A recent survey in a manufacturing company indicated that low productivity in the company resulted from poor performance on the part of employees. Upon further scrutiny, it was found that the problem was due to a number of reasons that included issuing promotions based on favoritism and seniority, lack of set performance expectations, lacking feedback on the output of employees and failure to recognize and reward employees who achieve their goals. As a result, employees did not put in much effort to ensure maximum productivity for the company, there were increased cases of tardiness and absenteeism, rework and poor quality of output, inappropriate and unnecessary socializing during working hours and a general lack of interest in the job.

Based on the theory of expectancy, employees lack a clear set of expectations from the management and a proper reward system that motivates them to do their best. The management has not been able to inform employees on the quantity of output expected within a specified period of time; they have no set objectives and goals and so work according to their convenience. There are no defined shift hours and as such some employees get overworked without recognition. Employees also lack information concerning the rewards resulting from elevated performance. The basic principle is that every behavior is directed by its expected consequence and a large element of feedback entails recognition and reward. Supervisors do not involve themselves in discussing output levels and quality with the employees and wait until the work has been done poorly to complain. The employees thus lack motivation as all they get about their work are the negative complaints and hardly ever any praise when things are done right.

In solving the problem, the company should set up a system acknowledging employee success. Rewards are by and large reckoned to advance productivity by about 20% to 30% but every reward or incentive must be customized to suit specific conditions. Reward and recognition also act as catalysts for better productivity and improved performance and for a reward system to be successful, it should be based on the following criteria: be significant and quick, well-matched to job measurement, be attainable, known, and understandable, be irrevocable, and directly and distinctly linked to performance. Therefore the company should incorporate reward systems encompassing job evaluation by assigning ratings to various factors on an agreed scale to form the base level for wage structure. All employees perform at different levels and should be rewarded according to their input. Favoritism by supervisors and the management makes employees feel less important and unappreciated and should also be avoided to encourage every worker. The management hardly ever notices employees who are always on time and go an extra mile to achieve outstanding results. They take this as the norm and hence employees feel unacknowledged. Merit rating should also be used as a performance indicator. Every employee should be rated in general as good, excellent, poor or average with respect to their performance. A system of commissions, bonuses, salary increments and promotions should be put in place to inspire employees to consistently give their very best. The management should also communicate to employees on what should be done and the level at which it should be done, giving clarity of what management expects in terms of performance. Setting clear and concise expectations should also involve notifying employees when expectations are missed, met or exceeded. Proper shift hours should be implemented as well to ensure all employees are working within similar conditions hence appraised and rewarded on the basis of a known and defined criteria.