Motivating Employees Around the World


If you have different cultures in your organization and also if you are interacting or doing business around the world then you know the importance of understanding these differences and truly finding what motivates employees .   As we know, understanding what motivates employees and especially in different cultures is essential to success.



Individual recognition programs have not worked well because Japan has a collectivist culture and workers do not want to be conspicuous. Individual pay for performance is considered potentially disruptive to pleasant working relationships and is not used. Instead, year-end bonuses are given based on loyalty, years of service, and one's family situation. Team awards have been effective - some include salary increases and an allowance system as incentive for outstanding performance.     


The Korean government has a long tradition of prize and discipline incentive systems to enhance productivity. Few group incentives are used. Employees with service of over 20 years can receive a special award of 10 days' paid leave.    


Teaching is considered the most important thing a person can do. The manager's role is seen as that of a teacher and facilitator - someone who helps those around him/her learn. For instance, in Asian corporations, particularly in Japan, the manager is always present when a subordinate is being trained. This indicated that the manager believes the learning is important. In these cultures, it is important for an employee to be seen as a whole person - with needs beyond professional and technical ones. This is also true for Africa.    


Employees have a voice in management decisions, particularly those that relate to compensation, safety, and capital expenditures. Training begins when employees start new jobs. It is also important to incorporate new employees into the corporate culture.    


Management is based on the premise that the individual is willing and able to do a good job. A Swedish manager is generally thought of as a coach who motivates staff, leads employees through principles of cooperation and agreement, and is a good listener. Getting emotional when discussing a problem is considered inappropriate. All employees have the freedom to make decisions and solve unexpected problems without asking permission from superiors. Sweden has a high rate of employed women and a reputation for having a high ratio of family-friendly men who are seeking a better integration of work and family. Therefore, there is a broad acceptance of home-based telework.    


Employees with one year of service are automatically given 30 days' paid vacation.  


Companies are very concerned about the family and family values. When companies hire a person, it's as if they are hiring the entire family.    


Money is the most important factor in determining whether a Russian will take and keep a job - but it is not the only one. Russians want benefits such as pension plans, health care, regular performance reviews - and lunch. In Soviet times, most offices had a cafeteria, which offered a modest midday meal for a pittance.


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