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What is Herzberg Two Factor Theory? How to use to boost productivity?

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26th Jun, 2023
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What is Herzberg Two Factor Theory? How to use to boost productivity?

Employees are one of the significant foundations of the company. The company’s growth depends mainly on the performance of the employees. It becomes the duty of the organisations to make sure that employees work to their maximum productivity. Hence, the first step in that direction is taking care of the employee’s needs and ensuring their physical as well as mental well being. After all, happy employees lead to a healthy business. As a result, companies are always on the lookout for ways to enhance the productivity of their employees.

What is Herzberg Two Factor Theory?

Herzberg Two Factor Theory, also known as the Motivation-Hygiene Theory or Dual-Factor Theory, was developed in 1959 by American psychologist Frederick Herzberg. The theory posits that there are two sets of factors—motivators and hygiene factors—that drive an individual’s job performance and satisfaction. The motivators are intrinsic to the role itself—things like recognition and responsibility—while the hygiene factors relate more to external elements such as working conditions, salary, and benefits.

By understanding how these two sets of factors interact with each other, managers can better understand their team members’ motivation levels and use this knowledge to increase job satisfaction. According to Herzberg’s research, motivators lead to increased engagement and job satisfaction, while hygiene factors can only prevent dissatisfaction. This means that for a manager to increase employee motivation and job satisfaction, they need to focus on the motivators rather than the hygiene factors.

The Herzberg Two Factor Theory has been widely studied in both academic and business contexts and is still used today by many employers. It provides an important lesson in understanding how employees are motivated—focusing solely on salary or other external rewards is not enough; it’s also necessary to look at the intrinsic motivators of recognition, responsibility, etc. With this knowledge in hand, managers can create a workplace where people are truly engaged and motivated to do their best work.

Examples of Herzberg Theory of Motivation

Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation is a powerful tool for managers to understand how their team members are motivated. Here are some examples of how this theory can be applied in the workplace:

Embracing the intrinsic motivators

Recognition, responsibility, and growth opportunities are all important factors when it comes to motivating team members. Giving employees recognition for their efforts and giving them more challenging tasks that require them to learn new skills can help increase job satisfaction and engagement.

Improving working conditions

Pay, benefits, work environment, and other hygiene factors also play an important role in employee motivation levels. Managers should strive to create an environment where people feel safe and respected while also offering competitive salaries and benefits packages.

Understanding the balance between motivators and hygiene factors

It’s important for managers to understand that focusing solely on salary or other external rewards is not enough; they must also take into account the intrinsic motivators of recognition, responsibility, etc. Only then can a workplace be truly engaging and motivating for employees.

By using Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation, employers can better understand how their employees are motivated and create an environment where people are excited to work hard and succeed. It is an invaluable tool for any manager looking to increase job satisfaction in their team.

How to enhance the productivity of employees?

The most important question that all businesses face is what steps they can take to improve employees’ productivity. Here are a few ways or pointers that help improve the employee’s productivity.

  • Smart delegation of work-

Effective delegation is the key to getting the maximum work done in minimum time. Employees who are experienced should be given strategic decision making roles where they can put in their learnings to use. On the other hand, not-so-experienced employees should be given parts that are comparatively more straightforward but are necessary for them to know in the future.

  • Effective communication-

A clear and straight-forward communication is the key to many problems. Often, a delay in communication leads to a wastage of time, which reduces productivity. There are many new ways available to enhance the flow of communication available nowadays. Efficient team communication tool like Slack is an excellent example of this.

  • Imparting training to employees-

Training employees in the new methods and keeping them up to date with the latest technologies. Having regular mentorship programmes can be one of the ways to train the employees and enhance their productivity.

  • Keep employee’s mental health in check

Having perfect physical and mental health is the number one requirement of a productive workforce. It is the organisation’s responsibility that the employees are in excellent health and are not overburdened with the work.

  • Setting attainable goods-

In order to get efficient results from the employees, they must be assigned an adequate amount of work, not more and not less. This increases the employee’s productivity to a much greater extent.

  • Giving adequate off period to the employees-

To expect great results from the employees, they should also be given the weekends off in an absolute sense. This means that they should not be burdened with tasks and unrealistic deadlines to be met during the weekends. Once the employees come recharged after the break, they are able to have greater focus and motivation.

