Many organisations, leaders and decision makers are bent on talking the talk but are not as effective in walking the walk. It is important to note that motivating your people in light of a crisis, in light of failing conditions, in light of conflict and challenges, is paramount to achieving organisational efficiency.

There are three (3) clearly defined variables in the Vroom Expectancy Theory which account for employee motivation. These variables are:

· Expectancy

· Instrumentality

· Valence

The leadership within the organisations, be it Public or Private Sector must hone in to the skills based performance and output of the employees, providing the right resources, in many cases these resources also dovetail on proper training and development, which should be an investment factor for all organisations and exercising the support factor. Leadership across all spectrums must strive to offer and provide that core element of “support.” Employees and staff members want to be comforted, assured and secured, by proven track records that their leadership and “bosses” at all levels are going to support them. This aspect of Transformational Leadership exemplifies the foundation of promoting People Centred Leadership.

Instrumentality can be defined as the faith which an employee puts in while undertaking any task, that this task or outcome will lead to their desired rewards. This reward can be anything, from job satisfaction, to a salary hike, promotion or any other materialistic reward.

As we look at Instrumentality, clearly one recognises that it relates to the incentives related to the job. Incentives are the added benefits on top of the salary which an employee gets after completing the tasks related to the job. If the employee performs well, then the incentives they get are also greater, hence their instrumentality in the job increases. The leadership must ensure that this monitoring and measurement approach is exercised with transparency and honesty across the spectrum. Once an organisation seriously implements a Project Governance approach in its business strategy, this aspect of the Vroom Expectancy Theory becomes easy to achieve and is anchored into the organisational culture.

According to the Vroom’s expectancy theory, Valence is defined as the value or importance an individual puts into the outcome of a task. It goes further to present the underpinning that this perceived value must also be shared by the Leadership and the decision makers. There must be a synergy and combined effort of task, led by the leaders and shared by all. What we have seen in the recent past, is a separation of “values.” The leadership has falsely believed that because of the perched echelons, they should not be on a parallel value system with their employees. This type of approach breathes conflict and nibbles at the integrity of the organisation.

Employees will tend to be more motivated when there is jointness in sharing the value of tasks and outcomes. The mantra resurfaces, “It is not what you do…but how you do it.”

Apart from being an important tool for increasing employee performance and motivation, Vroom’s expectancy theory can also be used by our leaders, especially in times of this pandemic, to analyse the employee behaviours and get necessary insights about the possible reasons behind their actions and performances.

Although being in a position of power a leader doesn’t necessarily have to go through the process of understanding the employee behaviours and simply get them to complete certain tasks. It must not just stop there. The focus is not to just understand the employee in order to get them to perform, this can have negative impacts on the individual performance as this can hinder their motivation and satisfaction levels in the long run.

What needs to be the approach is to enhance the morale of your employees through various techniques based on the findings from the Vroom expectancy theory. This results in building mutual trust and loyalty towards the organisation. The survival of an organisation depends predominantly on the survival of its employees. We as Leaders must be contributing to the all-round survival, comfort, security and stability of our employees and staff. This pushes the Leadership to expand on the elasticity of being people centred….consistently.

Adoption of the Vroom Expectancy Theory is a start in the right direction.