People as a Healthcare Resource

Introduction

Health care systems are characterized by a lot of complexity and dynamism. This complexity and dynamism are brought about by factors that surround the health care environment. The factors, most of them being regulatory, affect the performance of the healthcare system as a whole and also affect each specific health care provider. An example is healthcare regulation by the government which could be set such that health provision is made more difficult. Due to these problems that normally affect the health provision sector, individual health providers should make sure that they have internal controls that ensure optimum performance to cover the effects of the other factors which they have limited control. Such internal controls may include: improvement of their services by hiring more employees and signing contracts with health specialists, ensuring effective management to ensure that the service provider maximizes its profits, ensuring close ties with regulators to make proper use of incentives and other opportunities; effective employee management to ensure that employee output is maximized (McManus, 2004, p. 34).

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As compared to other sectors, the health sector is characterized by more utilization of manpower. This is evidenced by the limited number of automated and mechanized services offered by healthcare providers. This implies that most of the work done in the healthcare providers sector is done by people/employees and thus people are the most important resource in any health care organization. It, thus, follows that; effective management of people within the health provision sector will have a huge effect on the productivity of the industry. Therefore, any health care organization should devise appropriate people management systems to improve its productivity. This essay examines the available motivation tools for health care employees and the roles of the management of health care organizations in implementing employee motivation strategies (Hunt, 1979, p. 37).

Employee motivation

Various employees are motivated by different things depending on their interests, personality and status. Therefore, different people have different tastes and interests and thus what is appropriate as a motivation to one person may not be a motivation to another person. Consider, for example, a person who works for long hours without a break. Mere verbal appreciation of his/her work may not have much effect on his/her performance. Conversely, a person who does technical work whose results may vary considerably is most likely to be motivated by verbal appreciation. Resources may thus be invested in vain in employee motivation. Therefore, after planning the number of resources to use in employee motivation, the managers of health provider organizations should do extensive research on the most appropriate and cost-friendly motivation. This is because there are many motivation options that can have a positive effect on employees (Hunt, 1979, p. 11). Employee motivation is very crucial in ensuring recurrence of good performance. It can be defined as the choice by individuals to maximize their input in certain activities that have direct effect on productivity with the hope that performance will be appreciated by rewards. In the health provision industry, motivation is a very important determinant of performance since, as stated earlier; this industry is characterized by heavy use of human power (Hunt, 1979, p. 12).

Types of rewards and behaviors deserving rewarding

Reward systems can be classified into a number of categories. These include common benefits that are comprised of pensions, sick leave, vacations, work safety, insurances etc. Another category is individual rewards that are used to recognize individual contributions to productivity. Examples of benefits in this category include bonuses, wages, salaries, commissions and merit awards. Next are group rewards that are given to groups for their contribution to productivity. Examples of rewards in this category include parties, group bonuses, group incentives etc. Another category of rewards is the compliance rewards that are given to employees who achieve or exceed expectations, observe controls etc (Kjos, 2001, p. 1). In a nutshell, they are rewards for doing things right. An employee may also be given awards for job satisfaction and goal congruence. The latter is given for commitment towards the goals of the organization.

Although the rewards stated above are all inclined towards positive motivation, there may also be need for negative motivation. An example is a case where an organization wants to reduce its workforce without retrenchment and sackings. In this case, there will be the need for negative motivation to make employees leave the organization at their will. This evidences the fact that different people are motivated by different things in order to achieve a desired effect within the organization. Thus to achieve a positive effect on the productivity of the organization, the most effective reward systems are job satisfaction and goal congruence (Kjos, 2001, p. 1). On the other hand, if an organization intends to attract people to work for it, the most effective reward system to use in achieving this is by using individual rewards like salaries. An organization may also be interested in retaining its individuals in it. In this case, the most strategic reward systems to use are the ones that encourage group cohesion like group bonuses. Additionally, if an organization intends to achieve a structured predictable behavior, it must implement a compliance rewards system. If the organization wants to encourage creativity, job satisfaction rewards will be helpful (Hunt, 1979, p. 74).

