Building on the previous blog which looked at Maslow’s study in determining why people go to work. In this article, I’m going to reflect on what makes people work hard willingly and well. In my experience it isn’t money!
In the 1960’s Frederick Hertzberg undertook a study into workplace motivation, and his findings were published under the title ‘One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees?’ which still hold true today.
Hertzberg identified the following “True Motivators”
3) The work itself
6) Personal Growth
In the previous article, we discussed the door to motivation being “locked from the inside”, and that the best managers can have the keys to unlock motivation in others. As managers and leaders we need to be aware of these keys so that we can empower our colleagues to work hard willingly and well. In practice, what sort of things can we do in addition to communicating effectively with our colleagues?
A successful manager will ensure staff have the resources and skills necessary to meet or exceed their objectives. It is offering support and monitoring progress towards set goals. A good manager will remove roadblocks, resourcing issues and other trivia to allow their team member to achieve.
The manager recognises the staff member’s hard work, and acknowledges this privately or sometimes publicly. Teams should be encouraged to celebrate the successful work undertaken by one of their members. This positive environment allows individuals to feel pride and confidence in their work, and will motivate them to continue producing similar results. Manager need to factor time into their diaries to actively do this. Telling someone “that’s what you’re paid for…” is a massive wasted opportunity.
3) The Work Itself
Many of us just love doing the job. We receive enormous satisfaction from a job done well, (see link below to Dan Pink). There are plenty of people that feel this way about their role, despite the fact that managers may try to interfere in the work process, by controlling or stifling staff efforts. What might happen if managers positively challenged people to really excel? To really do the best they could?
A manager’s role to let staff get on with their tasks in a supported and resourced way. Why do some managers keep hold of particular tasks that should or could be delegated to others? Fear? The thought that they might be seen as lazy? Concern the other person might do a better job? Get the keys to motivation out! Delegate appropriate work formally with a clear explanation as to why, and ensure it’s not seen as dumping! If transferred correctly, this level of responsibility could be motivating.
In the previous blog we examined the idea that status and being seen as an expert were important reasons why some people went to work. Herzberg highlighted the possibility of advancement as a key motivating factor. For many people the challenge of progressing in a team or company, with the chance of promotion, not matter how slim or distant, encourages them to work harder and to engage more fully with tasks. Managers should make staff aware of these possibilities and how individuals can attain them.
6) Personal Growth
It is hugely motivating to be able to do something one week that seemed impossible the week before. Personally, having learnt to plaster a piece of wall a couple of weeks ago, together with having the recognition of this achievement from others inspired me to continue developing my DIY skills. I also felt personal pride in my work. Managers need to recognise individual’s areas of personal or professional development, and offer their praise.
Hertzberg’s True Motivators are as important today as they were in 1968. The best managers and leaders know this and keep the keys close to hand. Everyone’s motivation to engage in work related tasks is slightly different, but an excellent leader can influence by using the six top True Motivators.
Dan Pink develops this further at the link below. My next blog will be about what dissatisfies us most at work and how the good manager can influence them.