Two weeks back I got a sudden urge to understand what motivates and demotivates employees at work. So I decided to look out for books that will help me know more about the same.

I am currently reading a book called Motivating at Work by Twyla Dell. This book has a tag line ‘Empowering Employees to Give Their Best’. This book used to be called ‘An Honest Day’s Work’ and has now been renamed as ‘Motivating at Work’.

One thing that impressed me in this book is the way Twyla Dell takes Abraham Maslow’s theory and blends it well with the research results from Public Agenda Foundation in 1983 on what people want the most from their jobs. By doing so, the author has also grouped the expectations of the employees under the five items in Maslow’s theory.

The five items in Maslow’s theory are:

  • Survival – Exhibit necessary skills to prove their existence
  • Security – Once survival is proven, secure it
  • Belonging – Once security is in place, build relationships around you to share with others
  • Prestige – Based on the sharing, expect to be rewarded for sharing and proving the skills
  • Self Fulfillment – Be rewarded for the accomplishments and also be challenged to grow to the next level

The items from the research results in Public Agenda Foundation in 1983 are:

  • To work for efficient managers
  • To have the freedom to think for themselves
  • To see the end result of their work
  • To have interesting work
  • To be listened to
  • To be informed
  • To be respected for their efforts
  • To be recognised for a job well done
  • To be challenged by what they do
  • To get newer opportunities for skill development

On a personal front, I believe that any company will succeed as long as it accomplishes two goals:

  • Keep the customers happy
  • Make the employees feel they are a member of the family

Though the above two aspects are missing both in Maslow’s theory and the most common expectations of employees from the research, I still strongly believe in keeping customers happy and making the employees feel as though they are members of the family.

If you are interested to know how motivated you are, you can take this test yourself on ‘Are Employees Getting What They Expect At Work’ at Auro Infotech Blogs which is based on the research results.

I have not yet completed this book and will write again if I find anything else that is interesting in the book.

Update: I have completed reading this book fully and highly recommend it. The latest blog on this topic is available here


2 thoughts on “Motivating At Work – Book Review”
  1. Thanks for the partial review! I appreciate your favorable words and look forward to the rest.
    Being treated like family is often not possible in a
    large corporation, but inclusiveness can be practiced by managers and department heads and
    employees themselves can contribute by being open and positive in responses. All that, of course, is part of the culture of the place.

    Keeping customers happy is the other side of
    the coin from getting employees to be happy
    with where they are. One begets the other.
    Best regards, TD

  2. TD, thanks for your nice response. I am delighted to receive your personal feedback on this topic.

    I fully agree on your thoughts about the culture and the fact that it is not often possible in large organizations. Been there, seen it 🙂

    Also agree on the ‘Keep the customers happy’ comment. Not sure if it is covered in this book of yours, but I will surely look forward to searching for your books if any on this topic.

    Please feel free to provide you contact details or website link of yours, for the readers of this blog, if they would like to ask you any questions directly or contact you directly.

    You Know Who!

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