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Organizational Consulting Project

[student name]

University of Houston

PSYC 3310: Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Vincent Ng

[due date]

Organizational Consulting Project

The University Career Services (UCS) department at the [organization] oversees providing career service expertise to all students and alumni. One of the most essential job positions at the UCS office is the Employer Development and Relations (EDR) team, which consists of three well informed individuals. A thorough job analysis on the EDR position has been previously created.

Motivation Strategies

During [interviewee’s] interview about her EDR position at UCS, she shared important information regarding her supervisor’s motivation tactics. One motivation strategy that is heavily relied on within the UCS department is goal setting. At the beginning of each semester, the lead supervisor gathers the entire EDR team to review the team’s strengths and establish goals for the group. The group goals of the EDR team typically consist of setting the ideal number of employees and students to attend career fairs, posting a certain number of social media posts each week, and setting a high number of virtual and in person employer meet and greets for the semester. Additionally, each team member meets with the lead supervisor individually to assess their personal strengths and set goals for themselves. The personal goals often consist of reaching out to a set number of employers each week, hosting a certain number of employer consultations each semester, and scheduling a set number of on campus interviews. The motivation theory that best applies to the UCS department is the goal-setting process theory, which has been shown to provide significant results in the workplace setting. By assessing each team member’s strengths and setting realistic goals for the semester, the EDR employees stay motivated throughout the year, as they constantly strive to reach their individual and team goals.

Although the goal setting process theory is efficient and proves to enhance motivation among employees, there are many other ways to improve motivation within organizations. The Alderfer’s ERG theory is one of the many ways that the UCS department can keep their employees motivated throughout the semester. Arnolds and Boshoff (2002), conducted a study to understand how utilizing the Alderfer’s ERG theory influenced motivation within the workplace. Results from the study show that top managers were more typically motivated by growth opportunities, which include a challenging job that allows creativity and autonomy (Arnolds & Boshoff, 2002). Frontline employees on the other hand were more motivated by relatedness opportunities, which include social recognition, work teams, and co-worker relations (Arnolds & Boshoff, 2002). Based on the results from this study, UCS would substantially benefit from incorporating the Alderfer’s ERG theory, as it supports the idea that employers of different positions are motivated by different things. The UCS department can incorporate this theory into their office by discussing the motivation needs of both the EDR team as a whole and with each team member individually. By including the Alderfer’s ERG theory in addition to the goal-setting process theory, motivation among the EDR employees will remain at a high level.

Another intervention that the UCS department can use to improve motivation among their EDR employees is the expectancy theory of motivation. The expectancy theory of motivation consists of setting clear terms for performance and establishing beneficial rewards for the employees within an organization. The theory claims that if employees are expected to receive rewards or valuable outcomes for their hard work or their goal achievement, they are more likely to remain motivated. Reinharth and Wahba (1975) studied the expectancy theory of motivation to understand how it influenced job performance and effort amongst employees by incorporating the theory into multiple organizations. The results from the study found that there was a positive correlation between job effort and performance when rewards were present, which supports the theory. Based on these results, the UCS office at [organization] can improve their motivation strategies by incorporating the expectancy theory of motivation within their department. This can be done by meeting with the EDR team early in the semester to establish rewards for the team’s hard work, which will allow the employees to remain motivated throughout the year.

Mitigating Stressors

As per the interview conducted on [interviewee name], there are many stressors that come with being an employee on the EDR team at UCS. The stressors that come with this occupation are one of the main reasons why this position is made up of a group of three well rounded individuals. One of the main stressors that comes with this position is student and employer outreach. The EDR team oversees recruiting students and employers to attend the career fairs; however, there is only so much the incumbents can do to persuade them to attend. For example, one way the EDR team contacts companies are via email and phone call, but if the employers do not respond or are not convinced, then it is unlikely that they will attend. Additionally, the EDR team creates flyers, posts on social media, and sends emails to students to attend the career fairs, but if the students do not see the content or if they choose to ignore it, then it is unlikely for them to attend as well. Another stressor that comes with being an EDR employee at UCS is planning and managing successful career fairs. UCS holds about five career fairs each semester and each of them takes months of extensive planning. Planning for the career fairs include completing tasks such as designing flyers, recruiting employers, reserving ballrooms, promoting events, collecting money, and ordering caterers. These stressors can cause extreme anxiety amongst members of the EDR team, as the purpose of their job is to increase the number of students and employers at the career fairs, while still executing the event successfully. According to Zhang et al. (2014), employees that experience high levels of stress, responsibility, or time pressure are unable to function properly. This often results in increased errors, lack of personal growth and inability to attain goals; therefore, it is important that the employees at UCS learn how to cope with their stress and mitigate their work stressors.

One way that the UCS department can mitigate their organization’s stressors is by supporting their EDR employees by offering them various stress management strategies. Wallace et al. (2009) studied the relationship between work stressors and organizational support within various organizations to understand how it directly influenced employees. The results from their study support the theory that organizational support lessens the challenging stressors and anxiety that employees face (Wallace et al., 2009). Therefore, it is acceptable to increase challenges in the workplace, but only if organizations support their incumbents. The UCS department can provide support to their EDR employees in numerous ways. One way they can do this is by encouraging open communication amongst team members and stressing the importance of asking questions in times of uncertainty. These two strategies are extremely important within teams especially in times of stress, as members must be able to communicate with each other effectively to achieve their goals. Another, more fun way that the UCS can provide support to their employees to help minimize their stressors is by hosting mental health days at work. This can be done by playing soothing music throughout the office or setting time aside for group meditation. Mental health days in the office can also include allowing staff to wear comfortable clothing or even providing tea or coffee for employees. Allowing employees to feel comfortable within their workplace is essential to minimizing work stress and anxiety. The UCS department can also minimize stress among their employees by encouraging them to take breaks throughout their shift. By allowing employees to step away from their desk and have a few minutes to themselves during the day, they will not feel glued to their screen, which may help them have a better attitude about completing their tasks. Finally, the UCS department can support their employees by hosting company offsites. This involves gathering the employees together and going someplace fun to not only minimize stress, but to also allow for a great bonding experience. Some of the most common company offsites include going out to dinner, watching a movie, attending a sporting event, and grabbing a drink together.

References

Arnolds, C. A., & Boshoff, C. (2002). Compensation, esteem valence and job performance: an empirical assessment of Alderfer’s ERG theory.  International Journal of Human Resource Management13(4), 697–719. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585190210125868

Reinharth, L., & Wahba, M. A. (1975). Expectancy theory as a predictor of work motivation, effort expenditure, and job performance.  Academy of Management Journal18(3), 520-537. https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.uh.edu/10.2307/255682

Wallace, J. C., Edwards, B. D., Arnold, T., Frazier, M. L., & Finch, D. M. (2009). Work stressors, role-based performance, and the moderating influence of organizational support. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 254-262. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013090

Zhang, Y., Lepine, J. A., Buckman, B. R., & Wei, F. (2014) It’s not fair…or is it? The role of justice and leadership in explaining work stressor-job performance relationships. Academy of Management Journal. 57(3), 675-697. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2011.1110