In this chapter, a detailed review of literature is presented which relates to employee retention and motivation in a working environment. Since, the aim of the research is to penetrate the reason that lead to a high turnover in healthcare call centers, therefore the focus of the literature being reviewed in this chapter is to see how much employees are motivated to work and add value at these call centers. In order to do so, the researcher has included theories of motivation and related them to employee motivation in the work context. Similarly, a theoretical review of employee retention and strategies has also been covered in this chapter so as to understand how things work in theoretical connotations.
However, before going into the details of theoretical and conceptual frameworks for motivation and retention strategies, it is pertinent to understand what motivation and retention refer to in organizational context. For this purpose, the chapter begins with definitions of these concepts.
Motivation and retention
Motivation can be defined as a force that drives a person to achieve a goal. The drive is something that comes within a person through different means. External factors like appreciation and encouragement can be seen as a force of motivation (Kvalsund, 2003). These forces are highly effective as they come from external sources, from one’s boss, parent’s etcetera. Motivation is considered to be one of the most effective tools in order to retain employees. If an employee is encouraged and motivated to perform better then he or she will look to give in more effort and enjoy his work. The employer will be able to retain employees if he keeps his employee contented and motivated in his work (McClelland, 1987).
McClelland’s Need Theory of motivation talks about self-actualization and personal development as the two most important factors for employee’s retention. McClelland (1987) believes that self-satisfaction can only be achieved when a person can work to his or her full potential. When a person feels that he has found the right career path where he can excel and grow by giving his output he is automatically motivated to perform and achieve to his full potential. A person will only look to stick with a job when he takes pride in doing it and is happy with his performance at work. If a person is not contented with his designation or type of job then he will only look to earnestly work in that very organization and can never succeed. Retention is directly connected to success and achievement (Kvalsund, 2003).
Not all job titles provide this kind of benefit to employees and those who do not take pride in their work do not stick long in an organization. Retaining employees is possible only if the job that the employee is doing is favored by himself and the employee is given importance and appreciation at regular intervals to keep him motivated (Kvalsund, 2003). The employees must be encouraged in thinking that the job they do is constructive and their contribution means everything to the firm.
McClelland (1987) believes that a person looks more at his personal development in the future as a place to settle and work for good in comparison to receiving monetary benefits and material rewards. If a person sees that he does not have a long future in an organization regardless of whatever the reason is he then shifts from his work (McClelland, 1987). An employee expects his assessor to evaluate his performance without biasness so that he can have great future in the organization and stay in the same job position in the future (Kvalsund, 2003).
McClelland (1987) defined achievement needs of individuals as their willingness to progress, to be successful in meeting certain goals, and thereby, succeed in their professional careers. On the other hand, power needs were regarded by McClelland (1987) as those needs which motivate individuals to act in a manner so as to achieve a power status or to be able to exercise their authority over others. Lastly, McClelland (1987) defined affiliation needs as inherent wishes of employees to affiliate themselves with other individuals or organizations, which in return could develop a sense of belonging among them. In this way, McClelland (1987) has argued that the motivation level of employees is largely dependent on achievement needs, power needs and affiliation needs of individuals (McClelland, 1987).
There are several contemporary studies in the employee retention section, focusing on employee retention in the health care sector. Several studies have averred that employee retention in health care call centers is not dependent on tangible benefits and it is not dependent on monetary benefits which only address employees’ hygiene needs and not psychological or social needs which actually bring retention in employees.
A study by Budhwar & Dhar (2006) asserts that call center agents in the health care sector do not find attraction in performing their daily tasks (Budhwar & Dhar, 2006). They do not find their tasks objective, purposive, and interesting that could promote motivation. Similarly, a study by Sima (2006) highlights abusive work management at health care call centers (Cruceru & Sima, 2011). The call agents are mistreated who lose self-confidence, and hence their self-actualization and retention at the work place are undermined. According to Pierre & Tremblay (2011), majority of call centers do not offer sustaining career opportunities to employees. This is what discourages employees to retain or sustain their positions at the work place (Pierre & Tremblay, 2011).
From empirical studies, it can be assessed that employee retention in health care call centers is not possible without meeting employees’ psychological and social needs which are form of motivational and retention needs. The needs, which are important to consider for retaining employees, are self-actualization and employee personal development as described by McClelland’s theory of motivation (Pierre & Tremblay, 2011).
Uncovering the contemporary literature and empirical evidence, it is found that there is a high employee turnover in healthcare call centers. The health care call centers mostly offer a kind of job where employees do not stick for long. They work on a temporary basis and just to get a good running income they stick to the call center work positions. There are different factors of why employees show low retention in call centers. Likewise, poor hiring, lack of benefits, lack of leadership or lack of career opportunities, which all come out as causes of low employee retention.
It has been assessed in the literature that even after fulfillment of employees’ basic needs like monetary or financial needs, employees remain less motivated and are less likely to stay in a position. Actually, employees expect fulfillment of their personal motivational needs which actually bring employee retention at the workplace. Such motivational needs are mostly ignored at the health care call centers, which are entirely focusing on employees’ basic needs.
Furthermore, McClelland’s needs theory of motivation asserts that in order to retain employees in an organization motivational needs are to be addressed. The motivational needs as identified by the theory of McClelland are self-actualization and personal development, which if met and addressed effectively can result in higher employee retention in the work environment. These are psychological and social needs as identified, which are important from the employee’s retention point of view.
This study will prolong the concept of McClelland’s theory of motivation which relates employee retention to the fulfillment of the employees’ motivational needs (self-actualization and personal development). If health care call centers work on employee motivational needs, then they can get on successfully to retain employees. The theory keeps employee retention dependent on motivational needs, which further derives the following hypothesis for the study:
Constructed Hypothesis of the Study
The following hypothesis can be constructed on the basis of the above literature:
- H: Employee retention in the health care call center is significantly related to employee motivational needs including self-actualization and personal development.
The chapter has introduced McClelland’s theory of motivation which states that employee retention comes from the fulfillment of employee’s motivational needs in the working place. The chapter has entailed different contemporary studies that have been previously conducted in the health care sector describing factors affecting employee retention. The factors highlighted include lack of benefits, lack of leadership, and lack of career opportunities, which are considered as main causes of low employee retention.
Budhwar, P., & Dhar, R. (2006). HRM Systems of Indian Call Centres: an exploratory study. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(5), 881-897.
Cruceru, R., & Sima, M. (2011). Interventions in Human Resources Retention. Romanion Economic and Business Review, 5(3), 79-87.
Kvalsund, R. (2003). Growth As Self-Actualization: A Critical Approach to the Organismic Metaphor in Carl Rogers’ Counseling Theory. New York: Tapir Academic Press.
McClelland, D. C. (1987). Human Motivation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pierre, X., & Tremblay, D. (2011). Levels of Involvement and Retention of Agents in Call Centres. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 12(5), 53-71.