From Theory to Practice: Improving Employee Job Satisfaction

October 06, 2017 | Thought Pieces

From Theory to Practice Improving Employee Job Satisfaction

With disruptive trends affecting today’s business landscape, organizations are faced with the challenge of keeping their critical talents engaged and satisfied. This blog series looks at proven, time-tested organizational theories to help employers design compensation and rewards programs that will meet the needs of their diverse workforce.

Today’s business landscape has never been so complex. In fact, it has been well documented that organizations and technology are evolving at a much larger rate than people can keep up. Each year, technological innovations present unique challenges, new skills to learn, and new assumptions to test and validate.

Coupled with this is the entry of new generations in the workforce: Generation Y and Z. These generational groups are separated only by a few years but have different cultures and needs. Human resource professionals and business leaders are now pressured to ensure that employees’ diverse needs are heard and met for overall job satisfaction across the workplace.

See related: Five Insights for Implementing a Successful Performance and Rewards System

In this article, STORM shares insights on a proven, time-tested organizational behavior theory and how companies can translate this concept into actionable plans. This is Herzberg’s Theory of Job Satisfaction, which focuses on two factors: hygiene and motivation.

Herzberg's Two Factor Model

Hygiene factors are elements of a job that result in job dissatisfaction when not provided. These include salary, interpersonal relationships, benefits, working conditions, and the like. Providing these hygiene factors will not result in job satisfaction, but the absence of it will result in job dissatisfaction. This could be considered the basic elements of a job, which explains why taking it away would result in the employee feeling dissatisfied, but providing it only fulfills their foundational needs.

Motivation factors are elements of a job that result in job satisfaction when provided. These are described as the actual work, opportunity for growth, achievement, responsibility, and advancement. The presence of motivation factors would lead to job satisfaction, but its absence would not lead to job dissatisfaction.


Hygiene: Applying theory to practice

The hygiene factors presented were especially interesting for STORM. It provided insight into the foundational needs of employees before thinking about engaging and motivating them. As a benefits technology firm, the first step is to define hygiene for an organization and support that with technology.

This takes the form of STORM’s feasibility study, where our consultants, along with management, carefully comb through benefits data to develop a customized program tailored to the needs of employees. Implementing the program requires an analysis of the organization’s policies on benefits, salaries, and the like.

See related: Flexible Benefits: A 21st Century HR Painkiller

Additionally, communication channels, information security policies, and other relevant company information are considered to ensure that the program will really benefit employees. Once the program is launched, employees now have a choice on what benefits they consider hygiene, and use the remaining budget on more relevant benefits–regardless of what generation they are from, and no matter what need they want to fulfill. It is interesting to note that implementing a program on benefits and integrating it with technology improves not just one factor of hygiene, but multiple parts as well.

However, a program can only go so far in achieving employee satisfaction. Nothing can take the place of ensuring that other factors are also met–companies must make sure salaries are fair, policies are clear, interpersonal relationships are maintained, working conditions are safe, and supervisors are doing their jobs.

Taking a look at hygiene focuses on the backbone of an organization and ensuring that these are in place before tackling the motivation factors, which will be the topic of the second part of this article.


Subscribe to our blog  to receive updates on Part 2 of this article. If you are interested to discover more about how we put these theories into practice, learn more about our flexible benefits platform here.



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