Home Economics Business Studies Search the Guru Links Message Boards Contacts

The importance of motivation for J D Wetherspoon


There is a big difference between motivating someone into wanting to do something and merely getting them to do it. The motivational theorist Frederick Herzberg noted that he could get even his dog to move by shouting at it or kicking it. He did not regard this as successful motivation.
Successful motivation is based on appealing to an individual’s intrinsic drives rather than using external threats and rewards. Herzberg argued that to motivate an individual involves identifying and using a range of ‘satisfiers’. These are factors that will motivate someone to want to do a job successfully eg by meeting their need for more responsibility, higher status, greater job satisfaction or enhanced self-esteem.
Herzberg’s ideas on motivation are similar to those of Abraham Maslow. Maslow identified a hierarchy of needs at eight levels. The first four are essential needs. The other four are life-enriching.
Physiological needs are those of food, shelter and clothing. Safety needs are met by providing a non-threatening working environment free from danger and intimidation. Belongingness (a sense of belonging) can be created through good team-working. Esteem is fostered by giving a person a valued job role or position. Wetherspoon recognises all of these employee needs and sets out to meet them.
The other four needs are also important. Cognitive needs include the need for intellectual stimulation – being expected to think and to make decisions, for example. Aesthetic needs relate to how humans respond to beauty in its many forms; workplaces can be aesthetically appealing or unappealing. Self-actualisation is concerned with personal fulfilment; and self-transcendence relates to the joy that comes from exceeding personal expectations.
Maslow suggested that only 1% of the population ever self-actualise ie 99% never overcome the obstacles to achieving complete personal fulfilment.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides managers with useful insights into how best to manage people. Managers look to find out not only where individuals feel themselves to be in relation to the hierarchy but also the level that they really want to reach and hold on to. Wetherspoon seeks to provide individual employees with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to climb the hierarchy ladder permanently.
The company believes in creating a highly committed and motivated workforce made up of people who achieve personal fulfilment through the freedom to act given to them in their daily work. The company sees its workforce as a prime organisational asset that is motivated through a positive organisational culture, pay and benefits, as well as training and development.
J D Wetherspoon recognises that many of its employees will not stay with it for all their working lives, but it wants its employees to develop a sense of loyalty. It pays a rate above that of its competitors, in the belief that employees are more likely to be motivated when they know they are being paid more than the minimum required. The company also bases its pay on reviews of performance, so that the higher pay reflects its positive view of the worth of its employees.
The company does well at keeping its employees. It feels that its good rates of pay and proper treatment of its workforce are major contributors to this success, which reduces ongoing training costs and also creates a body of committed people.
The company has a bonus scheme. All staff receive a bonus, dependant on the performance of the pub where they work. The company also runs a number of incentive schemes eg a monthly draw for examples of excellent customer care, with a paid holiday for two in New York for the winner.
The company also operates a share option scheme enabling employees to buy shares at a guaranteed price. By holding shares in the company, employees are likely to feel a greater sense of belonging and will want to see the company do well.
Wetherspoon’s training and development programme is a combination of ‘on the job’ and ‘off the job’ training courses. Wetherspoon’s training focuses on career progression and links training to national qualifications.
The company is justifiably proud of its record, in that:
  • 54% of pub management began as hourly paid Associates
  • 40% of area managers were once pub managers
  • 50% of Wetherspoon’s board were area managers.
The company encourages all employees to feel that if they show the right qualities then they will receive the support they need to advance their careers within the organisation. Wetherspoon understands the importance of enabling employees to gain relevant qualifications recognised at a national level. In particular, training is closely linked to qualifications offered by the British Institute of Innkeeping, including areas such as licensing law, food hygiene and health and safety.




E-mail Steve Margetts