Lowest Motivators that Can Trip You UP
Retaining High Performers

The Hygiene Factors of Motivation

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We come to chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation, from Routledge (https://amzn.to/2eqdSQq). One vital aspect of this chapter is the exploration of what we call ‘Hygiene Factors’ in Motivational Maps’ jargon. 

“Your lowest motivational score can be very revealing. The top three scores are more exciting, but noting our lowest motivator can also give useful clues about improving our motivation and our life. First, ask the question: is my lowest motivator causing me a problem? We sometimes call this a hygiene factor, which means that the motivator does not motivate us, but its absence can lead to de-motivation.”  [from Chapter Four of Mapping Motivation: James Sale, Routledge, [ https://bit.ly/2ep0dxJ ]

One of the really fascinating aspect of motivation that Mapping Motivation explores is the idea of hygiene factors. It would be very easy to focus on someone's top three motivators - or a team's or whole organisation's - and think one had the job done. But we must constantly be aware that all nine motivators are related in the psyche and so effect each other, whatever their rank order is. Indeed, the least important motivator in terms of its effect on our motivation is - paradoxically - vitally important for our overall welfare. Thus, the phrase 'hygiene factor’ comes from the work of Hertzberg and is used in mapping to refer to - though not exclusively - the lowest motivator in our profile.

What Hertzberg meant by a hygiene factor was some aspect of the work that did not motivate the individual, but its absence might become extremely de-motivating. So, for example, people in an organisation, may not be motivated by tea/coffee or canteen refreshments, but the absence of their availability over time in the work place may seriously begin to demotivate the staff and lead them to take a negative view of management. This idea is taken a stage further in Mapping Motivation and Motivational Maps. Perhaps the synonym for 'hygiene factors' that would best convey what exactly extra we mean is: 'Achilles' Heel'. That the absence of some motivators - in a given context, not in an absolute sense - may prove to be extremely detrimental to the performance (and so work well-being) of an individual (and also read team and organisation).

Some examples here might best illustrate what I mean. Take the Searcher motivator: the desire to make a difference. Making a difference is always for someone or some group. The essence of making difference means having a customer/client focus. Suppose then that one is appointed to a role where customer focus is the very essence of the role, AND suppose that the Searcher motivator is the lowest drive in your profile. Problem? Well, the person may have the skill set, the qualifications, the previous experience to fulfil a customer service role, BUT - deep down - they don't really get a buzz out of it. Hmm! Long term that will definitely prove to be a problem; and it may even be an issue short to medium term, depending on the severity of the scoring.

Or take the Director motivator - the desire to control and manage - and imagine this being lowest in the profile of somebody applying for a management job? Or take Builder - the competitive desire for more money - and this being lowest in someone in a commission-led sales role? Or take the Spirit - the desire for freedom and autonomy - and the applicant applying for a desk job where every 10 minutes of their time has to be accounted for and charged out to a client? I could go through all 9 motivators and position them as number 9, the least important in someone's profile, and then provide a job or role context in which that lack of drive might clearly be seen to have important implications for overall performance.

In this sense, then, it should be clear what I mean by an Achilles Heel; it is a weakness that can quite literally trip you up in the job you are doing, because ultimately you lose the desire, you lose the internal energy - the fire - that makes doing the role satisfying. One of the tragedies of work is that so few individuals understand this; if they did then they'd stop applying for jobs that can never satisfy them.

But Mapping Motivation isn't just about analysing problems; it's about providing solutions, and there are two solutions here that are extremely useful. One is to head off the problem before it arises: in other words, use the Motivational Maps in the recruitment process. Select more people to work in your organisation whose motivators match the roles you have available. Motivational Maps has a wonderful and cost-effective process to help businesses do just that.

The second solution is what we call Reward Strategies. Licensees of Motivational Maps are all trained to provide creative and pointed ideas to compensate for the hygiene factor, and to enable managers to do the same. So, to take one example from above - and perhaps the most common - Director motivator as the lowest for someone in a management position? The key reward strategy here is to get the manager to accept that managing is not what they want to do and as a result to increase their knowledge and skill set in the one area that could compensate for ineffective or negligent management: namely, delegation skills. Even though one does not especially want to manage, if one has effective delegation skills one can become super-competent in this area. So that becomes the positive area to focus on.

For more information on hygiene factors and how they work, do take a look at chapter 4 of Mapping Motivation. As Sam says, That's a real eye-opener for sure!

Comments

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Instilling motivation isn't easy, but it's necessary if you want your employees to grow and stay satisfied with their jobs. Creating an environment of transparency, where you speak openly about your business to your employees and they feel comfortable coming to you with anything that's on their minds can do wonders for the collective motivation of your workplace...Offer good gifts to best employee or team....

james sale

Thanks Fashion CGO - appreciate your reading my blog

Regina

Staff should be motivated.

james sale

Agreed Regina - and finding ways to do that is what we are into! Thanks.

Angwenyi Maobe Michael

Motivation is equal to out put.

Angwenyi Maobe Michael

motivation can improve the staff relationship

Suzie

i found this interesting that 'motivation that Mapping Motivation explores is the idea of hygiene factors'

james sale

Thanks for your comments!

Kamau

Very Interesting

sylvia

I find this Interesting

Jacque

This is an eye opener for sure.

Dorcas

Hygiene is really key to everything. Whether cooking, body, animal etc required by every thing

Martin Buuri Kaburia

This is a motivation in itself

james sale

Thanks Martin

Kyle Crocco

I never thought about the factors that are removed that can demotivate us. Basically, they are invisible support until they are gone. Good tip.

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