Image of a brain map

This was the headline release in HR Magazine in August 2014 and the premise was that either low wages lead to low productivity or that low productivity leads to low performance.  I guess you can argue from either perspective depending on which side of the fence you sit and your role in the company.

When I first started working in 1977 I lived at home and spent my wages at the weekend and lived for today, so more money in my purse was a good thing but I didn’t feel I necessarily needed to work any harder.

Image of a brain mapAs I spent more time in the workplace I realised not all was fair and equitable, hard work was not always rewarded either with a salary increase or a thank you.

I believe that fair pay and benefits are the basics of a successful company that keeps its workforce.  But not everyone is motivated to work harder and better for pay, if that’s was true nobody would work as a volunteer.

Referring back to “ Maslows  Hierachy” of needs (Maslow outlined a 5 stage hierarchy of needs whereby people are motivated to reach the highest level called self-actualization), which was our staple diet in 80’s marketing.  It’s apparent that once peoples basics needs have been met for safety, food and warmth, that we humans look for other forms of gratification and reward to motivate us to do better.

Its actually stages 4 and 5 of the model that are important in personal growth

  1. Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.
  2. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

But Motivation is often linked to engagement and belonging.  One of the ways to encourage belonging is to encourage personal responsibility.  There’s is a focus today on diabetes and stress, both of which are killers if left unchecked.

Workplace wellness days can boost staff engagement with health benefits.  It can be as simple as a Feel Good Fridays once a month to quarterly wellness days incorporating massage, exercise, nutrition, health checks etc.  Research from one company showed employee engagement increased from 76% to 81% over the year after they introduced wellness events

I think that’s proof in itself that wellness days are worth a trial to see if you can engage your staff and make them feel valued.  Also to encourage greater productivity, it’s a cheaper option than a salary increase and may have a more lasting effect.