The different types of rewards stated above are appropriate in different circumstances; as described. Each of them has a number of rewards that are also specifically appropriate in given conditions. Consider common rewards for example. Common rewards are given to every employee to make sure that they are motivated enough to perform their roles in the organization. In situations where common rewards are inadequate, the organization faces substantial employee absenteeism, employee underperformance and high employee turnover (Kotler & Levy, 2006, p. 67). Examples of common rewards include, pensions, sick leave, vacations, work safety, insurances etc. The most important category of rewards is individual rewards. They are very instrumental in encouraging individual productivity and creativity and thus lead to growth of the overall production of the organization and introduction of creative ideas within the organization. The fact that individual rewards recognize individual effort is very instrumental in enabling organizations to develop the skills of their personnel progressively. This is because individual contribution to production is noted and used as an indication of capability. Therefore the organization can develop the capabilities it has seen in specific individuals (Goodwin et al. 2006, p. 72). On the other hand, group rewards are meant to encourage teamwork and give employees a sense of belonging. This influences the employees to develop a passion for working for the organization and thus it discourages employee turnover. Group rewards also give employees an opportunity to develop their skills, both social and professional, by interacting with their peers. As stated earlier, group rewards include parties, group bonuses and group incentives. An ideal reward system incorporates the idea of individual behaviors in its identification of the appropriate category of rewards to give. For instance, in an organization where creativity is paramount and the employees work independently, like a computer programming organization, it will be appropriate to use the individual rewards system (Kotler & Levy, 2006, p. 29).

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Another category of rewards is the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Intrinsic rewards are rewards that have a direct effect on the inherent characteristics of the employee who is rewarded. Examples of rewards that are categorized as intrinsic include medical insurance benefits, career development programs by the organization, etc (McManus, 2004, p. 12). On the other hand, extrinsic rewards are concerned with equipping the employee with the zeal to perform his/her duties and do not add to the intrinsic characteristics of the employee being rewarded (Kjos, 2001, p. 1). Examples of extrinsic rewards include monetary rewards like salaries, bonuses, wages etc, and public praise/recognition, parties etc. Extrinsic rewards have numerous disadvantages that include lack of sustainability, and the possibility of being taken lightly by the employee. Therefore, the most effective rewarding system is the one that integrates a number of reward schemes and categories and uses each scheme in its appropriate scenario. For instance, a holistic reward system must perfectly balance intrinsic rewarding with extrinsic rewarding (Kotler & Levy, 2006, p. 33). It should also consider the interest and job placement of the employee and give substantial consideration to the behavior of the employee to make sure that it achieves the desired effect.

Reward system in the healthcare system

The health provision sector has the greatest need for employee motivation due to the value attached to personnel in the sector. Most of the work in this sector is manual and thus there is a great need for employee motivation which is directly related to better productivity. Healthcare also requires a lot of motivation and passion due to its characteristic sensitivity. Therefore, proper reward systems should be put in place to ensure that healthcare personnel is properly motivated. Several approaches can be used to ensure that healthcare personnel is properly motivated. Let us have a look at an example of a reward system in the healthcare sector.

An effective reward system in the healthcare system should take into consideration the kind of work healthcare personnel perform. Therefore the risk involved in this sector should be considered and protection of personnel against accidental infections implemented (Goodwin et al. 2006, p. 13). This will have to conform to the description of a common rewarding system since virtually every employee in this sector is exposed to the risk of accidental infections from their interactions with patients. Therefore, employees will be motivated to carry out their obligations effectively because they will not fear infections. A reward system in the healthcare environment should also include the individual rewarding system in which an employee will be rewarded depending on the number of patients he/she can attend to well within a given period of time. This will ensure that employees give their best in the workplace and thus it will translate to higher productivity of the organization and better performance of the industry at large. Health care providers should also devise ways of overcoming the problem of a limited number of professionals in certain specialties like cardiology, neurology etc. This will enable managers in health care provider organizations to set up vacation rewards for overworked professionals. This will translate to quality of work performed by these professionals and subsequent organizational success.

