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Virgin Media Company: Scientific Management


Virgin Media enjoys one of the largest shares in the fibre optic network market. Currently, it has about 4.49 million broadband subscribers and the number is set to increase due to the impressive work that its engineers are doing in relation to digital technology. The progressive growth has largely been promoted by the company’s culture of motivation. Throughout the years, the company has applied Richard Branson’s theory that motivating employees gives way to satisfied clients, which in turn increases the firm’s revenues.

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The theory underpins the need to inform workers of the objectives of the company, help them believe in them, and inform the role that each of them should play to achieve the set objectives. The paradigm of Virgin Media is to establish a friendly environment for its customers. The discussion in this paper presents how Virgin Media comprehends the significance of motivated employees and how the company can influence the business’ productivity.

Motivation Defined

From a broad view, motivation can be defined as the stimulation that pushes somebody to act or behave in a particular manner. It inspires people to work towards achieving a particular objective. In the workplace, motivation can be referred to as an employee’s basic interest to accomplish objectives related to work. By recognising how employees can be motivated, a company ensures that its employees not only have the right skills, but they are also determined to accomplish the set mission and objectives.

Numerous behaviours can determine whether employees are motivated or not. Absenteeism, reporting to work late, poor relationship with clients, lack of participation in policymaking processes, and lack of time consciousness can be perfect examples of a de-motivated workforce. On the other hand, behaviours such as loyalty, assisting fellow staff members, active participation in the decision making process, and maintaining good rapport with clients can underscore a motivated workforce (Thomas 12).

Disparate issues motivate people in life or even in the workplace. It is paramount for organisations to appreciate the role of motivation in the workplace even as they strategise on how to maintain employee motivation. Virgin Media acknowledges that motivating employees not only benefits the business and clients, but also employees. With this knowledge, Virgin Media has strived to implement policies that seek to engage workers on areas of most importance. In line with this argument, the subsequent paragraphs will analyse some of the main theories that explain employee motivation.

Taylor’s Scientific Management

Management has been in existence for centuries with formal management developing in the 1700s. Nonetheless, the most notable development in management pioneered in the 20th Century. One of the key theorists during this era was Fredrick Winslow Taylor. He launched the scientific management movement that focused on studying work scientifically, how it is executed, and its results on productivity. His theory altered previous thoughts especially in relation to the management of manufacturing companies.

He orated that work should be divided into responsibilities by applying a scientific technique that would be most efficient. Taylor (46) highlights the need to increase cooperation between employees and the administration to increase productivity. For him, one of the key methods of motivating workers was through money, and thus he suggested remuneration on the grounds of piecework as a reward that would in turn raise productivity (The Times 100 Business Case Studies par.1).

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Critics argue that the Taylor’s theory fails to address the human element and character in an institution. Money is not the only motivating factor. Human beings are different, and thus employees are motivated by different factors other than money and Taylor failed to address these factors. Nonetheless, Virgin Media has employed the Taylor’s theory to a certain extent. The company rewards its employees with lucrative salaries and provides bonus schemes.

However, it does not limit its motivation strategies to monetary rewards, and thus it has expanded the strategies to include other forms of employee motivations techniques that can be highly acceptable by the staff. For instance, it offers healthcare benefits, saving schemes, and life assurance to safeguard the welfare of its workers. Moreover, Virgin Media ensures that its employees are progressive in their careers by offering several promotion opportunities for the industrious employees.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory

The comprehension of employee motivation enhanced as time progressed after Taylor released his theory. Frederick Herzberg developed one of the new comprehensions in the mid 1900s. Herzberg notes that employees require two main issues in a working station, viz. hygiene, and motivation.

Hygiene factors entail salary and working provisions (Thomas 96). These factors work in unity and an attempt to provide them separately only results in dissatisfaction. Motivation can be achieved in various ways such as appraisal, accountability in the organisation, and offering opportunities for employees to develop their careers (Thomas 45).

Virgin Media has applied the two-factor theory to achieve employee motivation in various ways. It has created apprenticeship programs where it trains individuals who have proved to be hard working and committed. The apprentices are then introduced into the business by being an opportunity to interact with customers.

