In terms of personal motivation, employees ask these questions: Do I achieve? Am I contributing? Am I given increased responsibility? Am I advancing and growing? Is what I do meaningful and significant? Is it interesting? Is my ability recognized? These feelings are the motivators – the variables that managers can use to motivate people.
Professor Frederick Hertzberg has promoted a theory of motivation that goes a long way forward from the original theory of the “carrot and stick” motivation idea, or indeed its extension, the “Reward Theory,” which is still used by many managers and companies to try to exhort greater efforts from their sales staff.
The new idea stems from two statements: “What makes people happy and motivated at work is what they do” and, “What makes people unhappy and demotivated at work is the situation in which they do it.”
Managers are going to have to become familiar with three new letters that are going to become increasingly important in the management of people in the future: QWL, which stands for the “Quality of Work Life.”
Managers who want to motivate their staff are going to have to improve their own QWL, as well as their staff’s.
Know Your Sales Staff
This starts by defining people as they are, not as we want them to be.
Many workers, whom we have assumed to have certain characteristics, are now saying, “We are not like that. Treat me the way I am – not the way you believe me to be.”
So the big revolution managers are going to have to face is that of identifying the needs of the people – not their own projected needs.
The first set of needs defined by Hertzberg is called Hygiene Needs, and they deal with a person’s relationship with the environment. They consist of how people are treated at work.
Consider these questions in relation to your employees: Do you pay them well? Do they enjoy good working conditions? Are there good human relations – is the nature and quality of their supervision positive? What are the nature of the company’s policies and administration?
These are called Hygiene Factors because, if the factors are right, they prevent people from being dissatisfied in their working environment, so they keep people from being unhappy – this is their function – but they do not motivate.
In terms of personal motivation, employees ask themselves these questions, “Do I achieve? Am I contributing? Am I given increased responsibility? Am I advancing and growing? Is what I do meaningful and significant? Is it interesting? Is my ability recognized?”
These feelings are the Motivators – they are the variables that managers can use to motivate people – because people who really want to do something, make it happen- that’s motivation.
Referring back to the ‘carrot and stick’ idea of motivation, Hertzberg suggests that anyone can be made to do anything, so long as they are threatened or bribed enough, but do they want to do it? The answer is ‘no’.
In other words, people can be “forced” to do something, but continued force is needed to achieve continued results.
There’s a positive way to do this – offering people a reward, bonus or an incentive. And, there’s a negative way to do this – threatening them.
Either way, ultimately, unless they want to do a good job because they want to, they are not motivated.
The Ideal Job
So, what motivating factors should a job contain?
- A range of responsibilities and activities to keep a person interested
- Areas of growth – since all jobs should be learning experiences
- Direct feedback – since how a person is doing should not be dependent upon someone else telling them (they should be able to see for themselves)
- The responsibility for checking your own quality – because that responsibility cannot be delegated to a control system
- Direct communication between employees and the people they need to communicate with – not via supervisors or managers
Herzberg suggests that productivity will improve when management is prepared to say “It is our fault. We didn’t know how to manage people well – we just knew how to hurt them well. We didn’t respect them enough or challenge them enough or give them enough satisfaction.”
When managers are prepared to admit this and change their ways, then a new understanding will come.