Developing a motivated workforce
A Nuclear Decommissioning Authority case study

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Page 4: Motivation in practice

A particularly valuable way of understanding how real jobs can meet human needs was developed by Frederick Herzberg in his 'two factor' theory of motivation. He found that achievement, recognition, responsibility and interest in the work were the true motivators. Company policy, supervision, work conditions and pay did matter, but could not motivate.

These 'hygiene factors' could cause dissatisfaction if they were absent or inadequate. Improvements in the hygiene factors would prevent dissatisfaction but would not provide motivation.

The financial rewards of a job are an essential part of this contract between employer and employee. In effect they are the market price of an employee's services. Although publicly-owned, NDA offers pay and conditions that are in line with similar private sector industries. This is important in enabling the company to attract talented and highly qualified staff.

Pay may also be structured to reward performance:

  • Piece-rate is a traditional method of payment but is only relevant if output can readily be measured.
  • Commission payments, which directly reward staff for achieving sales, are also unsuitable for NDA.
  • Performance related pay has become popular. This rewards employees who achieve their agreed targets. NDA sets personal and organisational targets that trigger additional payments.

More highly skilled employees look for long-term progression in their careers. This helps them meet their higher order needs. Much depends on the training and development opportunities within an organisation.  For many staff this growth in personal capabilities directly increases job satisfaction. It also makes promotion more likely. This in turn brings increased responsibility, status and esteem.

A job can also provide many non-financial benefits and incentives. Holidays and fringe benefits such as health insurance are examples of Herzberg's hygiene factors. Their absence or issues like poor administration can be major dissatisfiers. NDA offers generous leave, a good working atmosphere with a strong emphasis on communication and extensive support when staff need to relocate. This builds employee loyalty thereby reducing staff turnover.


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Nuclear Decommissioning Authority | Developing a motivated workforce