You don’t want employees who don’t know how to go about their work. Hiring employees who do not have the necessary expertise isn’t going to help.

As many as 38% of employers, in a recent study, stated as to how the lack of qualified talent remains a worry.

And it’s more significant a problem than you think.

Estimates suggest that while the top 1% of your workforce can help you make a healthy $5000 profit a year, having unproductive employees can cost you as much as $12,000 annually.

Compare that to recent trends – over 70% of American employees believe they aren’t engaged enough at work.

If you’re looking to make your employees more productive, Sirota’s three-factor theory can help.


As Dr. Sirota talked about in his book, the question is not how you motivate the employees.

Instead, the problem is: how do you keep management from destroying motivation and the enthusiasm that the great majority of people initially and naturally bring to their jobs?

Working as an employee in a company means differently to everyone.

Some employees seem to be happy while others tend towards negativity. Some search for basic needs while others want to earn.

Employee and employer relationship go hand in hand.

If one is not satisfied with others, it affects the work, the atmosphere and the culture of the company.

The company surely needs enthusiastic employees to work and to maintain efficiency in work.

So how will you find out the enthusiastic employees out there? Are they standing with the board marked saying: “Hire me! I am the one”.

Or are they continuously pinging you to hire them?

To learn how to keep the employees enthusiastic, Dr. David Sirota- organizational researcher and consultant, surveyed four million workers around the world.

Apart from our other productivity tips at the workplace, this is one study that you need to take note of.

Since 1972, Dr. Sirota has surveyed over 13.6 million employees, 841 companies, 160 countries, all management, and job levels and many industries.

According to the survey, there are four modes of relationship with employees.

Partnership Allies
Paternalistic Children
Adversarial Enemies
Transactional Ciphers

The theory says that people who join the organization are motivated and slowly this motivation or enthusiasm starts lacking.

Thus, to maintain the enthusiasm in employees, the organization shall look out for these methods and shall try to improve the working conditions for the employees, and this will lead to long term benefits.

He also laid down a book: The Enthusiastic Employee; which talks about why it is important to give employees what they want.

Wait, does that make sense? Wouldn’t you be going bankrupt with unrealistic employee expectations?

Dr. Sirota says that when the employee joins the company, they are motivated and want to work hard.

Slowly though, this motivation or enthusiasm dies out as the employee doesn’t get proper facilities, remuneration, achievements or awards.

In short, employee morale goes down due to different reasons.

To maintain employee confidence, the employer has to look out for the needs of the employee.

Dr. Sirota has mentioned these three fundamental principles that can help.

  • Both the organization and the employee need to have the same goals.
  • The organization needs to fulfill the primary demands of the employees.
  • The employees need to be motivated or should have the enthusiasm to work for the organization.


The three fundamental principles are always vice- versa.

If the organization takes care of the needs of the employees, they will surely work hard.

And if the organization doesn’t care about the needs, it might lose some of the good talents.

As a result, employees and employers both have responsibilities towards each other.

To understand more, here’s an example.

  • In a company, two employees are working at the same level.
  • Both have different tasks that require different skill sets.
  • One has got an easier task more suited to his skill sets. He understands it and knows can finish it within a deadline.
  • The other has a bit difficult task that he has no idea about. What happens then?

The one who completes the task gets more awards and recognition.

The other employee isn’t as lucky and gets negative feedback. In turn, it demotivates him, making him lose the confidence and eventually, the focus on the goal.

As an employer, you need to be aware of similar scenarios.

Look to understand employee problems, if you aim to create a happier workplace.

All things told – why is employee enthusiasm necessary?

When talking about major organizations today, most of them achieve higher ROI only when their employees are super productive and work happily.

An employee with higher enthusiasm works for a longer time. You would want your employees to say things like these.

  • “We are a dynamic company with first-class leadership. Our boss is the best. Her word is her bond.”
  • “I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven here. If things stay this way, I’d like to spend the rest of my working life here.”

Employee reviews do matter and also help in improvement.

Happy employees tend to become a closer part of an organization and take in the success or failure of the organization as their success or failure.

It’s something that makes them give their best.


Employees are the backbone of an organization. Simply told, without them, it can’t work.

So, how can you motivate your employees to do better? Here are a few tips.

  • Inspire them to work.
  • Help them to improve their work.
  • Open communication should take place.
  • Teamwork
  • Positive attitude
  • Goal-oriented

It’s just a few ways you can make your organization a more productive one.

In turn, it will help in retaining the confidence of the employees and empower them to work better.

It’s what the three-factor theory is all about.


