Do you understand the true motivators?

“Good ‘hygiene factors’ never result in motivation – they only result in less demotivation. True motivation only comes from the job itself.”
Issue date: 25 April 2008

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Before you read this to THE END,I want you to do an exercise. Think about the times when you’ve been fed-up with your job and felt like packing up and going somewhere else. In other words, when you’ve been deeply demotivated. Identify those periods and try to pinpoint what it was that made you feel this way.

Now, before you read any further, stop and briefly write down the circumstances which triggered these emotions. Now do just the opposite. Identify those times in your work environment when you felt on top of the world, were bursting with positive energy and full of motivation. As you did before, please write down what it was that happened that made you feel so great. Done?

Okay, now let’s have a critical look at the two lists and analyse the substance, the fundamental causes that led to these very different situations in your outlook on life and your job. I’ve done this exercise with managers many times before and almost without exception, always find incidents, which create the feel-great periods, arise from situations which are part of the job itself.

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These are factors such as outstanding achievement, positive recognition by the boss or others, challenging and interesting work, being given increased responsibility or situations where there have been opportunities for personal growth and development. Conversely, all the feel-bad or demotivating situations arise from elements surrounding the job. These are factors such as unfair company policy, poor supervision, non-competitive salaries, bad working conditions, poor interpersonal relations, unrecognised status and lack of job security.

Many years ago, Frederick Herzberg gained a unique insight into the causes of human motivation and demotivation. He recognised those elements that made you leap out of your bed each morning in anticipation of the days’ work and called them the “true motivators”. called the elements which had you dreading another day at work and which gave rise to these feel-bad situations as the “hygiene factors”.

He recognised that “hygiene factors” have no power to motivate. They only have the capacity to dissatisfy and demotivate. Good “hygiene factors” never result in motivation – they only result in less demotivation. Ever had the experience of awarding wage increases to your staff, expecting thanks and appreciation and an increased level of motivation, only to find they are angry and upset as they’d expected more? This is a great example of a poor hygiene factor at work.

True motivation only comes from the job itself. The level of empowerment and responsibility in the job, the challenge, the recognition given for a job well done and the potential to grow and learn on the job. These are the things which get you going the extra mile and it should come as no surprise that like you, most other people react in precisely the same way. The simple secret to motivating your staff is to clean up the “hygiene factors” and put the “true motivators” to work. Still not sure what these are? Go back to the two lists you made at the start of the article and take the cues – it’s really not that difficult.
Contact Peter Hughes at (013) 745 7303 or e-mail [email protected] |fw