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How Does Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory Explain How Companies Are Attracting and Retaining Gen Y Employees?

Essay by   •  July 19, 2011  •  Case Study  •  2,657 Words (11 Pages)  •  2,651 Views

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1. How does Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory explain how companies are attracting and retaining Gen Y employees?

Herzberg's two-factor theory identifies job context as the source of job dissatisfaction and job content as the source of job satisfaction. Hygiene factor in the job context are sources of job dissatisfaction. Motivator factors in the job content are sources of job satisfaction. In this theory, job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are separate dimensions in the two-factor theory. Taking action to improve a hygiene factor will not make people satisfied with their job; it will only prevent them from being dissatisfied on these matters. Motivator factors are the key link to satisfaction. When motivator factors are substantial, high job satisfaction raises motivation and performance.

After we get a clear picture of Herzberg's two-factor theory, we can try figuring out how Herzberg's two-factor theory explains how companies are attracting and retaining Gen Y employees. According to Herzberg's two-factor theory, the best method to recruit and keep Gen Y is to decrease hygiene factors and increase motivator factors. The surprising fact that accounting firms dominated BusinessWeek's second annual ranking of the best companies for new college graduates proves this point. Because these accounting firms are among the first to pay close attention to how to attract and keep Gen Y. Ernst & Young uses Facebook to let prospective employees talk freely with real ones. Deloitte will show a rap video about office life--made by interns--to give students a realistic view of the company. And PWC requires some bosses to get a second opinion on their evaluations of new hires to make sure the feed back is clear enough, the goals ambitious enough for kids who are uncomfortable with ambiguity. All these things accounting firms did are motivator factors resulting in job satisfaction. They provided Gen Y with recognition, advancement and growth. So it is rational that accounting firms can have top ranking in BusinessWeek's second annual ranking of the best companies for new college graduate.

Edouard S. Roland's story is another good example. Roland graduated from Baruch College with a degree in computer information systems this May and went to work as consultant with Deloitte. He thinks his job at Deloitte is funny, flexible and challenging. On the contrary, he doesn't like an intern he did earlier at private banking. He feels the things he was doing there were tedious. But Deloitte is willing to work with his schedule. He also thinks that he is really developing himself through managing his time. When he was assigned to a client on the second or third day, he was delighted to be hold in such high esteem. Now he is very...very satisfied with the job at Deloitte. He feels like he could stay here and be on the partner track. Obviously, his story tells us that the more motivator factors, the higher job satisfaction; it is possible for a company to use motivator factors to attract or retain new college graduates.

But we should not neglect this crucial statement that improving the hygiene factors will only decrease job dissatisfaction; it will not increase job satisfaction. Hygiene factors contain organizational policies, quality of supervision, working conditions, base wage or salary, relationships with peers, relationships with subordinates, status and security. For instance, Google first-year salaries now average $60,000 to $65,000 (and that's before bonuses). Being a Googler has its perks; Employees enjoy free lunches, on-site massage, and yoga. All these programs never generate job satisfaction on account of the fact that they are all hygiene factors. Consequently, Google's ranking is lower than accounting firms.

To summarize, decreasing hygiene factors and increasing motivator factors will help company to attract and retain Gen Y employees.

2. How does Reinforcement Theory explain how in Motorola secured effort and creativity from members of the RAZR Team?

Reinforcement is the administration of a consequence as a result of behavior. Organizational behavior modification (OB Mod) is the systematic reinforcement of desirable work behavior and the non-reinforcement or punishment of unwanted work behavior. OB Mod includes four basic reinforcement strategies: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement (or avoidance), punishment, and extinction.

Positive reinforcement is the administration of positive consequences that tend to increase the likelihood of repairing the behavior in similar settings. It indicates proper behavior, makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again, and makes people feel good.

Positive reinforcement strategy is applied into Motorola RAZR Team. Roger Jellicoe is a good example. When Jellicoe had dinner with Rob Shaddock, a senior wireless executive, Jellicoe showed him the sketches of what the phone might look like. Midway through the meal, Shaddock told Jellicoe the job was his. The job Jellicoe wanted was the reward to his fantastic idea of the phone. This reward indicated Jellicoe's proper behavior and made him continue performing well. Another example in point is that the team members decided for themselves that the company was wrong and four extra millimeters in width was acceptable; furthermore, they were able to construct a phone with all the features they wanted that measure 13.9 millimeters at the beam, exceeding the target by a little more than an eighth of an inch. Their achievements are the result of application of positive reinforcement. Because rewards can make it more likely that the behavior will occur again. The application of positive reinforcement strategy still continued. Last July several key players from the RAZR development team were asked to appear at a meeting of top executives at company headquarters. Then, as the team members filled in, the executives awaiting them rose in applause, delivering a standing ovation followed by news that the team members would be also be rewarded with a boatload of stock options. Apparently, Motorola upper-level management can fully use positive reinforcement strategy to motivate the employees. I believe that Motorola will keep creative and powerful due to this point.

Another critical strategy Motorola applied is negative reinforce (avoidance). Negative reinforcement is the withdrawal of negative consequences, which tends to increase the likelihood of repeating the behavior in a similar setting; it is also known as avoidance. In 2004, when Ed Zander, former Sun Microsystems president, began to run Motorola, he used avoidance to treat the Motorola



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