CompHealth Blog

Employer Resources Hiring and Retention

The Difference between Satisfiers and Motivators for Job Seekers

Businessman whistling and happily while going to work.In a job seeker’s market, it takes a herculean effort to find great employees — and it’s even harder to keep them. Across all jobs, the national turnover rate is more than 16 percent. The physician turnover rate isn’t much better. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 25 percent of physicians quit within the first three years of joining a practice.

Unfortunately, physician recruiters aren’t just combating retention concerns, they also have to contend with the ever increasing physician shortage, which is predicted to rise somewhere between 61,700 and 94,700 over the next decade.

Understanding how to entice job seekers to your facility along with implementing effective retention programs is more important than ever. But before you can address either, you need to know the difference between what makes employees’ jobs merely satisfying and what will actually motivate them to stay for the long haul.

According to a survey by Monster, prospective employees consider a company’s healthcare plan and paid time off as important factors when considering a job offer. However, those benefits aren’t necessarily the motivators for employees to stay with a company.

Motivating Employees

During the 1950s and 1960s, clinical psychologist Fredrick Herzberg researched the reasons behind employee satisfaction and discovered that certain workplace factors (motivators) contribute to job satisfaction and motivation while a completely separate set of factors (hygiene) contribute to dissatisfaction. This is also known as the Two Factor Theory of Motivation.

Hygiene factors include:

  • Job security
  • Relationship with supervisor
  • Salary
  • Company policies and benefits like health insurance and vacation plans
  • Work conditions

Motivators include:

  • Challenging work
  • Recognition
  • Development
  • Autonomy
  • Opportunity to do something meaningful
  • Sense of importance to an organization

Herzberg found that people strive to attain hygiene needs because they are unhappy without them. However, hygiene factors do not provide satisfaction and do not lead to higher motivation. Employees are merely dissatisfied without them, not motivated to work harder or smarter.

What really motivates employees is having interesting work that challenges them along with increased responsibility, autonomy, and recognition for a job well done. According to Herzberg, motivating factors like these fill our deep-seated need for growth and achievement.

It’s a Matter of Balance

If you solely focus on fulfilling your employees’ hygiene needs, you’ll have satisfied employees with few complaints about the company, but with little motivation and low productivity. These employees view their jobs as just a paycheck. On the other hand, by only providing your employees with motivators without adequate hygiene factors, you’ll have highly motivated, highly productive employees who hate the company.

To avoid having your employees as part of the 45 percent who say they are satisfied with their jobs but willing to accept another job offer if one arises, you’ll need to focus on both hygiene factors and motivators. Creating the proper balance of both will not only make your company appealing to job seekers, but also help you retain your top talent.


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