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Don’t Demotivate Your Staff!

When it comes to motivating your staff, there are tons of theories as to which methods work best.

Out of the ones I have studied, one of my favorite theories of motivation is Herzberg’s Two Factor Theorem.

What makes this theory so intriguing to me is its lack of rigidity. Some theories has strict structures as to how individuals are motivated.

This theory, on the other hand, simply assumes that there are certain factors that you can put into place that can motivate your staff, and others that can demotivate your staff.

Allow me to share this theory with you. Understanding it will reveal that this motivational musing is actually quite useful and interesting.

“Hygienal Factors”

With Herzberg’s theory, there are two different factors that influence motivation. The first are factors that can demotivate employees if they are not present. These factors are called “Hygienal Factors”.

NOTE: ensuring that these factors are met will NOT motivate your staff, but it will ensure that they are not demotivated.

Hygiene factors are generally more tangible and easier to perceive. Some of these include:

  • Pay and benefits
  • A clean and safe workplace
  • Status or title

What this implies is that if your employees are under-compensated, working in a poor or dangerous work environment or feel their title or status is lower than their perceived importance, they will be demotivated.

If you don’t satisfy these types of conditions, it will hamper or downright prevent any other motivational efforts you might employ.

“Motivating Factors”

These are the factors that actually motivate your employees. While satisfying all of the hygiene factors will make your workers content, providing motivating factors will empower your staff and help them to want to work hard for you.

Motivating factors are typically less tangible and more emotional or responsibility-based. You’ll notice that many of these are listed in my article: 10 Great Ways to Motivate Your Staff:

  • Autonomy and empowerment
  • Feeling of importance, recognition
  • Feeling of responsibility and accountability

Here, if your employees feel important, responsible for something and given the flexibility to do their job, their way, they will feel motivated to work harder for you.

How is this useful when motivating employees?

So how exactly do you apply this? Firstly, you should ensure that there aren’t any policies or factors present in your business that may demotivate your staff.

For example, if your employees are paid less than the going rate for their position, chances are they will not feel obligated to work hard for you, no matter how much responsibility and flexibility you give them.

In other words, ensure your employees are well compensated for the work they do and that they work in a good work environment with a positive and energizing culture. As long as these types of conditions are met, your employees shouldn’t harbor any negative feelings towards you.

But you want them to do more than that, right? Now you have to provide an environment where they feel motivated and have a desire to produce. Provide them with autonomy, responsibility and anything that makes your employees feel that they are a part of something important to them. Here, you want your employees to LOVE their job, not just feel neutral about it.

Basically you want to ensure your staff is treated as valuable and important assets to your business and that they aren’t shortchanged or under-appreciated in any way.

Any thoughts on Herzberg’s theory? Does it seem useful or applicable?

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