The absence of job dissatisfaction is not satisfaction, much less engagement.

That was a powerful conclusion from the research of Fredrick Herzberg back in the middle of the last century, and it is certainly true today. It’s a fundamental principle of how we engage employees and others who work for us.

Herzberg found that you first need to focus on removing the elements of DISsatisfaction:

  • Company policies
  • Supervision
  • Relationship with supervisor and peers
  • Work conditions
  • Salary
  • Status
  • Security

In practical terms, people need safety, respect, direction, and fair pay before anything else really matters. You can’t jump past these elements in pursuit of more advanced tools. Without these, people will leave – or be trapped, resentful, and disruptive.

But these basics don’t get you to job satisfaction and engagement. Those factors are:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • The work itself
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • Growth

To this list, I would also add PURPOSE, because a growing number of employees are seeking out that kind of larger contribution to society and the world. Yes, even in some job hidden down in the bowels of a large corporation.

Because these six factors are largely individualistic. It’s mostly about MY achievement, MY work, and MY advancement.

Especially with younger generations, workers are now also looking for the group experience which gives meaning and larger purpose.

That’s when the high levels of engagement and productivity REALLY get unlocked.