The workplace is a distinct environment characterized by policies and culture that promote effective work ethics and standards. Employees must follow the rules and regulations established by management to guide their workflow, and any violations can result in disciplinary action; which in extreme cases can lead to termination. However, a workplace that is only defined by rules and regulations, breeds a dysfunctional unit of robotic human resources who eventually quit due to pressure; resulting to a high turnover rate and the associated costs. To counter this eventuality, the goal for a modern human resource manager should be to groom and nurture their teams to be more productive, innovative and creative problem-solvers in their business context.
Applying Herzberg’s Theory in the Workplace today
Many motivation theories have been discussed and adopted in the business environment over the years in order to psychologically understand employees and inspire them to work optimally. With appropriate employee motivation in place, organizations are able to achieve the following results:
- Teams and departments become more efficient at meeting their goals
- Increased productivity with higher levels of quality output
- Higher employee retention levels, which saves organizations money
- Employees become more efficient at their jobs and happier overall
According to the Herzberg two-factor theory of motivation, some job factors result in satisfaction, while others prevent dissatisfaction within a work environment. HR managers must clearly understand the job factors in order to improve their employees’ morale and energy.
These job factors were divided into two categories by Herzberg:
These are the job characteristics that are required for workplace motivation to exist. These factors alone do not lead to long-term positive satisfaction, but if they are absent or non-existent in the workplace, they lead to dissatisfaction. Because they are required to avoid dissatisfaction, hygiene factors are also known as maintenance factors. These elements define the work environment and scenario. They include:
Pay and other financial rewards – Salary levels should be appropriate and reasonable. It must be on par with and competitive with those in the same industry and domain. This could also include performance-based bonuses, pay raises, and stock options.
Company Policies and administrative policies – Company policies and administration include factors such as the clarity or ambiguity of company organization and management policies and guidelines. Company policies should not be overly restrictive. They must be equitable and appropriate for the employees.
Fringe benefits – Employees should be provided with health care plans, benefits for their family members, employee assistance programs, and so on.
Physical Working conditions – Working conditions include the physical surroundings of the job and whether they are good or bad. Workload, space, ventilation, tools, temperature, and safety are all factors that can contribute to a good or bad workspace. Working conditions should be safe, clean, and sanitary. Work equipment should be kept up to date and well-maintained.
Interpersonal relations – Personal and working relationships between an employee and his supervisors, subordinates, and peers are examples of interpersonal relationships. There should be no elements of intentional conflict or humiliation among team members.
Herzberg argues that motivation factors are necessary to improve job satisfaction. These motivators, according to Herzberg, are intrinsic to the job and lead to job satisfaction because they satisfy needs for growth and self-actualization.
Motivational factors include:
Recognition – Employees receive recognition when they receive praise or rewards for achieving job objectives or producing high-quality work. Negative recognition entails criticizing or blaming someone for poor job performance. Managers should congratulate and recognize their employees for their accomplishments.
Sense of achievement – Positive achievement can include things like completing a difficult task on time, solving a job-related problem, or seeing positive results from one’s work. Negative achievement includes failing to advance at work or making poor job-related decisions. Employees must feel a sense of accomplishment based on their job deliverables.
Growth and promotional opportunities – They are opportunities for personal development and advancement in the workplace. Personal development can lead to professional development, increased opportunities to learn new skills and techniques, and the acquisition of professional knowledge. In order to motivate employees to perform well, an organization must provide opportunities for growth and advancement.
Responsibility – Giving people the responsibility and authority to make decisions gives them a sense of accomplishment. A mismatch between responsibilities and levels of authority, on the other hand, has a negative impact on job satisfaction. Employees must acknowledge responsibility for their work. Managers should empower them by giving them responsibility for their work and the opportunity to lead projects.
Meaningful fulfilling work – The work itself should be meaningful, interesting, and challenging in order for the employee to be motivated and perform well. Employees can be influenced positively or negatively by the content of their job tasks. The job’s difficulty and level of engagement can have a significant impact on workplace satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
In summary, a motivated, engaged, and responsive workforce is far more productive than an unmotivated, apathetic group of employees. Employees who are engaged are more likely to work harder for the company’s success because they can see firsthand how their contributions add value to its success. Employees who are positively engaged with the business have a significant impact on the company’s growth and success, as opposed to disengaged individuals who have negative attitudes that can easily spread to the rest of the team members, affecting the overall business performance. Employees, like company directors, need to feel like they are a part of the organization for which they work; they need to feel cared for and that their opinions matter in terms of the company’s strategy.
Author: Victor Otieno