Enhancing the Employee Experience: The Herzberg Theory (Part One)

employee compensation and retention

The best businesses in Toronto have their staff management down to a science: good salaries, exciting work events, and thriving company cultures.

What do all of those things have in common? Keep reading to find out!

Herzberg’s Theory

In the realm of HR, a management theory often referenced is Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory of “hygiene vs motivation.” Think of this as a hierarchy of needs within the business world. Hygiene guards against job dissatisfaction and motivators contribute to employee satisfaction. Essentially, good HR hygiene supersedes any motivational factors added in. Proper hygiene must be present for motivational factors to make a positive impact.

For example, a top-earning law firm offering minimum wage employees a pizza party once in a blue moon as a boost of motivation is more likely to foster resentment and annoyance rather than satisfaction and motivation. Were those workers fairly compensated, and there was an additional pizza party to show appreciation? Now we’re in business! It’s all about boosting morale from a steady, already existing baseline.

Hygiene Factors

  • Relationships with Peers: Let’s be honest: the best part of coming to work every day is seeing your favourite coworker. Having a community of peers who are supportive, kind and pleasant to be around makes a world of difference. Resentment fosters like mould in a workplace of employees who are overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated. Frankly, those employees are more likely to be talking poorly about management to boost their morale, as that’s the only action within their power.
  • Company Policies/Rules: There is safety behind the rules and procedures set in place. It gives employees a sense of security and the ability to double-check what constitutes intolerable behaviour.
  • Working Conditions: This involves the office and the culture within. After working remotely, many people’s preferences have changed. Commuting to the office must be “worth it,” meaning it should be a clean, well-ventilated, welcoming space. An optimal office also includes comfortable chairs, lunch breaks, coffee in the break area, etc.
  • Salary/Base Wage: Workers should be making enough money to fulfill all of their life’s needs, as well as be able to save their money. Living paycheck to paycheck can be a slippery slope into misery and dissatisfaction at work.
  • Quality of Supervisor: There’s the classic saying that people don’t quit jobs–they quit managers. It’s absolutely true; the quality of management can be a make-or-break situation.
  • In part two, we provide an in-depth explanation of good leadership practices for a fulfilling work environment.

Motivation Factors

  • Achievement: As leaders, a simple yet effective tool to increase productivity is setting achievable, sometimes challenging, goals. There is genuine satisfaction when you check something off a list.
  • Recognition: Receiving praise, especially publicly, does wonders for an employee’s morale. It feels good to be seen, appreciated and valued. While phrases like “you did a great job” are good, the specificity is where the value lies. Compliments involving specific details show employees that their leaders see their work and appreciate the small details.
  • The Work Itself: For most adults, one-third of your life is spent at work. For the sake of mental health, it’s crucial to genuinely enjoy your career. When there is no joy at work, that exhaustion may seep into the rest of your life. People that enjoy what they do, and find fulfillment in their careers, are more likely to live happier, more satisfactory lives.
  • Growth Opportunities: No one wants to be stagnant in their job. Learning should be constant rather than achieving perfection and getting stuck with a monotonous routine. Workers can become easily disengaged from their duties when there is no challenge or learning curve to overcome.

Bottom Line

In summary, job satisfaction is influenced by motivator factors. Improving these motivator factors increase job satisfaction. Motivator factors are not enough to keep employees satisfied. Hygiene factors influence job dissatisfaction; improving hygiene factors will decrease job dissatisfaction, increasing the employee’s overall satisfaction.

Are you a Toronto business interested in learning more about Pivot HR’s consulting services, and how they can help your organization find the right balance between motivation and hygiene?

Check out part two, or contact our team today!

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