Some time ago I asked a class of school children “why do people work?” – they all shouted “money”.
Of course, money is important. Money allows people to pay for the basic physiological needs of life such as food and shelter. But work can also provide a sense of belonging and an opportunity for growth that is less easily measured as a transaction (in what Maslow called a “hierarchy of needs”).
Some things have to be right at work or they will cause job dissatisfaction, which Herzberg called “hygiene”:
• Salary and benefits
• Job security
• Working environment
• Employment policies
• Supervisory practices
• Company policies, administration and reputation
On the other hand, positive “Motivators” include:
• Recognition of achievements
• Interesting work
• Personal development
• Interpersonal relationships
But how to implement and measure them?
In my experience, small businesses in Norfolk often don’t know what good HR looks like. Business administration is not one of their core competencies. Someone who built a business on his own skills – perhaps he was a very good carpenter – often has little understanding of management and people development. Therefore, a good place to start is to conduct a human resources audit in the company to find out what it has in place and identify gaps or possible causes of job dissatisfaction.
Once the causes of job dissatisfaction have been addressed, we should consider the positive motivators.
We know that motivated and engaged employees will “perform at their best”. They will work hard and be willing to go the extra mile. It can be a real differentiator. Engaged and motivated employees behave differently. In short, they are more productive. When was the last time you received great customer service at a store and how likely are you to return or recommend this business to others?
Take this path…
CEOs and senior managers often espouse the value and importance of employees. “Our people are our greatest asset” is a well-worn and now somewhat clichéd expression, but the results for companies that “step up” are measurable; recruitment, retention [reduced staff turnover]staff development and succession all contribute to turnover and profitability.
Sustainable competitive advantage…
Today’s job market is tough and recent events, including the pandemic, have highlighted the importance of people and pushed HR onto the agenda of many organizations. Addressing job dissatisfaction and fostering positive employee motivation at work gives companies a sustainable competitive advantage where people really make a difference.