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One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees? (Harvard Business Review Classics) Paperback – May 14, 2008
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About the Author
Frederick Herzberg was distinguished professor of management at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and head of the department of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. His writings include Work and the Nature of Man and The Motivation to Work.
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In this article the author tries to answer one of the main questions in management: "How do I get an employee to do what I want?" There is the taditional method to get someone to do something is to administer a kick in the pants, or "KITA" as Herzberg terms it. He then discusses the different myths about motivation and explains how each of them only results in short-term movement. Based on results from various studies he concludes "that the factors involved in producing job satisfaction (and motivation) are separate and distinct from the factors that lead to job dissatisfaction." Or, in other words, "the opposite of job satisfaction is not job dissatisfaction, but, rather, no job satisfaction; and similarly, the opposite of job dissatisfaction is not job satisfaction, but no job satisfaction." This concept has an important impact on management: The growth or motivator factors are intrinsic to the job, while dissatisfaction-avoidance or hygiene factors are extrinsic to the job. Both factors are described in detail, with various tables and graphs explaining each. Herzberg provides us with ten steps for job enrichment, or principles to institute the motivator idea with their employees. But it is important to note that job enrichment is not a one-time proposition, it is a continuous management function.
Yes, this is a fantastic article on motivating employees. Herzberg explains in simple words that the things that make people satisfied and motivated on the job are different in kind from the things that make them dissatisfied. It debunks the traditional myths about motivation and explains that people are motivated by interesting work, challenge, and increasing responsibility. Highly recommended to all managers supervising people. The article is written somewhat old-fashioned business US-English.
This is another of the classic HBR articles and is arguably the most popular of all time - and for good reason. Herzberg simplifies the complex issue of employee motivation to two factors - the satisfiers (or hygiene) and the motivators. Both of which he stresses are important, but for very different reasons. Satisfiers include money, supervision and working conditions. While the motivators include achievement, recognition for achievement, responsibility, meaningful work and opportunity for personal growth.
It's interesting reading his advice again so many years after it was first written. The failed attempts by organisations at motivating people all those years ago as outlined by Herzberg, are still being attempted by many organisations today with just as little success - increased wages/salaries, benefits, communication training and so on. None of them have any impact on employee motivation.
If you've heard of Herzberg's theories but don't know the details, this original source is a must read. Even if you have little knowledge of his theories, but are interested in what motivates all of us, this is essential reading.
Bob Selden, author of What To Do When You Become The Boss: How new managers become successful managers