To keep the employees happy and goal-oriented, you need something handy.

To address this, Dr. Sirota has created a three-factor theory.

The three-factor theory talks about how you can keep the employees enthusiastic and maintain a favorable environment.

If you ensure that your employee has access to the three ingredients or factors, they will work with more motivation and enthusiasm.

The goals for them do not change over time; they remain the same.

We will take a look at the three factors below.

1. Equity

What does equity mean for you?

For Dr. Sirota, it means equality, being fair, and being impartial.

When it comes to organizational context, it also means treating all people equally regardless of their position, work culture, creed or color.

Equality brings more confidence to work and creates a healthy environment around. People are motivated and know that their work will be appreciated.

Here is how it helps them stay in the loop.

i. Physiological

It relates to having safe environment surroundings. Employees shouldn’t have to juggle with emotional and physical health.

Here is what you should ask:

  • How well do you take care of your employees? Do you have all the safety equipment within the premises? It all counts.
  • Training on a regular basis helps employees create a balance between work and leisure.

ii. Economic

As an employer, are you offering your employees the level of job security they need?

Can employees look forward to the alternatives in case of a layoff?

Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Do you communicate freely and openly to the employee in case of a layoff?
  • Do you provide financial assistance to the employees who have lost their jobs?
  • Do you offer a bonus to the employees?
  • Do you involve employees in profit sharing programs?

iii. Psychological

It represents the respect you offer towards the employees. Do you view all employees equally? You need to treat everyone equally irrespective of their position, power or work.

Ask yourself, do your employees have a cordial relation with each other? Organizational hierarchy, if not done right, may be adverse consequences.

Think twice before having a differentiation in parking, different eating places for employees or employers, or bigger cubicles of those in higher positions.

Does your organization provide attention to the needs and wants of the employees?

The feedback given to an employee should both positive and negative.

Constructive criticism is the answer if you’re looking how to go about negative feedback. This way, employees feel more rewarded and is more oriented towards the work.

Every employee wants to have an equal opportunity. They are eager to perform but will need some guidance to help them.

Offer them proper feedback ensuring proper two-way communication. It’s sure to improve the employee performance.

Treating employees equally and respectfully help them know that the organization cares about them.

Higher enthusiasm leads to better business results, and in turn, higher employee morale.

It’s a never-ending circle, only if you mix in the right ingredients.

2. Achievement

An achievement, reward or recognition is a simple way to increase employees’ enthusiasm. Employees want their achievements to be recognized. They want that simple praise.

Simple changes can improve the morale of an employee, and make employees take their work seriously.

Sirota’s theory focuses on motivating employees and helping them to concentrate better in work.

Let’s face it.

Do you feel that you nobody recognizes you for who you are at the workplace? As employees, we don’t feel great.

And it bogs down on our work performance.

A few changes on how the organization views them can change this. Recognizing achievements or rewards isn’t something difficult, but can go a long way to keep them motivated.

As an employer, look to focus on these core areas.

i. Work Environment

You need a good environment in which the individual can work.

An employee has to have with the necessities which they will make use of during the work.

For that, employers need to delegate tasks properly and look to avoid mismanagement. Here are a few other tips to help.

  • Employees need to be able to discuss their problems without worry if they face any issues. Red tape is a bummer.
  • Hierarchies do not seem to work for all organizations. Even if you want one, ensure that people are comfortable about their responsibilities.
  • Focus on participative leadership. It ensures that employees participate in everything important.

ii. Challenging Work

Employees need to have work that challenges their skills and abilities.

You can help them do more by following some simple tips.

  • Arrange workshops which help employees to gain new skill sets.
  • Have tasks that are of interest the employees.
  • Offering suitable tasks for employees will help them perform it better.

iii. Feedback, Recognition, and Reward

Providing feedback to the employees is the best way to gain confidence, as they tend to understand their position and work accordingly.

Here is what can help:

  • Rewards are again a very effective way to increase the motivation of the employees. It also ensures them more power and more confidence to work.
  • Feedback can work as two-way communication between an employer and an employee. An employer can ask an employee to improve if the goals aren’t met.
  • You can offer both non-financial and financial rewards to employees, according to the work or situation.
  • Promotions to higher posts to existing employees rather than appointing someone new can be a good idea too. It will encourage the employees to work harder.

iv. Purpose and Principles

How defined are your organizational goals?

The principles need to be clear and everyone well aware of them.