This aspect provides a good platform to measure whether new recruits are qualified. For other employees, Virgin Media provides training programs to aid in advancing their skills and knowledge (The Times 100 Business Case Studies par.6). Moreover, the company also conducts an annual recognition program where the most outstanding apprentices are rewarded.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

One of the common questions that arise as people try to understand the concept of motivation is what prompts behaviour. Abraham Maslow asserts that people’s actions and behaviours are motivated with an intention to accomplish particular goals. He developed the hierarchy of needs to explain the major needs that people seek to achieve.

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At the base of Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid are physical needs such as food, clothes, and housing, which is an epitome of why people are motivated to act in a given way. This stage is then followed by another hierarchical level, which states that people are motivated to work because of their safety needs such as protection and solidity (The Times 100 Business Case Studies par.1).

At the third position are social needs that include issues such as group identity, trust, and approval. It is then followed by esteem requirements, which comprise status, accountability, character, as well as self-assurance. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualisation, which entails desiring to accomplish individual growth and achievement. As individuals advance in the pyramid, the wants become more complex and emotional (Lester 15). The desire to socialise becomes of significance.

Maslow insisted that needs, just like instincts, are important in motivating character and action. The theory has faced several critics with many disputing the argument that one need should be achieved before proceeding to the subsequent one. This shortcoming restrained the theory from being used by employers. Including employees to participate in the policy development especially on matters that concern them is a significant step towards creating a sense of identity and appreciation among employees.

Virgin Media recognises the latter and it has been practicing it through its yearly employee engagement survey. The employees’ opinions are used in the development of policies and principles that drive the company, which facilitates cooperation between the management and employees as they support the rules that are used to govern them. Latest statistics affirm the role of positive workers’ positive attitude with about 80% of workforce showing active engagement in the companies’ activities (Lester 16).

Virgin Media runs a program known as Your Story Framework, which conducts frequent meetings where issues pertaining to development and progress towards achieving the goals of the company are handled. It creates a platform for steady growth in salary in line with the performance of workers. The program works in line with the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs philosophy.

Apart from investing in the business, it takes care of the employees’ welfare, both present and future. Creating a friendly environment for workers is the perfect remedy for motivating employees to work towards increasing a business’ productivity. Notably, Virgin Media has participated actively in social development by spending some of its budget in charity work. Consequently, this aspect has helped in satisfying the employees’ self-actualisation need, which is at the zenith of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid.

Employee satisfaction affects customer satisfaction in several ways. Satisfied employees understand and tackle the aims and desires of a client. Such employees provide quality services because they handle all their tasks with satisfactory efforts and prudence. Furthermore, satisfied employees are endowed with the resources available to help them give customers the best services. Notably, since employees have the enthusiasm to work, they portray a good image of the services they offer.

On the other hand, a non-motivated workforce can result in low business output, increased rates of disputes in the organisation, as well as ignorance especially when an organisation needs to transform to meet the clients’ demands. Indeed, such workforce requires more supervision, lack of which may lead to increased accidents in the workplace. Virgin Media’s employees have been effective, which encourages them to be loyal in preserving the values of the company as well as offering the best services to clients. In other words, the employees are part of the company.

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Motivation highly influences the productivity of a business and it is at the epicentre of the relationship between employers and employees. Understanding the ways in which employees can be motivated is of great essence to any organisation. Motivation in the workplace can be partially achieved by including the employees’ ideas in the development of motivation programs.

The behaviour of employees can indicate the level of motivation in an organisation. It is important for employers to differentiate between negative and positive behaviours with respect to motivation. Moreover, an organisation should be in a position to employ theories related to motivation in the right way in a bid to propel employees to work harder. Virgin Media has succeeded in motivating its employees, which in turn has resulted in increased productivity.

Works Cited

Lester, David. “Measuring Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” Psychological Reports 113.1 (2013):15-17. Print.

Taylor, Fredrick. The Principles of Scientific Management, New York: Cosimo, Inc., 2006. Print.

The Times 100 Business Case Studies: Motivating and Engaging Employees for Better Business- A Virgin Media Case study 2013. Web.

Thomas, Kenneth. Intrinsic motivation at work: what really drives employee engagement, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2009. Print.

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