Motivation plays an important role in any business and two of the most prominent theories of motivation are Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation and Hygiene.
The former theory is often represented in the form of a pyramid where the physiological needs of shelter, hunger, etc. are at the bottom or first level and self actualization at the top or final level; with the fulfilment of each level of needs the individual moves on to the next. Thus, the satisfaction of a lower level need motivates people to aim for the higher level needs. In the latter Herzberg’s theory, there is not much focus on the lower or physiological needs as factors driving motivation rather Herzberg specifically focuses on two on the job motivators or needs, i.e. hygiene e.g. job satisfaction, job security, salary and fringe benefits and motivation - challenging work, recognition, responsibility.
Figure 1 Maslow Hierarchy of Needs (Cecil &Rothwell, 2006)
Google Inc is today the most sought after destination for employees and that is because of the way it treats them. The work environment at Google, the Innovation Time Off policy which allows employees to devote 20% of their working hours to project they like, open culture with a lack of rigid hierarchy, numerous other benefits and perks 24 hour doughnut shop, Google café, higher power workstations, workout rooms even the décor of the office building ensures that workers are taken care of. In fact, one of the benefits offered by the company is that it pays half the salary of a deceased employee to her/his spouse for a decade. By doing all this, Google has scored high on both Maslow’s and Herzberg’s models - the two lower levels of Maslow’s pyramid are easily taken care of among the employees of this company as the average yearly salary at Google Inc is a six figure amount. Thus, keeping in mind the areas of commonality between both theories, i.e. the social, self image and self actualization related needs, Google fares significantly better than other companies. The way Google has combined work and play, given primacy in appreciation and innovation, offers recognition, responsibility, treats employees with respect, the open mode of communication it maintains all combined have a positive effect on the employees self esteem, reputation, self respect, sense of identity growth etc. ultimately motivating to do her best. Thus, today employees all over the world vie for a position with this company.
Apple Case Study
Another company which shares Google’s ethos is Apple. Here too the basic physiological needs of shelter, food, security, etc. are easily taken care of as the average salary of an Apple employee is around $ 108,483, which can take care of one’s survival given there is no extraordinary adversity present. Thus having taken care of the basic needs, the company focuses on the other needs of esteem. The company provides a habitat environment where the employees can play and relax while working. The company provides various other benefits and perks like work out station, salon, regular appraisals with raises etc. Here too, much like Google Inc. employees given responsibility, recognition and the space to grow and innovate for e.g. the erstwhile CEO of the company, Steve Jobs didn’t dictate what the Iphone should be, rather he just asked his team to develop a phone that people would be completely in love with and thus, not even leave their homes without it.
Both these companies have met the esteem needs of their employees, allowed them to explore their own capabilities, which has motivated them to perform so well. Consequently both companies have become immensely successful today with employees from all over the world wanting to work for them of their own accord.
Cecil, R. D., & Rothwell, W. J. (2006). Preliminary Materials. In R. D. Cecil, & W. J. Rothwell, Next Generation Management Development: The Complete Guide and Resource (pp. 162-194). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.
Manjoo, F. (2013, January). The Happiness Machine. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/01/google_people_operations_the_secrets_of_the_world_s_most_scientific_human.html