Tag Archives: Frederick Herzberg

Productivity and Work Motivation Affected by Small Gestures – Meaning, Challenge, Mastery, Ownership

Small gestures and verbalizations by managers and organizations can have a large impact on employee productivity, motivation, engagement, and retention – for better or worse.

Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely’s research at Duke University showed the small changes in task design dramatically increase or diminish persistence, satisfaction, and commitment to tasks.

The good news is that by simply looking at something that somebody has done, scanning it and saying ‘uh huh,’ [you] dramatically improve people’s motivations…. The bad news is that ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort in front of their eyes. …,” according to Ariely.

Ariely’s lab experiments found that volunteers valued and liked their work product more when they worked hard and managed obstacles to produce it.
In addition, most people believed, often inaccurately, that other observers shared their positive view of their work product,

His research concluded that people seek meaning, challenge, and ownership in their work, and that these elements can increase work motivation and persistence.

Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl

Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankel articulated this existential perspective in his examination of the critical role that meaning played in the enabling survivors of concentration camp prisoners in Man’s Search for Meaning.

In the less extreme circumstances of the workplace, finding and assigning meaning to work efforts enables people to persist in complex tasks to achieve satisfaction in mastering challenges.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Harvard’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter concurred that both meaning and mastery are productivity drivers, and to these she added a social dimension, membership, and a distant runner-up, money.

Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

In contrast, one of the early though leaders in business management, psychologist Frederick Herzberg, developed a classic formulation of motivational factors contrasted with “hygiene factors.”

Frederick Herzberg - Motivation-Hygiene factorsHis two-factor theory of motivation did not include meaning or money as driving job satisfaction or productivity.

Shawn Achor, formerly of Harvard, argues that happiness is the most important work productivity lever.

Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor

To support his contention, he cited research findings that happy workforces increase an organization’s sales by 37 percent, productivity by 31 percent and accuracy on tasks by 19 percent.

Whether you work for mainly for meaning, money, or other motivations, you may agree that an ideal workplace and manager would foster all of these contributors to employee engagement and productivity.

-*What is the most important work motivator for you?
-*How have you seen managers increase employee engagement and performance through words and actions?

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What Do (Executive) Women (and Men) Want? Accenture Uncovers Priorities

Martha Bernays Freud-Sigmund Freud

Martha Bernays Freud-Sigmund Freud

Accenture’s online survey of 4,100 business executive women and men born between 1946 and 1994 from medium to large organizations across 33 countries sought to answer the updated version of Sigmund Freud’s question: “What do women want?”

Conducted in November 2012, the survey’s margin of error is +/-2 percent, with at least 100 respondents from each country, except Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden where the combined number totaled 200.

It provides some answers:  Women’s – and men’s top priorities in defining career success are:

  • Work-life balance
  • Money
  • Recognition
  • Autonomy
Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

This finding contradicts Frederick Herzberg’s theory that people are less motivated by “hygiene factors” like work-life balance and money than “motivation factors” like recognition and autonomy.

In contrast to Yahoo’s much-publicized ban on working remotely, 80 percent of male and female respondents reported that having flexibility in their work schedule is extremely or very important to work-life balance and more than three-quarters (78 percent) agree technology enables them to be more flexible with their schedules.

This is an important value statement in light of landmark findings that lack of flexibility and control in work environments has been associated with poorer health indicators and status than roles with greater flexibility

Hannah Kuper

Hannah Kuper

Hannah Kuper and Michael Marmot of University College London analyzed health outcomes of British civil service workers in the Whitehall I and II studies and found employees with least control over their work lives, typically associated with lower employment grade and lower social class, consistently had the poorest well-being and the highest mortality rates.

Michael Marmot

Michael Marmot

Marmot with other researchers who analyzed Whitehall study data, including Geoffrey Rose, surmise that not having discretion over how a task is accomplished, underutilizing skills, lack of clarity and predictability in job role can lead to job stress and physical indicators like abnormal heart rate and blood pressure, increased blood cortisol.

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly

Phyllis Moen

Phyllis Moen

More than half of all respondents said they declined a job due to concerns about its impact on work-life balance, also reported by Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen of University of Minnesota, suggesting that Yahoo’s policy could lead to significant attrition over time.

To realize monetary goals, the majority of respondents – 49 percent of women and 57 percent of men – had asked for or negotiated a pay raise, and four out of five respondents who negotiated a pay raise received one.

These rates represent a substantial increase over the year before in which 44 percent of women and 48 percent of men reported asking for a pay increase.
Notably, the percentage of men requesting more money increased considerably more than the percentage of women in that year period.

