These 2 Psychological Hacks Will Help You Increase Workplace Productivity

Many experts have stressed the importance of happy and motivated employees to increase productivity. It is really a no-brainer that a satisfied and happy employee is more productive – and the management needs to keep them that way in order to see productivity charts go upstairs.

So what keeps an employee happy and satisfied at the workplace? If Frederick Herzberg is to be believed, job factors that determine employee happiness can be classified into “motivators” and “hygiene factors.”

Frederick Irvine Herzberg, an American psychologist and an influential figure in business management, propounded the Two Factor Theory of Motivation in 1959. Motivational factors, or “satisfiers,” yield positive satisfaction and motivate employees to achieve superior performance. These are the factors that are inherent in performing the job and which the employee perceives as intrinsically rewarding:

  • Recognition
  • Sense of achievement
  • Growth and promotional opportunities
  • Responsibilities
  • Meaningfulness of work

The “hygiene factors,” on the other hand, are essential for existence of motivation at the workplace. Unlike motivational factors, they do not lead to long-term motivation, but if absent, may lead to dissatisfaction. These “dissatisfiers,” or “maintenance factors,” are required to avoid dissatisfaction:

  • Salary
  • Company policies
  • Fringe benefits
  • Physical working conditions
  • Personal status
  • Relations with colleagues
  • Job security

Both factors work independent of each other. Presence of hygiene factors, although do not cause an increase in motivation and subsequently, rise in productivity; their absence do cause dissatisfaction. On the other hand, absence of motivational factors does not cause dissatisfaction but does cause loss of motivation and decreased satisfaction. This means that when you are trying to motivate your employees to increase productivity, you have to ensure that the “hygiene factors” are in place. Only then can you increase the worth of “motivational factors” and achieve any real enhancement in productivity.

Once you’ve taken care of the “hygiene factors,” let’s see how you can increase the “motivational factors” to push your employees to work harder and in turn, increase productivity. We’ll also examine a few apps (not necessarily business-oriented) that will help you get the most out of employees while allowing them to have fun and stimulate their intellect at the same time.

Employees will work harder if they are given achievable goals

… and be rewarded for achieving them. Now this would seem like common sense thinking, but it has a deep psychological reason behind it. The Expectancy Theory of motivation, proposed by Victor Vroom (along with Edward Lawler and Lyman Porter), says that behavior results from making choices consciously from various alternatives. The purpose of making a particular choice is to maximize pleasure and minimize discomfort.

In terms of employees and work productivity, it means that employees will decide how to act based on what they believe the outcome to be. In other words, employees can be motivated to increase productivity if they believe that their efforts will increase their performance and that this enhanced performance will lead to them being rewarded. This reward will eventually satisfy a need that they hold dear and if the desire to satisfy this need is strong enough to justify their increased efforts, they will work harder.

To help employees work harder, you need to set achievable goals. Planner Pro is a daily calendar, task manager, scheduler and coordination app that helps you create and assign tasks to a workgroup, set up and manage meetings, as well as plan and track projects and events with shared notes. It serves to simplify goal setting and achievement for teams with as little as a few taps on their phones.

And once they do achieve these goals, they need to be rewarded. These rewards may not necessarily always be monetary in nature (a pay rise or a bonus). They can be a promise for progression, praise and recognition of their efforts in front of the entire staff or an “Employee off the Month” type of competition.

Employees are motivated by the “human instinct of association”

While studying the Hawthorne Effect described earlier, Mayo noticed that the basic human instinct of association was very strong and determined productivity in ways never before studied.

In any organization, informal groups will form no matter what and these often cut through hierarchies. In every group, each individual will have an inherent desire to stand well with his or her fellows. This desire outweighs individual interest and this working group determines individual output.

The output is not defined by the management but by the group collective. In order to tap into this collective, it is essential to encourage formations of such groups and to remove any obstacles in their formation. One way to boost stronger ties between members is through gaming.

Gaming, as has been researched, itself has strong effects on our brains and is shown to positively affect motivation and creativity. And gaming is exceedingly easy to incorporate into today’s startup culture. Team bonding and healthy competition over puzzle games can be an effective way to let different kinds of people interact while bringing out their varied capabilities.

For instance, Planet Matrix is a game that combines fun, multitasking and problem solving – players need to figure out math operations that will keep a monkey navigating through space. As the game progresses, at certain points, the player is solving up to five different types of math operations in an arcade-like environment. This makes it visually striking while stimulating the brain. The game is addictive right off the bat even if you are not a “numbers person.”

To multiply the effects of a refreshing break from work would be to hold small multiplayer gaming sessions. These can help the employees to relax while staying alert, whereas company leadership can identify the “informal groups” that work well and efficiently together.

A game tike Tap and Smash, with its engaging multiplayer experience, is another great way to cool off. This is a Fruit Ninja meets Arkanoid meets Tetris game with randomly generated levels of varying difficulty, which ensure the player never relaxes or gets into “a groove.” Such games can serve to foster a time-focused, competitive performance in employees.

Parting thoughts

Employees are humans and humans are complex social beings. If you can plug into their psychology, both as individuals and as a group, you can leverage their desires, insecurities, emotions and aspirations to make them work harder. This will ensure a motivated workforce resulting in better productivity.

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