When it comes to motivating skilled labour, money isn't all that important. Sure, rubbish wages will probably cause staff to look for alternative employment, but paying more won't motivate them to be more productive, either.
In a recent post, we offered tips on how to hire the right skilled labour. And, of course, having great people is essential for developing a productive workforce. However, the next, and possibly bigger, challenge for any manager in the construction or manufacturing industries is keeping workers happy so that they work hard and stick around. And, it is a fact that workplace happiness improves productivity. By how much? Well, according to a bunch of British economists, 12%.
Don’t all workers want high wages?
Of course. No right-thinking builder or carpenter will turn down a pay rise. However, as mentioned in the intro, higher wages won’t motivate them to work 110%. Other stuff comes into play.
The Two-Factor Theory
Have you heard about a psychologist called Frederick Herzberg? He developed, what is known as, the Two-Factor Theory that explains how intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence whether or not workers are motivated.
Intrinsic and extrinsic factors?! Okay, this post is starting to sound like a psychology lecture in, so let’s see how Herzberg’s theory relates to the workplace.
Extrinsic factors determine dissatisfaction. Wages are extrinsic. Relationships between colleagues, supervisors and staff as well as physical working conditions are too. So, if you pay low wages, for example, your people will probably be dissatisfied and want to up and leave. Pay them a fair rate, though, and rather than being super satisfied, they will be kind of neutral. So, it takes more than things like good wages and working conditions to inspire your staff to work ‘out of their skins.’ Something else is necessary.
Intrinsic factors are what determine satisfaction. So, what are these factors you must get right if you want to get the best from your people? Well, they include things like recognition, performance, responsibility, job status and career opportunities.
How to use this theory in your company
As the name of the Two-Factor Theory suggests, developing satisfied and productive employees happens in two stages.
Stage one: Eliminate dissatisfaction
It’s pointless providing your staff with an excellent career path and empowering them with more responsibility if you’re paying peanuts and expecting them to work in unpleasant conditions. So, find out what your people are unhappy about and try to fix the situation.
Here are some common issues:
- too much bureaucracy
- bad working conditions
- poor wages
- a toxic work culture
Stage two: Work on satisfaction
Remember that different things motivate each of us, so take into account your employees' individual personalities.
Here are some ways to develop an environment for satisfaction:
- show your staff that you appreciate their work and performance
- when possible, involve your people in decision making and give them responsibility
- tailor jobs to suit each worker’s particular abilities
- create an environment that supports excellent work performances.
- provide training and opportunities to grow within your company.