Motivation is an important key to sustained individual and team performance - perhaps the top key! Can we directly motivate another person? Not really - but we can intentionally foster a climate that helps people motivate themselves. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said it well - "Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it."

The secret to effective motivation is to promote intrinsic motivation - that internal motivation people can have to perform well for psychological reasons that go beyond external rewards. Modern day motivational expert Daniel Pink asserts that, "Intrinsically motivated employees find more personal satisfaction in their work, and are consistently more motivated, with less prodding and cajoling from management."

How do we intrinsically motivate employees? We can get some guidance by reviewing the findings of the classic motivation research of Dr. Frederick Herzberg and validated by numerous studies since then. Let's review the basic findings of Herzberg's "Two Factor Motivational Model."

Two Factor Motivational Model: Satisfiers versus Dissatisfiers
Herzberg and other researchers have found that work environments contain "hygiene" factors that if not done well lead to job dissatisfaction (i.e. are "dissatisfiers"). Two key points are 1) not doing well on these hygiene factors will contribute to job dissatisfaction and 2) doing well on these factors will NOT lead to job satisfaction - but will keep motivation neutral. The primary hygiene (dissatisfiers) are:
1) Company policy and administration
2) Supervision
3) Relationship with supervisor
4) Work conditions
5) Salary

The key here is to participatively engage with employees and develop policies, practices, and work conditions that are viewed as fair and positive. By itself you will not be contributing much to the satisfaction and motivation of your employees. But you will avoid fueling dissatisfaction and demotivating them.

Satisfiers (Motivators)
Herzberg and other researchers have also discovered a set of factors that are considered "satisfiers" or "motivators." Assuming the hygiene factors are being satisfactorily met, these factors are what truly inspire and motivate employees. And these factors have a strong "intrinsic" bent to them - they speak to our heart-felt psychological needs and can be intrinsic to the job. There are six major motivators:
1) Achievement: Employees need to have a sense of achievement, and that they are accomplishing something that matters.

2) Recognition: People desire to be appreciated and recognized by their bosses and others for their contributions.

3) Work Itself: The work should be meaningful, interesting, and challenging for the employee to perform and feel motivated.

4) Responsibility: The employee must hold themselves responsible for the work. The supervisors should give them ownership of the work and minimize control but retain accountability.

5) Advancement: Employees should feel that by excelling in their current work, they have the opportunity to advance in responsibilities and into other positions that they find appealing.

6) Growth: Employees should feel they have opportunities to grow their skills and develop as value- added members of the organization.

External rewards do have their place and can help motive under some circumstances. But what is interesting about the above list is these are not external, reward-driven factors, but involve intrinsic elements that can be cultivated by intentional job enrichment and motivational management practices.

All generations in the work force desire and can be inspired by these intrinsic motivators - especially the younger generation. For example, I am a baby boomer who has been with the same company from the day I graduated from college years ago. In contrast, my oldest daughter left her first job after only working there less than a year - and took a small pay cut! Why? She wanted to work someplace where the motivators above were more evident - she now has been at her second job five years and loves it!

Principles for Putting Satisfiers (Motivators) Into Practice
The key to applying the satisfiers is to enrich jobs to make them psychologically appealing and inspiring. Following is a table of principles to help us enrich jobs:
Principle:                                                                                  Motivators Involved:
Remove some controls while retaining accountability.                   Responsibility & Achievement
Increase the accountability of individuals for their own work.          Responsibility & Recognition
Greater personal responsibility for quality of work, less scrutiny
by supervisors.

Giving a person a complete natural unit of work (e.g. let                 Responsibility, Achievement & Recognition
employees sign a letter they produced or present a report they

Granting additional authority to employees; job freedom.               Responsibility, Achievement & Recognition

Sharing some reports and information directly with                       Internal Recognition
workers rather than through the supervisors.

Introducing new and more difficult tasks not previously                  Growth & Learning

Assign individuals specific or specialized tasks, enabling             Responsibility, Growth & Advancement
them to become experts.

Bring employees to some meetings; give employees credit          Recognition, Growth
for their work that goes to people outside the team.

Give a person opportunity to lead special projects                        Recognition, Growth, Advancement
and assignments.

Let me close with a quote from Homer Rice. "You can motivate by fear and you can motivate by reward. But both of these methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation." I wish you well in your pursuit of creating a motivating work environment that will inspire your employees - and lead to great performance and results for your team!

P.S. Hope to see you at the National Postal Forum March 17-20 in San Francisco and/or MAILCOM April 28 - May 1 in Atlantic City!
Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, ICP, CCM,CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Billing, Credit and Special Attention Operations for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Oregon that serves over 825,000 customers. Wes teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national Conferences like MAILCOM, National Postal Forum, FUSION and others. He would like to thank his students in the George Fox University Organizational Theory class for their contributions to this article. Wes would love to hear your feedback and article ideas and can be contacted at Check out his personal web-site for free information (