What motivates you?

Today is May 17 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “what motivates you?”

In his 1967 publication, The Motivation to Work, Frederick Herzberg identified two different categories of factors affecting the motivation to work: hygiene and motivation.

Hygiene factors include extrinsic factors like technical supervision, interpersonal relations, physical working conditions, salary, company policies and administrative practices, benefits, and job security.

In comparison, motivation factors include intrinsic factors such as achievement, recognition and status, responsibility, challenging work, and advancement in the organization.

Herzberg’s theory postulates that only motivation factors have the potential of increasing job satisfaction. The results indicate that the association between salary and job satisfaction is very weak. When employees are focused on external rewards, the effects of intrinsic motives on engagement are significantly diminished.

This means that employees who are intrinsically motivated are three times more engaged than employees who are extrinsically motivated (such as by money). Quite simply, you’re more likely to like your job if you focus on the work itself, and less likely to enjoy it if you’re focused on money.”

As Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic noted in the Harvard Business Review: "The more people focus on their salaries, the less they will focus on satisfying their intellectual curiosity, learning new skills, or having fun, and those are the very things that make people perform best." American basketball player, coach and executive Pat Riley noted “A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.”

In an August 2016 article "How to Motivate Your Employees: Give Them Compliments and Pizza, Melissa Dahl summarizes the research conducted by Dan Ariely, a psychology professor at Duke University and author of Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations. Dahl tells the story about an interesting study that took place in an Israeli semiconductor factory.

The workers received one of three messages at the start of their workweek. They would either receive a voucher for a free pizza, a $30 cash bonus, or a compliment from their stern boss if they reached a goal. However, a quarter of the factory’s employees did not receive any message since they were the control group. The results were as follows:

“After the first day, pizza proved to be the top motivator, increasing productivity by 6.7 percent over the control group, thereby just barely edging out the promise of a compliment (in the form of a text message from the boss that said “Well done!”). On the second day of the workweek, those in the money condition performed 13.2 percent worse than those in the control group. This leveled out over the next several days, but for the week overall, the cash bonus ended up costing the company more and resulted in a 6.5 percent drop in productivity.”

When the study concluded, it was found that the compliment came in first place, while pizza was in second. The $30 cash bonus finished last in terms of a motivation. Yes, most of us could use more money; but are there other factors that have the potential to motivate us even more? The research is abundantly clear as the answer is yes.