How Two Factor Theory Enhances Employee Performance


The two-factor theory offers helpful insight into the minds of employees. It lets employers recognize factors that motivate or discourage them to manage employee engagement. By understanding what your employees want or do not want, you will be able to motivate them further.

Employees have to spend the greater part of their day at work. As a consequence, the workplace influences their attitude and performance. Accordingly, the workplace simultaneously offers reasons to be satisfied or dissatisfied. Employers can manage these reasons to enhance the performance of employees. In this post, you will learn how to use the two factor theory to motivate team members.

What is the Two Factor Theory?

The two factor theory was coined by Frederick Hezerberg, in 1959. It is also known as motivation-hygiene theory or dual factor theory. Hezerberg, a psychologist and behavioral scientist, conducted thorough research to pin point what causes job satisfaction. He found that there is a set of factors that cause employee satisfaction and another set that causes dissatisfaction.

Two factor theory states that these two sets of factors act independently, at the same time. The factors that lead to employee satisfaction are categorized as motivators. The reasons for dissatisfaction have been listed as hygiene factors. Employers can effectively control these factors to reduce dissatisfaction and increase satisfaction. Such efforts will invariably lead to improved employee performance and greater retention.

Motivators to Enhance Employee Satisfaction

Two factor theory has brilliantly laid the groundwork for making a job more satisfying. It identifies achievement, recognition, meaningful work, responsibility, advancement and growth as motivators. These motivators are intrinsic part of the job itself. Employers have to address these motivators to provide an enriching job experience. Job enrichment, in turn, will lead to employee satisfaction. When employees are satisfied, they are bound to perform better.

Praising the accomplishments of employees, rewarding their efforts, offering more meaningful work and promotion opportunities are simple tactics that lead to satisified employees. Instead of continuously directing employees, employers have to trust them with greater responsibilities. This independence will make employees feel included in company operations. By focusing on the list of motivators, employers can easily derive effective employee motivating strategies.

Hygiene Factors to Decrease Employee Dissatisfaction

Hezerberg has termed hygiene factors to describe the reasons for employee dissatisfaction. The recognized hygiene factors include status, job security, company policies, work conditions, fringe benefits, salary, relationship with management and supervision. These factors can either increase or decrease an employee’s dissatisfaction levels. As you can imagine, if employees are dissatisfied, their performance will suffer dramatically. Employers can prevent this by managing the business’ hygiene factors appropriately.

Competitive and standardized pay scale is the best tool for reducing employee dissatisfaction. Employers must provide reasonable salaries to employees, according to their skills and designation. Fair company policies regarding holidays, breaks, dress code and flexible working hours help lower dissatisfaction levels. Furthermore, employee health care plans, a safe working environment and rapport with supervisors also enable employees to work efficiently. Undoubtedly, controlling hygiene factors enable employers to eliminate job dissatisfaction.

Two factor theory clearly points out the reasons of employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Employers can utilize this theory to design effective performance enhancing strategies. These strategies can increase job satisfaction and reduce dissatisfaction. In effect, two factor theory improves the overall productivity of employees and the business organization overall.

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