July 2010 Archives
The Benz Communications Blog - Employee communication, benefits, health care and wellness (@jenbenz on Twitter)
Connecting Career and Life - Workplace flexibility, work-life issues and organizational effectiveness (@leanneclc on Twitter)
free-range communication - Communication, HR, and the connection between business and individual health and well-being (@femelmed on Twitter)
Incentive Intelligence - Aligning individual and corporate goals through incentives, rewards and influence (@incentintel on Twitter)
Total Rewards Blog - News, trends and opinions about compensation, benefits and total rewards (@dsjanus on Twitter)
Wally Bock's Three Star Leadership Blog - Leadership, management and career issues (@wallybock on Twitter)
Work Engagement Blog - Engagement, burnout, leadership, teamwork and training (@workengagement on Twitter)
Work + Life Fit Blog - Work+Life issues and flexibility as a strategic imperative (@caliyost on Twitter)
Work Life Nation with Judy Martin - Work-life balance, workplace culture, flexibility, work and family concerns (@judymartin8 on Twitter).
Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/kafkan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Though this may seem like a revelation to some, it really shouldn’t be. In 1968, Frederick Herzberg published a book in which he argued that there were two different elements at play in the workplace: hygiene factors and motivators.
Hygiene factors were elements that if not considered could cause greater levels of dissatisfaction at work. That is, increasing hygiene factors beyond a certain level had no effect on worker attitudes. It was when they fell below certain levels that organizations had problems.
Motivators were factors that needed to be focused on to improve satisfaction. These were factors that needed continual attention because this was where managers and leaders could improve motivation.
Interestingly, pay (among others) was considered to be nothing but a hygiene factor, whereas achievement, recognition, and advancement (among others) were considered to be motivators.
Though our terminology has changed (we talk more about engagement than satisfaction), the ways to increase those positive outcomes has not. You could pay people all the money in the world, but if they do not like the work they do, if they are not recognized for their achievements, and if they stagnate in their positions, they will become disengaged.
This is obviously not to say that pay is unimportant. Pay is important, but only to a certain point. You have to pay people what they feel they are worth or you run the risk of sending them mixed messages (like, you are important, we just won’t pay you much). So, in a way, you have to reach a certain threshold when it comes to pay. However, that is just to keep people from becoming dissatisfied (or disengaged). If you want to take them to the next level, try something else.
Try giving them a positive work environment, with leaders who care and leaders who inspire. Try giving them the opportunity to excel. Try giving them opportunities to make their work more meaningful. Try giving them opportunities to grow and develop, personally and professionally.
Maybe I’m way off base here, but most people want their work to be fun and meaningful. Giving them the context in which to make their work fun and meaningful is the best way to motivate them. You’ll be glad you did.
The good news is that there are psychological tools that can be learned that are associated with lower medical costs for mental health disorders. The even better news is that these same skills are important business skills. Mindfulness, optimism, and resilience have each been linked, in empirical research, with reductions in relapse rates and prevention of depression, anxiety, and other diagnosable mental disorders. Mindfulness has also described by the Hay Group, a consulting firm at Harvard University, as a critical skill in leadership. Optimism has been studied by Martin Seligman, Ph.D., who noted that it is a key component in successful sales teams. The U.S. Army has initiated a project to teach resilience to soldiers, family members and Army civilians in an effort to reduce the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, lower suicide rates, enhance coping skills and help them thrive.
The Wellness movement helps people to function at a more optimal level. The psychological dimension is a critical component, something that the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners have discovered for themselves. What is your wellness program doing to address the psychological health of your workforce?
Check out this recent article on the dozens of dogs who accompany their owners to work on Capitol Hill and see just how easy it can be to accommodate dogs in the workplace. (Make sure you check out the slideshow, it’s cute.)
Bull in china shop jokes aside, even Replacements, Ltd., one of our PHWA winners, allows dogs to roam the floors of their china warehouse and cites the many benefits, as does another PHWA winner, Healthwise.
So for the rest of us, what can we do to educate our employers about such a great (free!) perk? The Humane Society of the United States publishes a book that covers policies on dogs in the workplace and other topics such as getting buy-in from management and how to prep your pooch for her office debut. If the culture at your organization lends itself to such ideas, put some feelers out there and see if it’s something your employees would like. You never know until you ask, and engaging them in the exploration of a new office perk will help them feel involved in the process and excited.
Above all else, if you decide a pets-at-work policy could work for your organization, make sure your company has clearly stated guidelines and rules in place before the first dog bounds through your doors – this will help ensure that everyone is wagging his tail.