Research Report

Management Researcher Finds Choice Motivates Employees

img_benefitsIt seems to be the questions managers are often pondering. How do you keep employees motivated? How do you keep them happy? Matthew McCarter, associate professor of management, 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 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’s about being able to choose what happens.”

img_marketing-rankAs 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. He hopes the study will help bridge the disconnect between what managers think works well and what their employees actually think.

What is the Value of Green Housing?

img_greenhousingDo energy efficient designations such as Energy Star homes and features such as double-pane windows and low-flow toilets increase the value of a home?

According to Thomas Thomson, the Quincy Lee Distinguished Professor in Real Estate and Finance, and Anjelita Cadena, Ph.D. ’13, assistant professor at the University of North Texas, they do.

The researchers studied 66,000 home sales over a five-year period in San Antonio to evaluate the extent green components add a premium to a house’s selling price. They found that green designations increased selling prices by 1 percent; green features such as drought tolerant plants and irrigation systems increased selling prices by 2 percent; and energy efficient features such as Energy Star appliances, windows and HVAC systems raised selling prices by 6 percent.

“We are continuing data collection on this project and have two more recent years of data,” said Thomson, whose work appeared in the Appraisal Journal. “We’ll be looking to see if there is an increasing value to green over time, whether green houses sell faster and if the number of green features increases value.”