Job Satisfaction Is Not All about Pay - Tell That to Our MPs

The Birmingham Post (England), January 17, 2013 | Go to article overview

Job Satisfaction Is Not All about Pay - Tell That to Our MPs


Byline: STEVENMCCABE

The announcement last week that a survey carried out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) which found that 69 per cent of Members of Parliament (MPs) believed themselves to be underpaid on PS65,738 and that PS86,250 was the amount considered to be representative of their responsibility should come as no surprise.

I make this statement not out of any sense of resentment or jealousy, quite the contrary.

My value system is that public service is a privilege that bestows honour and that representing your constituents in Parliament is one of the highest that can be achieved.

However, it brings us back to what is sufficient pay to attract the best candidates who will be motivated to give their all to the job and dedicated to upholding the highest standards and virtues of Parliament.

How much would this be? Let's look at executive pay. Does the fact that they are paid salaries and bonuses running into millions guarantee that we get the best decision-makers who ensure that shareholders' interests are well served? Take the banks. The fact that senior managers at the likes of RBS were paid salaries that were akin to a very significant lottery win certainly didn't mean that shareholders got a good return on investment. The issue of pay is always a really interesting question which concerns every person who wishes to motivate staff.

The common assumption is that pay is key to motivation.

One of the most interesting theories was that proposed by American psychologist Frederick Herzberg who carried out research into job satisfaction and in what is now regarded as a classic paper published 'One more time: How do you motivate employees?' in the Harvard Business Review.

In his research in the 1950s and 1960s Herzberg set out to explore the impact that attitude had on their levels of motivation.

Very sensibly he wanted to know what made people feel good about what people did in their jobs as opposed to what made them feel not so good.

What he came up with was the influence of two factors; 'hygiene' and motivaviewpoint tion and very importantly that money was included in the former and not the latter. Even more importantly he contended that his research showed that 'hygiene factors' (the etymology of the word hygiene is the Greek word meaning health) had the potential for dissatisfaction.

The import of this is that if you want to reduce dissatisfaction you must attend to the hygiene factors which as well as including pay, incorporates the way in which the organisation develops and implements policies and formal terms and conditions, and the relationships that exist.

As the argument goes, if people are leaving and they cite the fact that you don't pay them enough, raise the salaries on offer.

However, if you pay the 'going rate' and people are leaving it may be because other hygiene factors are not right or, more likely, they are attracted by the motivation factors on offer elsewhere which, according to Herzberg include achievement, recognition, the interest that the person derives from the work that is carried out, and the potential for advancement and growth. …

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