READ: Hertzberg and his “Two-Factor Theory”

Another of the classic motivational theorists a chap called Hertzberg and his “Two-Factor Theory”. It’s from the 1960s 70s but still very relevant today because a lot of people still get motivation wrong, fundamentally wrong, and are confused by it.

What is the Hertzberg Two-Factor Theory

So, the Hertzberg Two-Factor Theory is a good way of actually explaining a lot of what the confusion is about. He said that basically we have a neutral state and then there’s two factors: One of them gives Great Satisfaction and the other actually creates Great Dissatisfaction.

If it’s missing and he called these hygiene Factors. So if you go into a restaurant,  and you see that the kitchen is dirty you’re not very motivated to eat there If the chef’s are all mucky and dirty. But if you go in and you see the chef’s all clean and the kitchen sparkling you don’t go “Oh great! I’m definitely going to eat here now” it’s like you’ll say “okay  good, kitchens clean” neutral state “now we’ll check out the food” and then we’ll see what it’s like.

So a lot of these hygiene factors are really important to consider because they’re things like Salary because salary is only motivating if it’s not enough, once it’s enough it’s no longer a motivating factor so giving people a raise lasts for a couple of Months, maybe, and then actually it’s no longer motivating because they get used to it very quickly. Security, Status and Working Conditions are all the same. And people spend a fortune on these things in order to meet them and then they go “yeah we spend all this money on our working conditions and look how lovely the environment is” and all that sort of stuff and then they go like “why aren’t people motivated?”

What is the personal growth that the person wants?

Well actually what he said is they need Motivational Factors in order to create this Great Satisfaction and notice these don’t often cost very much money but they do cost ‘Effort’. What you need to do is know “What is the personal growth that the person wants?” get to know your people. What do they want? and help them to grow. Give them more Responsibility, give them a sense of Achievement and acknowledge them for that achievement by giving them Recognition. So by doing more of this, making sure these are met, but not necessarily spending vast amounts of money on them, because they’re not actually going to get motivation. What you need is these factors to help people be highly Motivated.

So think about your motivational strategies at work and how you can apply Hertzberg’s ‘Two-Factor Theory’ and above all when it comes to motivation.

Stay curious.


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With best regards,

David Klaasen 

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©David Klaasen – 2014