(July 7, 2015) -- It seems to be the questions managers are often pondering: How do you keep employees motivated? How do you keep them happy? How do you get them to work harder? UTSA’s Matthew McCarter has arrived at some of that insight. He’s just released a co-authored study in the Human Resource Management Journal that suggests that choice in health plans plays a big role in employee motivation and happiness.
Most people already have health insurance. But McCarter, an assistant professor in the College of Business’s Department of Management, discovered that when employees are able to choose from a concise list of health care providers, rather than having to grapple with an endless array of options, they are not only happier with their employer, but feel as if they’ve had some say in how their lives play out at work.
“Having choice over benefits gives employees the perception of procedural justice or fairness,” McCarter said. “The first thing we found is that you don’t have to have your employees design the entire plan. It’s not about design. It about being able to choose what happens.”
As a result, employees perceive the procedures as more fair, see their managers as more trustworthy and are motivated to work harder.
“The picking is what motivates them,” McCarter said. “It’s having choice at work rather than having choice of work that motivates people.”
McCarter admits there is something of an illusion of power in the process, in that ultimately the employee only perceives he or she has some kind of voice or say.
“Employee empowerment research rests often on this idea that employees need to have a say in how incentives are designed,” he said. “There’s some jobs where workers can’t have that much discretion, like surgeons. And there some organizations where it is impractical to give each employee full reign over how their job or benefits package is designed, like firms with thousands of employees. We wondered if giving employees choice is enough to keep them happy and motivated.”
McCarter said he hopes the study will help bridge the disconnect between what managers think works well and what their employees actually think and show them how to give control away strategically.
“You have to be sure to know what your employees like,” he said. “The options have to be favorable in the eyes of the employee, but you can motivate people through this idea of procedural justice.”
Learn more about the College of Business.
Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Chat with members of the Downtown Campus Initiative Task Force about changes taking place as the Downtown Campus grows and transforms to offer a comprehensive living and learning experience. Table topics will include curriculum changes, orientation updates, transportation, food and living options.
Frio Street Building Commons Area, Downtown Campus
UTSA and the San Antonio Express-News will jointly host this town hall meeting to discuss Unequal Justice in Bexar County and in Texas.
Buena Vista Street Building Theater (BVB 1.326), Downtown Campus
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Finance and Budget Modeling Task Force presents a panel presentation of experts from 4 universities with experience in incentive-based budgeting. All UTSA campus community is invited to attend and be informed about budgeting processes.
Business Building Richard Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
This event showcases the work of trainees, faculty, staff and students from multiple disciplines and public health agencies across San Antonio.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104), Main Campus
This exhibit highlights the UTSA Special Collections, which includes historic photographs from Texas, San Antonio and UTSA history.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Come learn about the benefits available before the enrollment period July 15-31.
Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
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