Internal Drivers

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“People are only truly motivated by reaching for and satisfying the factors which represent a far deeper level of meaning and fulfilment. “Herzberg*.


Some of Hezberg’s research identifiys that people are only truly ‘happy’ in the workplace when they satisfy real motivators such as
• achievement
• recognition
• work itself
• responsibility
• advancement

However consideration also needs to be made to ensure security within the workplace such as the company ethos and attitudes to:
• policy
• relationships with supervisors
• work conditions
• salary
• company car
• status
• security
• relationship with subordinates
• personal life

HR professionals are right in concentrating their efforts on workplace standards and culture to ensure that employees have an enjoyable and fulfilling work experience and their well-being is important, whilst being paid for their efforts. However we as individuals have no control over an employer’s objectives. Therefore we need to work on areas in which we do have control when seeking work.

I have identified these as
• Internal motivation, and
• Interview dialogue.

Internal motivation
This is self-exploration prior to job seeking. Your life will only ‘work-out’ when you take full responsibility for your choices, and your choice of vocation has to be top of your list. When you identify what your internal drivers are, you are well on your way to finding your next career move, but work has to be undertaken to explore your potential and future possibilities. Interestingly it’s often not the job but the factors in a job which motivate; you’ll notice something about good nurses – they like people even more than they like medicine. There is a clue here about finding meaning in your career. THE JOB ISN’T IT. Whatever you do for a living the role is a vehicle to connect with your internal motivators. When I offer careers advice, I always encourage an individual to explore the impossible as within this often lies the start of the answers.
Hezberg concentrates on specific measurable outcomes as part of our motivation areas such as: recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement and achievement; these are often values we attach to our work purpose.
It is also important to identify what specific areas of work appeal, for a nurse is likely to have internal motivators such as a social conscience, care for people and an interest in using medicine as a tool. However a person who likes experimenting is more likely to be a chemist and someone without the medical interest may well be a teacher or even a campaigner. Through honest exploration with a career consultant an individual can begin to uncover a realistic route which engages them. Motivation is only one part of our complex make-up which also includes personality, skills, experience and ambition; however without being motivated any career discussion can be futile.
Interview dialogue
The second area we have control over when looking at motivation is indeed the interview dialogue and subsequent work environment.
Many individuals who attend interviews focus on being their best, answering questions and preparing their answers, which of course has its place. When determined to find the right career, importance also needs to be placed upon what the employer has to offer. It is true that whilst research on a company can uncover policies, even attitude to customers and products it does not depict culture, and the truth can very often be uncovered through the interview dialogue. If Hezberg’s guide to well-being at work is to be embedded then questions on work conditions, training, why predecessors have left and company vision are essential. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we need to consider that an in-depth look at the effects of a business on your personal life, security, salary and status are key components in deciding on a subsequent career move. Spending the time to evaluate which key areas are your non-negotiable boundaries prior to interview is essential, to ensure that the role you choose may be fulfilling and the motivation to ‘stay’ is not short lived.

In the ideal job, the role itself causes you to be eager to get up in the morning, utilizes your skills and personality whilst the values of the company align with yours, leading to longevity of employment.
Is the dream possible? Yes. When the odds are stacked against us, we develop a mental toughness. So Harness your inner strength and ensure that you are motivated in your next career move.

* Frederick Irving Herzberg was an American psychologist who became one of the most influential names in business management. He is most famous for introducing job enrichment and the Motivator-Hygiene theory. His 1968 publication “One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees?” sold 1.2 million reprints by 1987 and was the most requested article from the Harvard Business Review.

Picture courtesy of Margaret Preuss-Higham.