Author: Udeobasi Obianuju Chinyelu
Department: Sociology/Anthropology
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Organizations in the world over rely on reward systems as a means of motivating employees. The different levels of employee performance can be attributed to different reward systems. It is therefore imperative to seek to understand what types of reward systems motivate different employees. However, there exists a lack of understanding on how to motivate employees, making most of the reward systems not having a direct bearing on employee performance. To create an optimal reward system, we need a better understanding of what really motivates and what does not because motivating employees is the cornerstone of any successful organization. This study sets out to address the important role of reward systems in improving employee performance in the private sector. The study investigates two private sector organizations namely JUHEL Pharmaceuticals a small medium enterprise and First Bank Limited a multinational company. The primary focus is on how to motivate employees via a network of rewards in order to improve employee performance. A cross sectional survey research design was adopted for the study. A total of 485 respondents were randomly drawn from the organizations of study. A structured questionnaire was used to obtain quantitative data while key informant interview guide was used to elicit qualitative data from interviewees. Quantitative data was analyzed using the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) software while qualitative data was analysed using manual content analysis. Results were presented and the stated hypotheses were tested using frequency tables, percentages, bar charts, chi- square (X²) statistics and multiple regression. Findings show that rewards do have a very strong motivational potential to influence employees willingness to work harder especially extrinsic reward more precisely pay since it appears to motivate the Nigerian worker better. However the major area of difference between the two organizations is, while First Bank Nigeria makes use of written reward program with rules and guide lines on how employees can achieve their goals and that of the organization, in JUHEL Nigeria Limited there is absence of written document on how to implement rewards. This consequently affects the total commitment to work and ultimately, performance. It was recommended that employers should pay salaries and wages that are industry competitive, improve on job security, recognize employees’ achievements, educate, train and develop employees’ skills, adopt the use of written reward program with rules and guide lines on how employees can achieve their goals and implement the reward package that will balance between extrinsic and intrinsic needs of the employees.

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