Think of your last salary increase. Did your thoughts follow a sequence? You were delighted to receive a raise >> Your level of motivation went up >> Time passed by and you became used to the bigger paycheck >> Your mind started to ponder over a higher salary >> The initial high was wearing away rapidly >> You began to speculate about the next salary review and you worked out the revised salary you deserve >> However, your actual salary by comparison now appeared very lean and you felt undervalued >> Your motivation level dipped and you became less gratified …
But how much is enough?
Salary is definitely a motivator but only in the short term. Frederick Herzberg, an American researcher put forward the “Hygiene Motivation Theory”. Herzberg believed that two entirely separate dimensions contribute to an employee’s behavior at work. He proposed that factors influencing commitment to work could be separated into two categories:
- Dissatisfiers or Hygiene factors: The presence or absence of job dissatisfiers such as working conditions, pay, company policies and interpersonal relationships. When hygiene factors are poor, work is dissatisfying. However, good hygiene factors simply remove the dissatisfaction. They do not cause people to be highly satisfied and motivated in their work.
- Satisfiers or Motivators: These motivators influence job satisfaction. Motivators of high-level needs include achievement, recognition, responsibility and opportunity for growth.
Herzberg believed that when motivators are absent, workers are neutral towards work, but when motivators are present, workers are highly motivated and satisfied.
What is the significance of this theory for you?
Supplying hygiene factors will remove employee dissatisfaction but will not motivate workers to perform better. In other words, the Hygiene factors could lead to a state of ‘no dissatisfaction.’
Whereas focusing on the motivators like recognition, challenge and opportunities will lead to superior performance and effort. Your function is to eliminate the dissatisfiers and supply hygiene factors to meet the basic needs. This should be followed by the use of motivators to meet
Does salary motivate?
Herzberg placed money on both sides – as a hygiene factor and as a motivator. However, the most surprising factor is that salary after some time becomes just a hygiene factor, and therefore, may not act as a motivator. In this theory, pay has been displaced from its position as a primary motivator; however many managers still believe salary to be the most important motivator.
In a nut shell, inadequate salary will de-motivate, but an increase in salary will only motivate in the short term before it becomes a Hygiene factor. The understanding of human behavior is becoming essential rather than a useful extra. It is more and more evident that the specific motivating factor for one person may be utterly uninteresting to the other. Yet experience shows that relatively few managers seems to appreciate the significance of this concept of motivation.