Motivation Part I

It's not secret employees who feel they are valued and recognized for the work they do are more motivated, responsible, and productive. This series will touch on the tools for supervisors and managers to create a more dynamic, loyal, and energized workspace. Today's focus will be on the theories that make the foundation for motivating others.

Motivation is a force that leads people to attempt to satisfy their important needs; it is a drive from within that prompts or incites an action. Maslow and Herzberg came up with two of the more popular motivational theories. Maslow's Classic Hierarchy of Motivational Needs is listed below working from the foundation and basic necessities to the highest level of self-motivation:

  1. Survival: Need to stay alive- breathe, eat, drink, sleep, and reproduce.
  2. Safety: Need to feel safe and secure.
  3. Social: Need for love, to be a member of a group.
  4. Esteem: Need to feel worthy and respected.
  5. Self-Actualization: Need to do the work we like.

Maslow's states that we need to meet each one of these needs in order to live a truly balanced and happy life. Once one need is met we move to the next. Herzberg developed a Motivational versus Maintenance breakdown to explain motivation:

  • Motivational Factors:
    • Interesting, challenging work
    • Good use of one's capabilities
    • Opportunity to do something meaningful
    • Involvement in decision-making
    • Recognition for achievement
    • Access to information
    • Sense of Importance to organization
  • Maintenance Factors:
    • Congenial people to work with
    • Good working conditions
    • Pensions
    • Paid insurance
    • Job security
    • Vacations and holidays
    • Good pay
    • Job titles

Herzberg highlights the things that motivate us to get up and go to work and to perform at our best ability, while he uses the maintenance factors to show what good supervisors, managers, and organizations use to meet the motivation factors of their employees and clients. Supervisors can provide satisfaction with motivation factors and cause an increased commitment of employees' time and energy. Higher management can merely prevent dissatisfaction by providing maintenance factors in adequate quantity and quality. 

These theories provide the basic foundation of how motivation works and offers a preview of how you can use it to transform your business.