  • Provide feedback to the employees-

A feedback system is necessary to ensure that employees can know where they are lacking and can improve on their flaws. Honest feedback plays a vital role in improving the employees’ productivity over a period of time.

  • Reducing distractions-

An average human tends to get distracted while working for long hours. The main culprit is social media in this regard. It is impractical to take harsh measures to curb the distraction, such as banning phones in the office. Instead, companies can provide regular breaks to employees so that they don’t become overburdened and have the chance to cool off.

  •   Incentives-

Providing incentives can work as a wonder in boosting employees’ productivity. Incentives should not be only material but can be psychological as well. Providing them with recognition and appreciation for the work done can also motivate them.

  •   Play according to the employees’ strengths-

A great environment is one where every individual has the chance to grow into their maximum capacity. Singling out the employees’ strengths and using their talents leads to their as well as the company’s growth. Making improvements in the existing skills takes less time than learning a new skill from scratch. Hence, this is one of the most effective ways of enhancing employees’ productivity.

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Herzberg Two Factor Theory Of Motivation

Frederick Herzberg, a behavioural scientist, proposed a theory in 1959. The two-factor theory or motivator hygiene theory argues that two factors can be used to influence motivation in the workplace.

The two factors are Motivators and Hygiene Factors.


Motivator factors are those which yield positive satisfaction to employees. These factors act as a propelling force for the employees to give out the best performance. These involve the psychological satisfaction that employees derive after performing a task. Motivating factors include:

  •               Achievement-
      • It is crucial for the employee to feel a sense of achievement after performing a task. The purpose of achievement acts as a significant motivating factor that helps the employee move further in their career
  •              Responsibility-
      • The responsibility of the task performed acts as the primary motivation for employees to put their 100 per cent into the work.
  •            Recognition-
      • Getting praise and recognition from the job makes an effort worthwhile for the employees. This boosts their morale and en=ncourages them to improve further.
  •          Growth opportunities-
    • One of the essential things is to have the opportunity for growth and learning. This includes proper and timely promotions as well.
  •           Nature of the work-
    • The work should be such that it provides the employees with job satisfaction is challenging enough for them, so they have the chance to learn new things and not feel bored.

Hygiene factors

Hygiene factors are pretty different from motivators. These are the factors that have to be compulsorily present for motivation in the workplace. They don’t lead to any positive satisfaction, but their absence leads to dissatisfaction. These are also known as dissatisfiers or maintenance factors. Hygiene factors include:

  • Relationships-

A healthy relationship with colleagues and superiors is a necessary condition. Employees don’t want to work in a toxic environment.

  • Monetary Compensation-

The compensation should be fair and should be according to the market standards.

  • Policies of the company-

The company’s policies should be fair to everyone. There should not be any discrimination on any basis in the organisation.

  • Working conditions-

The workplace should be hygienic and safe for the employees.

  • Status-

The employee’s job status within the organisation should be maintained and not tampered with frequently.

  • Security-

Employees should have the security of their job and should not have the pressure or fear of getting fired anytime without any valid reason.

If you are interested in making a career in the field of human resources, you should check out the Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Human Resource Management offered by the third-ranked college in the country, Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA). The course equips with you all the knowledge necessary to venture out and make a successful career in the field of Human Resource Management. You get access to live sessions, case studies, assignments, and practical projects to learn as well as test your knowledge. There are also weekly doubt sessions held to clear the doubts. Additionally, you get access to the vast alumni network of LIBA to help in your professional journey afterwards.


Human Resource Management has seen many developments in recent times. Organisations try out different theories and methods to enhance employees’ productivity and improve their mental well-being. The field of Human Resource Management offers a great career opportunity and handsome pay. This is one of the most preferred career stream for youngsters out there.



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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is the average salary of a human resource manager?

The average salary of an HR manager is INR 8 LPA.

2 2. What are the limitations of Herzberg Two factor theory?

Although Herzberg's Two-factor theory has many advantages, it also suffers from limitations. Two-factor theory overlooks situational variables and ignores blue-collar workers.

3 3. What is the future scope in the field of Human Resource Management?

The future scope of HRM is bright as many new companies are being incorporated daily, and HR is a necessary part of any organisation.

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