Why doesn't the motivation last long

Incentive systemsWhat motivates employees the most?

Superiors cannot “intervene in employees” and directly rearrange or implant needs, wishes, motives or goals. Superiors are just one of the many influencing factors that affect employees. With regard to the question of the sources of employee motivation, three models in particular play a role in practice:

  • Two factor theory
  • Maslow's hierarchy of needs
  • Meaning-centered motivation

Two factor theory

Frederick Hertzberg's two-fact theory is based on a study in which employees were asked about events that led to high levels of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Two factors that affect work motivation were identified: hygiene factors and motivators.

Hygiene factors include external incentives such as remuneration, working conditions and management style. If hygiene factors are missing or if they are too weak, this leads to dissatisfaction. The motivators include factors such as assuming responsibility, recognition and pride in achievement. They directly promote work motivation. Managers must ensure that the hygiene factors are right. In addition, they should take measures that appeal to the motivators.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs, in turn, divides human needs into five levels, which form the levels of the pyramid from bottom to top:

  • Basic physiological needs
  • security
  • Social needs
  • Appreciation
  • Self-actualization

The basic idea: A person strives to ascend in the pyramid, whereby the needs of the lower level must always be met before he ascends to the next level.

Meaning-centered motivation

When it comes to motivation in the context of current management issues, however, neither the two-fact theory nor the hierarchy of needs are of any help. Viktor Frankl's thesis is more suitable for everyday management, and sees the experience of meaning as the decisive motivator. The basic idea of ​​"meaning-centered motivation" formulated by him is: The experience of meaning is the strongest motivation for a person.

An example: A project manager in development services may be paid less than someone in industry. In addition, he may be working in an environment that barely meets Maslow's basic and security needs, for example when he is leading a well construction project in the African steppe. Nevertheless, he is highly motivated and fulfills his task with a high level of personal commitment. Such employees experience meaning in their work. They act out of inner conviction and work with above-average success - and they are far from falling into a hectic operational environment.