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock

This result is more encouraging than Linda Babcock’s finding that women tend not to ask for raises, and tend not to receive them when they do ask.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Even Sheryl Sandberg wasn’t inclined to negotiate for her salary when offered the role as COO of Facebook until she forcefully urged by her husband and brother-in-law, she revealed on 60 Minutes while promoting Lean In.

The Accenture study may demonstrate a changing trend for the better:  Almost half of all respondents reported that they had asked for a promotion, suggesting greater willingness to advocate for themselves to achieve the second priority, monetary reward.

-*How well do Accenture’s findings reflect your career priorities?

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Lessons Learned, Do-Over Wishes: Regrets in Life, Career

Daniel Gulati

Daniel Gulati

Daniel Gulati, founder of FashionStake and Harvard Business School graduate, asked 30 professionals between ages 28 and 58 what they regretted most about their careers.
Most frequently mentioned “do-over” wishes were:

Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

1.    Avoiding the temptation to accept a job for the money, confirming Frederick Herzberg assertion that “hygiene” factors, like salary, do not result in motivation or “engagement” in work.
In contrast, most people search for meaningful work in addition to an equitable wage.

Related Post:
Finding Work You Love, Measuring Your Life

Deloitte Shift Index 20122.    Leaving a bad job situation sooner. Gulati asserted that large corporations provide a “variable reinforcement schedule” in which the timing, frequency, and size of rewards is unpredictable, leading people to stay in roles they may not like on the hope of maximizing gains.
As a result, many people feel bound to large organizations by “golden handcuffs,” despite findings by Deloitte’s Shift Index survey the 80% of those surveyed are dissatisfied with their jobs.

Lara Buchak

Lara Buchak

In addition, people may tend toward risk-averseness in the workplace because most are more bothered by threat of losses than they are pleased by gains, according to findings by MIT’s Lara Buchak.

This risk-averseness may lead to “premature optimization,” rather than innovative and exploratory risks to uncover strengths, career options, and technical solutions to work challenges.

3.  Not starting a business, compounded by the same risk-averseness, variable schedules of reinforcement, premature optimization, and perceived golden handcuffs dynamics.

John Coleman

John Coleman

4. Not using time in school settings more productively, meaningfully, insightfully, mentioned by survey participants in Gulati’s collaboration with fellow Harvard Business School grads, John Coleman

W. Oliver Segovia

W. Oliver Segovia

and  W. Oliver Segovia featured in Passion & Purpose, and HBR Guide to Getting the Right Job.

Passion and Purpose5. Not following unanticipated career opportunities, again due to risk-averseness and premature optimization.

Gulati expanded his investigations to 100 younger HBR Guide to Getting the Right Jobpeople, between 25 and 35, and found both existential and specific regrets and do-over wishes:

1.    Not doing something “useful”, also mentioned by Daniel Pink and Martin Seligman, who found that Purpose, Mastery, and Control are top motivators.

Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman

Related Post: Career Navigation by Embracing Uncertainty

2.    Not living in the moment, due to over-scheduling and lack of training or discipline to focus mindfully on the present moment

3.    “Wasting time” earlier in life, such as not taking full advantage of school years

4.    Not travelling more, again limited by risk-averseness, premature optimization leading to financial commitments and family responsibilities

5.    Not developing physically fitness, partly attributed to “after-work drinks” instead of exercise.

Neal Roese

Neal Roese

Northwestern’s Neal Roese, Mike Morrison of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Kai Epstude of University of Groningen asked 370 adults in the United States to describe one memorable regret.

Kai Epstude

Kai Epstude

Influenced by gender, age and education level, most-frequently cited regrets were:

  • Missed romantic connection (~20%), with women more than twice as likely (44%) to men (19%). Those not in a relationship were the most likely to cite a romantic regret.
  • Family issues (arguments, unkindness-16%)
  • Education (13 percent)
  •  Career (12 percent)
    • Money (10 percent)
    • Parenting mistakes (9 percent)
    • Health regrets (6 percent)

Participants expressed equal regret for things they had done as those who felt regret for something they had not done, but these missed-opportunity regrets were more likely to persist over time.

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal considered the other end of the age spectrum when she reported on “do-over” wishes of hospice patients:

• Work less hard
• Stay in touch with friends
• Let myself be happier
• Have the courage to express my true self
• Live a life true to my dreams

Related Post: How Gaming Can Help You Live Better and Longer

Isabelle Bauer

Isabelle Bauer

Isabelle Bauer, then at Concordia University, explored the impact of regrets on emotional and physical well-being, and found that people cope with regret by:

  • Undoing regrets, often through rationalization
  • Changing internal appraisals of regret

These findings of Lessons Learned in the School of Experience suggest the importance of:

  • Finding meaningful and worthwhile work
  • Taking considered risks to connect with others, explore interests and the world
  • Balancing work and interpersonal priorities
  • Investing time in high priority endeavors
  • Finding ways to reprioritize activities based on Lessons Learned from perceived regrets.