The health care industry is characterized by a lot of compliance issues. There is a professional code of conduct to which professionals must comply; there are also organizational goals that individuals should comply with and work towards their achievement. This, therefore, necessitates the inclusion of a compliance reward in the reward system of health provider organizations. This will act as a motivator for employees to observe codes of conduct and work in accordance with the goals of the organization. This will, in turn, lead to career development and attainment of organizational objectives (Kotler & Levy, 2006, p. 49). The reward system should also integrate other intrinsic and extrinsic rewards applied in other industries on condition that they will motivate employees. Examples of such rewards include pensions, leaves, bonuses, vacations, insurances, commissions and allowances for overtime, leave, etc. Some of the extrinsic rewards that could be given include parties, public praises directed to employees, trips to make employees relax, etc. The current reward system is characterized by very inefficient rewards. Most of them are copied from other industries without consideration of the working environment, kind of work, interests and behavior of healthcare personnel. Therefore, there is a need for a big change in the reward systems of the healthcare industry. As stated above, a perfectly integrated and considerate system is desirable in this sector but healthcare managers seem oblivious to this apparent need. Till now, there is a fairly rigid approach to extrinsic rewards in the healthcare industry that deviate from the discussion above. However, good managers are continually realizing the need to integrate several rewarding techniques in an attempt to achieve the desired effect of rewarding (Hunt, 1979, p. 45).

Role of managers in rewarding

Managers should ensure that their employees are constantly motivated to increase productivity in their organizations. To achieve this, managers should implement an appropriate rewarding system that will raise the motivation levels of the employees in the organization. Effective managers strike a balance between the cost of rewarding and its benefit to the organization. The most effective managers know how to maximize the use of readily available reward resources that have no financial costs to the organization. Therefore, to be an effective manager, one must maximize his/her use of the rewarding resources that do not deprive the organization of its resources. Examples of these rewarding resources include publicly praising workers, giving employees extra responsibilities to help them in developing their careers, respecting employees in the organization no matter their position etc. The managers should also be very careful when dedicating resources to rewarding. A thorough study should always be carried out on employee behavior before concluding that rewarding will have a positive impact on them. With reference to the health care sector, employee rewarding and general care is very paramount to the performance of health care organizations. Managers in these organizations should therefore make sure that sufficient and appropriate reward systems are put in place and thus employees are taken care of in order to motivate them. An example of employee care is breaks given to health care professionals in order to enable them to be efficient in their work (Kjos, 2001, p. 1).

Conclusion

Employee motivation is a very important determinant of the performance of an organization. It is the responsibility of the management to ensure that employees are properly motivated to perform their duties in the organization. Managers should thus learn to exercise the effective motivational strategies described in the text above. They should ensure that a reliable reward system is operational within the organization to reward talent and performance within the organization and thus encourage continuous improvement of performance. In the healthcare industry, many operations are carried out under the scrutiny of people due to the sensitivity of the services offered by the industry. It, therefore, follows that employee motivation will have a tremendous effect on the performance of organizations in this industry (Kjos, 2001, p. 1).

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Managers in this industry should therefore make sure that employees are properly motivated in order for them to perform their duties satisfactorily. To achieve this, there will be the need for a rewarding system recognizing all realms of professional welfare. These include performance, conformance to professional ethics and organizational goals etc. Besides the rewarding system, managers should also make sure that they employ professional communication skills meant to increase the motivation of their employees and create a friendly working environment. Contemporary organizations have also employed a number of strategies to ensure employee motivation. These strategies include acquisition of high-tech information systems that provoke the liking of the employees and comfortable working environments that make employees enjoy their work.

Reference List

Goodwin, N. et al. (2006). Managing Health Services. U.K. Bell & Bain Ltd.

Hunt, J. (1979). Managing people at work. London. McGraw-Hill.

Kjos, B. (2001). Molding Human Resources for the Global Workforce. Web.

Kotler, P. & Levy, K. (2006). Marketing Management. New Jersey. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.

McManus, D. (2004). Human resource management. U.K. McMillan Publishers.

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