Managers are said to have to motivate their employees. This is not much different than an athletic coach is said to motivate the team. It might be difficult to actually motivate individuals who are otherwise unmotivated, or at least not motivated by their work or their surroundings. Perhaps more appropriately, the manager can establish an environment conducive to self-motivation. Such an environment will likely include a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors to serve for motivation, along with flexibility in knowing that each person might react somewhat differently to various stimuli. While communication may or may not be a direct motivator, the content of a message and the style in which it is delivered can certainly affect how it is received by the employee.
Shannon conducted a study to understand the factors motivating health and human services professionals utilizing the well-known and oft-cited Herzberg’s two-factor model of motivation (satisfiers and dissatisfiers).1 Communication was the most significant factor affecting staff motivation. When described as 'good', communication was open, honest, appropriate and timely. Emotional factors, including a sense of being respected and valued, were also highly regarded. Material resources, such as budgets, staffing and physical amenities, were the third most cited factor affecting workforce motivation. The researcher concluded that some factors - like communication and resources - could be a source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, depending on whether they supported the individual and the team. The breadth of the results reflects the ability to provide a more nuanced response. In other words, a particular “thing” is not necessarily a satisfier or dissatsifier; it’s how that “thing” (eg, communication) is used and in what situation.
There are a number of things that pharmacy managers can do (and also should avoid) in providing feedback and establishing an environment conducive to self-motivation. Certainly, things like salary and fringe benefits, the physical environment, and the commute are not unimportant. But many of these things are also at least somewhat if not entirely out of the manager’s control. What is in the manager’s control is how they communicates with people, how they make people feel that their contributions are of value, how they approach persons whose performance needs to improve, and how they “push the right buttons” for each employee under their direction.
Additional information about Human Resources Management Functions and Performance Appraisal and Feedback can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Shannon EA. Motivating the workforce: beyond the two factor model. Aust Health Rev. 2017; doi: 10.1071/AH16279.