Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Motivating the workforce: beyond the ‘two-factor’ model

Elizabeth Ann Shannon
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Postgraduate Programs, School of Health Sciences, Private Bag 34, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia. Email: e.shannon@utas.edu.au

B Leadership and Management Development, Department of Health and Human Services, Human Resources Management and Strategy, GPO Box 125 Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia. Email: elizabeth.shannon@dhhs.tas.gov.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16279
Submitted: 16 December 2016  Accepted: 8 July 2017   Published online: 19 October 2017

Abstract

Objective The aim of the present study was to understand the factors motivating health and human services professionals in the workplace, thus adding to the body of knowledge associated with employee motivation.

Methods Brainstorming research was performed on frontline and emerging managers in Tasmanian public sector organisations. Coding categories were inductively developed from the data, then deductively analysed using Herzberg’s two-factor model.

Results Communication was the most significant factor affecting staff motivation. When described as ‘good’, it was open, honest, appropriate and timely. Emotional factors, including a sense of being respected and valued, were also highly regarded. Material resources, such as budgets, staffing and physical amenities, were the third most cited factor affecting workforce motivation.

Conclusions Contrary to most previous research, the present study found that some factors – like communication or resources – could be a source of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, depending on whether they supported the individual and the team. The research method chosen in the present study differed from most using the two-factor model in that it did not use closed survey questions. The breadth of these results reflects the ability to provide a more nuanced response.

What is known about the topic? Professionals working in health and human services have a high degree of authority and autonomy. Increasing staff motivation has the potential to positively influence organisational and individual outcomes.

What does this paper add? This paper provides greater insight into factors increasing staff motivation. It also suggests methodological improvements for studies using the two-factor model.

What are the implications for practitioners? The insights into staff motivation may be used by employers to improve outcomes and increase workforce satisfaction.

Additional keywords: health care administration, performance management, workplace motivation.


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