Staff Motivation: The Journey Towards Employee Fulfillment

Sometimes when managers think of how to best motivate our staff, we solely focus on money or pure (tangible) opportunity and not the fruits of development. Herein lies the manager dilemma, get what you want or what you need? Are these statements not the same you ask?  Well, in a word, no.  The needs of the department are transient across multiple productive elements, or people, whereby the needs of individuals are self-realization and fulfillment. The trick is to motivate the staff toward their ideal, not your requirement or deficiency.

Photo of M&Ms

Candy as a symbol of the varied character of a workforce.

So just how does one do this you ask? In a word, candy – specifically M&M Peanut candies or, more likely the following:

  1. Remember everyone is motivated AND you cannot motivate another person, period.
  2. Supportive environments, processes and procedures do not have to be expensive.
  3. Encourage and praise your staff.
  4. Treat staff with trust, respect and listen to their needs.
  5. Set, display and practice a clear direction.

So the larger question often asked is how do I motivate my staff? The short answer is you don’t, they are self-motivated.

How is this most easily accomplished you might ask? By creating an environment conducive to motivating staff.  Start by noting some warning signs of an employee in need of attention: Coming in late or often calling in sick; taking long breaks; declining productivity; or withdrawing from others.

Clip art of a magnifying glassFocus on tips for a happy employee by providing a clear career path; recognizing the importance of work/life balance; offering appreciation and recognition; and by listening and giving constructive criticism.

Just how does this fit with Barbara’s presentation where extrinsic motivators were compared to intrinsic motivators? Well, these are the intrinsic values. It is generally believed that intrinsic motivation will produce more motivated, satisfied and responsible staff.

Intrinsic motivators are more enduring than Extrinsic motivators

As Barb stated, remember to celebrate the progress of your staff to help motivate them toward the fulfillment of their goals.

Frederick Herzberg suggested that the KITA (kick in the ass) approach will not self-motivate, but may get the desired response without self-realization nor motivating behaviors. He further suggests that most of the motivation techniques used by managers and businesses are flawed. Reduced work periods, increased wages, enhanced fringe benefits, human relations training, sensitivity training, communication, listening and then communicating, job participation and employee counseling all are expensive endeavors with little or no payoff when it comes to motivating staff to perform for self fulfillment.

He believes that motivating factors intrinsic to the job are: the recognition of achievement, the work being performed, responsibility and opportunities for advancement.

He outlined a 10-step approach for Job Enrichment that will help in motiving employees.

  1. Select jobs where one of the following conditions occurs: industrial engineering will not be overly expensive, attitudes are low, the hygiene is becoming cost prohibitive, and where the motivation will change performance.
  2. Allowance that these changes will change job content.
  3. Brainstorm without deference to cost or practicality.
  4. Screen that result and eliminate those that are hygiene factors.
  5. Further screen and remove open-ended generalities that cannot be measured and therefore cannot produce enrichment.
  6. Screen again and eliminate horizontal loading.
  7. Avoid the use of employees whose jobs are to be enriched.
  8. Develop criteria for a control group.
  9. Prepare for a drop in performance during initial period or phase.
  10. Prepare for anxiety expressed by front line managers.

Most importantly, he goes on to state that this process is a continuous management function and needs to be repeated so that staff motivation can continue toward self-reliance.

Sources: Frederick Herzberg, One More Time, Harvard Business Review, January 2003.

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One Comment

  1. Julia Leon
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a great article Mike!

    I’m curious what is meant by “hygiene” in the 10-step approach? What does “hygiene” mean to a manager?

    thanks,
    Julia

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