  • Does your company have a brand name of its own? People always want to join recognized and well-established companies because these organizations are clear about their principles and in their workings.
  • Does your company always focus on ethics and ethical work? Unethical behavior can lead to mismanagement, and lead to employees also leaving the company.
  • The vision and mission need to be clear. Employees need to understand what the organization wants.

Knowing your employee’s skills and perfection goes a long way in how you decide to work with them.

3. Camaraderie

Often, we ask ourselves – do we enjoy going to work?

How many of us get up in the morning and are truly ready to go and work? Not many. At other times, we ask others the same question.

Most people get out of bed to go to work – only because of the green slip at the end of the month. Not many go because they like what they’re doing.

It isn’t how work is supposed to be. You’re supposed to love what you do, as it’s only then that you can get better at it, and be more productive.

No, we shouldn’t have to look at something exciting to happen to make us go to work.

Else, it could surely affect your method of doing work.

You need a work environment where you have team members you will love to work with.

Camaraderie refers to a culture which provides trust, friendship, good communication, teamwork, effective leadership, and surely enthusiasm.

Good communication between different groups performing different tasks is what we need to aim at.

Some might be happy because they have good communication skills and gel well with everyone.

Others might be happy because their leader listens to them and treat them very well. It’s these small gestures that we look for.

Let’s break down things a bit more for you. Camaraderie happens because of these two factors:

i. Conflict Management

While these are bound to happen, taking the right precautions ensures minimal disruptions to the daily work life.

  • Conflicts can be of any type, but ones you need to avoid. Conflicts can be between an employee and an employer, or between employee and organization.
  • When it comes to tackling conflicts, organizations can form a conflict management committee;
  • The conflicts solved should be fair enough and should not always point out the employee. The fair decision will encourage the employees.
  • The conflict management committee is also beneficial when the interest of people working in an organization seems to be on different avenues.

ii. Partnership Building

How well do your team members gel with each other?

The secret to great work is to have teams who like to work with each other.

And you can do it if you engage in the right partnership building strategies.

  • Partnership building relates to teamwork. Employees look forward to work in teams as well as an individual. Working in teams helps them to know their potential and in turn, the limits of work.
  • Employees love social opportunities; a reason you need more social interactions. You can organize corporate parties and events. It’s going to make everyone feel more connected. For one, it helps employees to work effectively as well as they will be much more involved with the organization.
  • Trust is another factor – focus on ensuring that team members trust each other.
  • Open communication is important. Employees need to be able to take part in any discussion or any communication happening.


The three factors: equity, achievement, and camaraderie work together as well as separately.

If taken together, we need to see that the employees are more functional, goal oriented and truthful towards the employer.

All three factors hold up to build a good relationship between an employee and an organization.

According to Dr. Sirota, equity is the most important of the three.

He believes that if employees aren’t treated equally, their morale will go down.

Everyone likes equal treatment.

While he is somewhere right, it’s true that no employer can overlook the other two factors.

It’s just focusing on the right mix – and it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Creating the right environment is very necessary. It’s all about how easily employees and team leaders can tackle their job responsibilities.

Leaders, for instance, should be able to lead properly and inspire the employees.


As an employer, you are sure to have heard some of the things we are going to talk about below.

Don’t worry, these myths that deal with employees’ motivation aren’t true.

1. Employees are never happy whatever pay they get.

Yes, it is not the case with every employee out there. Many employees work happily even if they aren’t getting a pay they think they deserve.

They can work for long hours and never complain – all because they love what you’ve to offer.

Creating the right work environment means that you’ve to worry less about employees demanding more than what you can offer.

2. Most employees do not care to do the job as it needs to be done.

Again, it’s about hiring the right talent. Your HR department needs to be the one doing the answering here.

Employees do care about the work they get and fight for it if they don’t get the right working conditions.

Many want to learn new skills and gain knowledge.

They want their surroundings to be equally well maintained, helping them to work better.

3. Telling employees that they have done good work instead of not.

You wouldn’t like to hear someone getting the nod as an employee even when you know they haven’t put in the efforts.

Giving proper and reasonable feedback is what employees ask for. They don’t want to be motivated unfairly.

Giving feedback according to work will help them get better. If they have done a great job, it’s time to offer good feedback and some recognition. If they haven’t done as expected, focus on the things they missed out on, and talk to them as to how they can improve. Don’t put under the carpet bad feedback.

As David Sirota talks about in The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want, it is when you understand the three different sets of goals and establish organization policies and practices, are you able to get a workforce who are always striving to get better.

It’s what will also ensure that you have no conflicts to worry about.

Sirota's Three-Factor Theory: Keeping Employees Enthusiastic

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