, I was lost in thought about motivation of the academic staff, whose role in moulding the work force that is responsible in driving the economy of any country, cannot be ignored. Results cannot be expected from people who are poorly motivated.
For the purpose of this article, my focus is not to establish whether the academic staff are well motivated or not but to highlight some of the means of motivating them and the probable outcomes of low motivation.
Like any normal human being, teachers like being recognized. Teachers are authorities in their respective fields of specialization and any attempt, direct or indirect, to demonstrate otherwise is like pouring cold water on them.
All teachers yearn for reassurance that they are doing a good job. Most principals recognize teachers’ efforts by offering positive feedback -- both publicly and privately. Such recognition can occur in staff memos and during a special celebration portion of each month’s faculty meeting. A special point of spotlighting efforts teachers make to develop projects that involve students across all classes or with other schools can also be made. Special recognitions encourage others to consider projects that extend learning outside the walls of individual classrooms. This is what is called recognizing those who go above and beyond.
Some principals try to leave a little extra money in the budget to recognise outstanding efforts with small personal gifts such as prepaid phone cards or gift certificates. Small is big when given in recognition of a person’s effort.
The stomach should be taken care of too. Free breakfast and lunches for teachers go a long way in boosting their morale.
Encouraging teachers to seek professional development courses or doing them within the institution is another positive motivator because it expands teachers’ capacities in dispensing their duties. Poor performance of teachers maybe simply caused by inadequate skills.
Furthermore, involving teachers and other members of staff in decision making helps make them feel that they are appreciated and that their input is valued. Institutions where teachers just receive orders in most cases have the most demoralised staff. In such situations they watch things going wrong.
Swift granting of requests for the supply of learning materials requested is also important because it enables teachers to execute their planned learning activities according to schedule and when their spirits are still high.
More importantly, the pocket of a teacher should be well taken care of. Money is the most effective extrinsic motivator for all employees irrespective of their field. Poor pay is the number one cause of poor service delivery among employees.