Frederick Irving Herzberg was an American psychologist who became famous with his clarification and invention of the term “job enrichment” in 1968. This is one of the first attempts to design employees’ job in a way to include interesting and challenging tasks whose performance should lead to improving employees’ skills, and consequentially to the increase of their status and/or salary level.
Although the controversy about this and similar topics could have been heard earlier, it seems that it took half a century for all professionals to start actively thinking about utilizing this idea. Psychologists, HR managers, couches, managers, and leaders, all now speak about the critically low engagement of employees. According to Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace” report, 85% of employees on the global level are not engaged in their workplace. That is why there have been some new ways created to make the workplace fun and relaxed in the hope that employees will motivate themselves to be more dedicated to their work and the company. So today, no modern company will allow itself to miss table football, a room for rest and games, fresh fruit on a daily level, free coffee, even free lunch at places, massages during workdays, paid fitness and sports programs, organization of team buildings and various events where employees’ family members are invited. Of course, before that, it is necessary to offer private health and life insurance to the whole family, provide education and development budgets, and ideally allow for an opportunity for occasional work from home. When you think of a company that offers all of this, it is really a good question how in such an environment some employees can come reluctant to work, forcing themselves to endure one more day before the weekend and vacation. At first glance, it seems that anyone who passes the selection in a company that is earning enough to provide all of these benefits to all of their employees must have an incredible capacity, ambition and motivation to achieve business results coming to work fresh and motivated.
Herzberg ‘s two-factor theory, from which the term “job enrichment” was created, says it is possible to be unmotivated even in environments that provide maximum benefits! You are probably wondering how it is possible. Herzberg says that there are:
- Factors that affect the mitigation of dissatisfaction, the so-called hygiene factors, such as job safety, salary, timely annual vacations, and all that we have specified in the preceding paragraph.
- Factors affecting the increase of satisfaction, the so-called Motivators –challenging work, recognition and rewards for employees’ efforts and performance, responsibility for their job, an opportunity to do something important in the workplace, make a decision and feel like we are contributing to something important.
According to Herzberg, if there is no fulfilment of hygiene factors, employees will be definitely dissatisfied. Still, if they are fulfilled, it is not necessary that employees will become satisfied with their work. To become satisfied, it is necessary that, in addition to the existence of hygiene factors, there are motivators in the workplace – all those opportunities to feel that we are worthy, that we are valued, appreciated, that our contribution really has some weight and meaning.
Without it, we can bathe in the swimming pool every day, have massage, parties, meet-ups (in pre-pandemic times), and still not be satisfied with the work because our boss is a micromanager not giving us the freedom to offer an idea, create something; we do not see the meaning of repetitive work that seems completely aimless; we have to comply with bureaucratic and meaningless papers just to meet procedures which were set 10 years ago; our boss is a bully presenting our results as their credit while never having a word of praise for us.
Therefore, high-performing companies direct their focus to the real welfare of their employees, not only concerning physical and technical benefits but indeed in terms of creating a productive working environment based on employees’ personal talents where everyone can contribute according to their unique set of individual strengths and in their own specific way.
For organizations seeking to improve employees’ engagement and consequently their performance, strengths-based development is a proven solution. To boost their business, leaders need to start developing people based on what is right for them. Yes, we are talking about taping into unique individual talents that we all have, and the first step is to understand ours.
We, at Jaka Lounge, truly believe that when people use their personal strengths, they achieve the best results, and we created a special program based on the Gallup’s Strength Based Development.