The Herzberg theory of motivation, developed by Frederick Herzberg in 1959, endeavored to determine what led to employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction in the workplace. In his studies, Herzberg found that the factors leading to satisfaction were remarkably different that the ones that led to dissatisfaction. He labeled the factors that lead to satisfaction as “motivators” and the ones that lead to dissatisfaction as “hygiene factors.” He called them hygiene factors due to the fact that they are issues that require maintenance. These hygiene factors must be fulfilled to avoid dissatisfaction, but they do not lead to satisfaction.
There are several factors that Herzberg found contribute to employee dissatisfaction. These factors include: the employees relationship with their boss and peers, salary, the level of supervision, and working conditions. These are things that the employee must constantly try to improve to avoid dissatisfaction. The relationships that the employee cultivates in the workplace are a key component in avoiding dissatisfaction because if the employee feels that they are not well liked or important to the company he or she will not find any reason to contribute to the team. Salary and working conditions go hand in hand in Herzberg’s theory of motivation due to the fact that they are both contributing factors for the employees comfort level. If either the salary or working conditions are below the perceived level that the employee has set for them, the employee will be dissatisfied. The level of manager/employer supervision can lead to employee dissatisfaction if it is either lacking or overwhelming. It is important for an employer to find and acceptable level of balance to keep his employees satisfied.
Factors that lead to employee satisfaction include advancement opportunities, room for growth, recognition, responsibility, and even the work itself. The first factor that leads to employee satisfaction, advancement and room for growth, is vital because it makes the employee feel that he is valuable as an individual, valuable to the company, and will continue to be valuable. Recognition is an important component for an employee’s satisfaction because it ensures him that he is an integral part of the job force. Giving bonuses or rewards for reaching a monthly sales goal might be a great way to motivate employees to increase sales motivation. Giving an employee more responsibility is also an excellent way to increase their overall job satisfaction. It is generally accepted that if an employee is given more responsibility they will put forth greater effort, so the company will benefit from this increased performance as well. The actual work that the employee is doing will lead to satisfaction if the employee finds meaning in the job. For example, if someone is a survivor of cancer they will most likely take great pride in working towards organizing a fundraiser to combat cancer. Alternatively, if someone is working a menial desk job doing data entry with no motivation from management, he will ultimately find no satisfaction in that job.
According to Herzberg, there are three key rules that any manager must follow to ensure a stable balance between satisfaction and dissatisfaction of their employees. The job should adequately challenge a worker’s needs. If an employee is succeeding in their job tasks, they should in turn be given greater responsibility. Finally, the employee should never be given a task under their ability level or one that could be seen as a waste of their talents.
This distinction between factors that lead to satisfaction and dissatisfaction is important for any employer to take into consideration if he or she wants to get the best effort from his employees.