3 Primary Goals of People at Work
Updated: Jun 21
In “The Enthusiastic Employee” authors Sirota, Mischkind, and Meltzer (2005), working under Sirota Consulting, surveyed 2.5 million employees in 237 organizations in 89 countries about what they want from their jobs.
Contrary to wide and unsubstantiated claims made about worker attitudes, the authors found through their research that the overall satisfaction of workers with their work is strong and consistent across a wide variety of industries, occupations, and cultures. Furthermore, these researchers maintain that there is no evidence that younger workers are any more or less disenchanted than older workers.
The majority of the responses fall into three factors. The authors call this the Three Factor Theory of Human Motivation in the Workplace. They are: equity, achievement, and camaraderie.
1. Equity: To be treated justly in relation to the basic conditions of employment. These basic conditions include physiological (e.g., safe work environment), economic (e.g., job security, fair pay), and psychological (e.g., treated respectfully & fairly).
2. Achievement: Employees are enthusiastic working for organizations that provide them with a clear, credible and inspiring organizational purpose – “reason for being here.” There are four sources of employee pride. In essence they reflect the idea of excellence:
Excellence in the organization’s financial performance.
Excellence in the efficiency with which the work of the organization gets done.
Excellence in the characteristics of the organization’s products such as their usefulness, distinctness and quality.
Excellence in the organization’s moral character.
3. Camaraderie: Employees want to work collaboratively. They get the greatest satisfaction from being a member of and working on a team to achieve a common goal. In fact, the authors assert that cooperation, and not job descriptions or organizational charts, is the unifying force holding the various parts of an organization together.
Sirota, Mischkind, and Meltzer (2005) say that one key to overcome conflict and encourage cooperation is to build partnerships. The parties involved do this by collaborating to work toward common goals.
However, they caution that in order to build partnerships within and throughout the organization,
“[A]ction must begin with, and be sustained by, senior management” (p. 283).
It is only when senior leadership has the foresight to see what can be, not just what is, along with the perseverance and hard work to translate philosophy into concrete daily policies will partnership organizations emerge. Above all, it requires “seeing and treating employees as genuine allies in achieving change” (Sirota, Mischkind, & Meltzer, 2005, p. 301).
Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.
Organizational & Leadership Development Leader
Sirota, D., Mischkind, L.A., & Meltzer, M.I. (2005). The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing.