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Motivation in workplace

Those factors that prevented job dissatisfaction – these factors did not make employees happy but removed unhappiness from working. Such factors, Herzberg referred to as ‘hygiene’ factors – those that if not satisfied would reduce employee efficiency.

Although some factors were found to fall into both categories, broadly speaking, Herzberg identified, Achievement, Recognition. The Nature of Work, and Responsibility as motivators, and How the Business was Run, Supervision, Work Conditions, and Pay as hygiene factors. One striking finding in the study was that factors associated with encouraging motivation, have little connection with money, but are associated with personal development and achievement. This is not to say that increasing pay doesn’t remove job dissatisfaction – it does, but only in the short term.

Shine Communications, a communications agency based in London and employing 56 staff, was voted by employees, the number one company, in the Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For, 2012. Over 500 companies entered this competition and were judged according to a number of pre-determined criteria, assessed by the answers to 70 questions. Shine achieved top scores in 36 of the questions.

“I do believe if you look after your people and you are a consultancy, you are going get

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great results as you are looking after your best asset”, says Rachel Bell, the chief executive of Shine. Bell, who was voted Best Leader, says she wants staff to reach their full potential and is always asking staff for advice. Ten per cent of Shine’s annual profit is re-invested into training, and each member of staff has a personal development fund which can be used, for example, on training or conquering a fear.

Lawrence Colling, the joint managing director, has worked at Shine for 10 years and has never felt the need to work elsewhere – “the fact that it has grown five times over, only results in more exciting clients”. There is a flexible benefits scheme which can include membership of Tate Modern or raising money for charity, and this acts as an incentive to do well. Flexible working is encouraged, with the head of social media working partly from his home in France.

Questions 1 At Shine Recruitment the joint managing director had been at the company for 10 years. Explain one disadvantage of staff working at a firm for a long period of time. 2 Labour turnover at Shine is 12 per cent per annum. Explain two advantages of low labour turnover for the firm. 3 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs suggests that all workers have basic needs such as obtaining food and drink, which have to be satisfied before other needs can be considered.

Does Maslow’s view tend to suggest that Herzberg’s theory is flawed? 4 From the information given in the case study, and using your own understanding of Herzberg, analyse two reasons why the level of job dissatisfaction at Shine may be low. 5 The name Shine was chosen from a quote in Nelson Mandella’s inaugural presidential address – “And as we let our own light show we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”. What aspects of Herzberg’s motivators can you recognise from this philosophy? 6 Assess the benefits of Shine Communication re-investing 10 per cent of its profits back into the business through training.

ANSWERS

1 It is important for a business to have a settled workforce in order for a good, calm working environment to prevail. It is clear that staff at Shine are happy in their work, but if the workforce is relatively young and ambitious the staff turnover is always going to occur. A disadvantage of this is that workers who add value to a company may be lost. However there are likely to be problems if staff stay too long. They may become stale and lack innovative ideas. They may settle for the status quo, the easy life, and sections of the company may lack dynamism because of this. Personal relationships can be a problem and freshening up of a workforce is often good.

2 Labour turnover – the number of people leaving a business in a period of time (usually a year) expressed as a percentage of the total workforce. A 12 per cent labour turnover at Shine means that 5 or 6 people leave each year and, in a relatively new, forward looking business, this should be regarded as relatively low, and perhaps about the right level.

Having a settled workforce has a number of advantages. The training and experience gained can be channelled more effectively into a firm with workforce stability, more easily than with one with a high labour turnover. Employees get to know how others work, and indeed think, so much so that there will be less indecision over choices to be made. If a member of staff is not present, a settled staff can pick up the work more easily. If employees are happy then productivity is more likely to increase as there is less friction in the workplace. Indeed it can be argued that a firm with a low labour turnover is a happy staff, otherwise more staff would leave. Shine invests heavily in training. This is not wasted if employees stay with the firm for a reasonable length of time.

3. Abraham Maslow’s study originated in the 1950s and is still has appeal for businesses as it has clarity. There would be little argument that everyone needs to satisfy physiological needs such as enough in a wage packet to pay the bills, and employers are aware of this and in the main heed to it. Maslow’s theory is based on a hierarchy with each successive level needing to be achieved before an individual can progress on to the next level. Again the second level of safety would seem to find most employers agreeing. After all, workers must feel safe in the working environment and would like security in their job. It is when the theory moves on to the higher levels of love and belonging, esteem needs and self-actualisation that more disagreement occurs. There is a problem as to when a particular level is satisfied; some rewards appear to cover more than one level – money can bring status and that would be the esteem level. Some levels will never be attained by some workers.

Nevertheless, like many models, Maslow gives us a model for comparison, a measure to assess workers against. If needs are satisfied workers are more likely to be motivated. Herzberg has similarities to Maslow as he also attempted to find out what motivated people and indeed the similarities are also found in other areas. Herzberg’s findings, that people are motivated by achievement and recognition sit fairly comfortably with Maslow’s top level of self-actualisation and to a certain extent esteem needs.

Where Maslow and Herzberg seem to differ is their attitude to pay/money. Herzberg does not see pay as a motivator, only as a hygiene factor which prevents dissatisfaction. Maslow states that employees cannot satisfy higher levels until they have their basic needs satiated and feel safe. Perhaps the views are not so disparate. This is a personal view, but it should be noted that Herzberg’s studies were concentrated on very specific groups – engineers and accountants. Most within these two groups would be well qualified and well paid. Perhaps they had already achieved the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy and therefore were looking for something more intrinsic to satisfy their need for motivation.

What perhaps is safest to conclude is that different things motivate different people. Some will be money motivated, others less so. Some will seek solace and motivation in a job well done whilst others can easily divorce themselves from their job – it is a means to an end.

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