-*What are your Lessons Learned as you plan your New Year?

-*How do you manage your “Do-Over” thoughts?

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Career Navigation by Embracing Uncertainty

John Krumboltz

John Krumboltz

John Krumboltz of Stanford echoes the message in an earlier blog post, Is Career “Planning” Actually Career “Improvisation”? in his book, Luck is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career  Luck is no accident

He notes that people can’t control outcomes of unpredictable life and career situations, but he advocates paying attention to thoughts and actions that hinder progress toward goals — and to modify them with small steps.

Related Post:
Creating Productive Thought Patterns through “Thought Self-Leadership”

Increased mindful attention to habitual patterns can set the conditions for desired outcomes by planning contingencies for undesirable eventualities.

Part of this process is being:

  • Open to possibilities that diverge from an original plan
  • Willing to consider unexpected opportunities
  • Able to risk mistakes and rejection.

This may see demanding and undesirable for goal-directed people with a plan, but Krumboltz’s research demonstrates the effectiveness of these guidelines and other familiar recommendations:

  • Research areas of interest
  • Network
  • Ask for what you want
  • Keep learning
Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

Similarly, Daniel Pink advises flexibility in career “planning” in his anime-like The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need and questions whether there can be a career “plan”, given many unpredictable possibilities.The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

Like Peter Drucker and Donald Clifton before him, Pink urges building on existing strengths and finding ways to compensate for less strong areas, rather than investing effort in remedying them.

Donalid Clifton

Donalid Clifton

In addition to familiar suggestions – persist in taking on ambitious challenges while learning from them – he recommends focusing on solving problems for others, and finding a niche to deliver valuable results.Now Discover Your Strengths

This service-orientation pays dividends as a career development strategy and in “making a difference” in the community and one’s family.

DrivePink’s later book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us ,   draws on Frederick Herzberg’s delineation of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

People are motivated, Pink says, by career roles that provide opportunities for:

  • Autonomy, exerting control over work content and context
  • Mastery, improving skill in work over time through persistence, effort, corrective feedback
  • Purpose, participating in an inspiring goal

Related Post:
Finding Work You Love, Measuring Your Life

Pink’s TED Talk demonstrates his passionate advocacy for replacing traditional rewards and recognition with “Motivation 2.0” that provides opportunities for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Edward Deci - Richard Ryan

Edward Deci – Richard Ryan

Draw on strengths

Pink cites Edward Deci’s and Richard Ryan‘s Cognitive Evaluation Theory (CET) that investigated variability in intrinsic motivation, and Deci’s Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation which advised managers to adopt “autonomy-supportive”   behaviors to encourage employees’ intrinsic motivation.Why we do what we do

These varied studies suggest the value of flexibility in career “planning” to capitalize on serendipitous opportunities, and seeking work roles that:

  • Draw on strengths
  • Enable intrinsic motivators like autonomy, purpose, mastery, and affiliation, instead of focusing primarily on monetary or status rewards.

-*How do you navigate your career in the face of incomplete information about future outcomes?

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Finding Work You Love, Measuring Your Life

Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen

Clayton Christensen is a Harvard Business School professor, acclaimed for his ground-breaking work on innovation.
His recent book, How Will You Measure Your Life links his years of research in business strategy and innovation, to identifying values and priorities in work-life.

Although this new focus may seem unexpected, Christensen may have pointed to a source of inspiration when he revealed in 2010 that he had been diagnosed with follicular lymphoma and had suffered an ischemic stroke.
In addition, he has been highly visible in his decades of service to The Church of Latter Day Saints.

He reviews “powerful anomalies” in popular conceptions of workforce motivation and incentives designed to drive performance.

He notes that “some of the hardest working people on the planet are employed in charitable organizations. They work in the most difficult conditions imaginable; they earn a fraction of what they would if they were in the private sector. Yet it’s rare to hear of managers of nonprofits complaining about getting their staff motivated. The same goes for the military.”

He points out that incentives are not the same as motivation, and that true motivation involves moving people to do something because they want to.
Hertzberg’s classic article in the Harvard Business Review, introduced the distinction between hygiene factors (if not done right, will cause us to be dissatisfied) and motivation factors (challenging work, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth).

Frederick Herzberg

Frederick Herzberg

Christensen concludes that Herzberg’sHerzberg theory of motivation suggests such questions as:

• Is this work meaningful to me?
• Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement?
• Am I going to learn new things?

Evaluating the place of personal motivation factors in relation to the priority of hygiene factors is the foundation of career and life satisfaction.

-*What elements of your “work contract” are motivating?-*What helps you determine value and meaning in your work life and personal life?

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