by Berfu Sahin – Marketing Executive with RattleBerry
As I’m sure you know, employee motivation is a big thing for management. As I’m sure you also know, there’s not exactly a one size fits all answer to the problem.
But it seems that nowadays, a lot of companies act like one of the best motivators, money, shouldn’t be treated like one. Instead, there’s a huge focus on ‘perks’ and ‘gimmicks’ and making the office setting more exciting which motivates an employee better than anything else! A happy employee is a poor one who’s desk is 30 feet from a ping-pong table, right?
We shouldn’t feel the need to shy away from money and effective work. It’s a major part of motivation in the workplace. Money pays the rent, put’s food on the table and gives people a reason to live a real life. If people loved their job so much without money being a factor, they’d take pay cuts or do it for free without even batting an eyelash.
So don’t try to distract your employee with something weird and shiny, saying “how we do things here is different and it’s about the atmosphere. but the pay is nothing and you’ll be on welfare within a week”.
In fact, two of the most important and iconic management theories and practices revolve around the importance of money as a motivator – McGregor’s Theory of X & Y and Herzberg’s Motivation and Hygiene theory.
Both these theories suggest that both money and the work itself are important for achieving maximum productivity. The main difference between the two is that McGregor suggests one is more important than the other depending on the job and employee, while Herzberg thinks it best to strike a balance between the two.
In truth, they are both correct. It all depends on the situation. McGregor’s theory holds a lot more truth to it when applying it to a shop or waiting job. If you hire someone to work at a shop, you don’t (or shouldn’t) expect them to love their job. It might be enjoyable in certain ways, they might work hard because they want the job, but that doesn’t mean they love it. It’s still standing behind a till for eight hours a day.
And what’s wrong with them working for the sake of money? As long as the work is good and always gets done, why act like it has to be something else, something more? Sometimes that’s all there is to it, a hard worker, not a passionate worker. A passionate worker is good for graphically designing something, or paying close attention to a project or mentally engaging task. The same kind of drive isn’t needed for stacking jars on a shelf or writing the weekly report.
The passion for the job, and that’s the bit you need to focus on keeping alive when it comes to non-expenditure motivation, is the other half of these theories. This is Herzberg’s motivation part of the theory, and it’s all about being passionate and having a love for the job. Things like engaging projects, trust, responsibility and so on. This is also what McGregor calls the Y worker.
Neither theory is wrong and if you truly want to motivate your employees you need to implement both motivators into your management style. Employees work the jobs they work for different reasons, and if the work is the best that it can be and you can afford it, why reward them with something they don’t want or need? No different to pandering to the market, you also need to pander to your employees.
About the author
Berfu Sahin is a Marketing Executive at RattleBerry providing modern marketing recruitment solutions. If you are looking for employment or need to hire the best digital, brand, product, experience design and communications professionals RattleBerry can help. Call or email to discuss what new skills you need on your team and how RattleBerry can provide them in a flexible manner.