It’s easy to have the mentality that “everyone’s replaceable” or no-one is indispensable. This is not always the mindset to have though as employee retention is often the key to success. Effective employee retention strategies not only improve office morale, but they also ensure that your best workers will continue to work for you, not your competition.

Not only is employee retention vital but the ability to attract new, quality employees is important too. Offering large amounts of money is not what always attracts top-class employees. Often times, it’s the office environment and image of the company that attracts excited and potentially very loyal employees.

This is where Herzberg’s two-factor theory comes into play.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory

The basis of this theory is getting to the root of motivation in the workplace. The heart of this is – what do people want from their jobs? Herzberg divided this theory into two factors:

1. Motivating Factors

The presence of motivators inspires employees to work harder. They are found within the actual job itself and are intrinsically felt. According to an article on expertprogrammanagement.com, these motivating factors are:

  • Achievement: A job must give an employee a sense of achievement. This will provide a proud feeling of having done something difficult but worthwhile.
  • Recognition: A job must provide an employee with the potential for praise and recognition of their successes. This recognition should come from both their superiors and their peers.
  • The work itself: The job itself must be interesting, varied, and provide enough of a challenge to keep employees motivated.
  • Responsibility: Employees should “own” their work. They should hold themselves responsible for this completion and not feel as though they are being micromanaged.
  • Advancement: Promotion opportunities should exist for the employee.
  • Growth: The job should give employees the opportunity to learn new skills. This can happen either on the job or through more formal training.


2. Hygiene Factors

The absence of hygiene factors will cause employees to be less motivated. Hygiene factors are not present in the actual job itself but surround the job and occur externally.  This this can include the workspace as well. According to an article on expertprogrammanagement.com, the hygiene factors include:

  • Company policies: These should be fair and clear to every employee. They must also be equivalent to those of competitors.
  • Supervision: Supervision must be fair and appropriate. The employee should be given as much autonomy as is reasonable but have access to support if required.
  • Relationships: There should be no tolerance for bullying or cliques. A healthy, amiable, and appropriate relationship should exist between peers, superiors, and subordinates.
  • Work conditions: Equipment and the working environment should be safe, fit for purpose, and hygienic.
  • Salary: The pay structure should be fair and reasonable. It should also be competitive with other organisations in the same industry.
  • Status: The organisation should maintain the status of all employees within the organisation. Performing meaningful work can provide a sense of status.
  • Security: It is important that employees feel that their job is secure and they are not under the constant threat of being laid-off.

According to the Herzberg theory, your organisation or a team in an organisation can be in one of 4 states;  

The Four States

In a general sense, there are four states an organization or team can find themselves in when it comes to the Two Factor Theory.

1. High Hygiene and High Motivation

This is the ideal situation and the one which every manager should strive for. Here, all employees are highly motivated and have very few grievances.

2. High Hygiene and Low Motivation

In this situation, employees have few grievances but they are not highly motivated. An example of this situation is where pay and working conditions are competitive but the work isn’t very interesting. Employees are simply there to collect their salary.

3. Low Hygiene and High Motivation

In this situation, employees are highly motivated but they have a lot of grievances. A typical example of this situation is where the work is exciting and really interesting but the pay and conditions are inferior to competitors in the same industry.

4. Low Hygiene and Low Motivation

This is obviously a very bad situation for an organisation or team to find itself in. Here, employees aren’t motivated at all and the hygiene factors are not up to scratch.

A few steps that may improve employee morale in terms of Hygiene factors are shared below:

The importance of the work environment

While remuneration, promotions and the work itself (for example) are vital components to a happy, motivated workspace, the environment your employees are in every day is extremely important. The workplace should feel like a safe, relaxed and fun environment to be in.

A comfortable workspace entices employees to want to come into work instead of dreading it. It increases overall morale and the general atmosphere at the office. The happier your employees are, the more successful the organisation will be. Our suggestions are:

Add a Rec/ Break room

This opens a space where employees can get out of the “work-routine”. This is a safe place to relax, take a break and have a snack. A rec room enables employees to get out of a rut during the day, it will increase creativity and productivity. Obviously, this room is not for employees to sit in all day, every day but is used for occasional breaks.

Improve the lighting

Dim or fluorescent lighting is not the best motivator. It may seem menial but having lighting that is bright, warm and almost natural, opens up the workspace and gives employees a clear, more positive mindset.  Many employees report that fluorescent lighting triggers migraines.

Encourage positivity

Encourage employees to think and speak positively. Try and turn every negative thought or statement into a positive one. This could be done by suggesting that employees offer a solution to every problem. Acknowledge that negative situations may occur but encourage employees to remember that there are ways out of them.

Give positive feedback

This should not only be between you and your employees but it should be encouraged amongst themselves too. Everyone should praise one another for their accomplishments and offer constructive criticism when needed.

Use scent

This may sound odd at first. What can scent do in a workplace? Adding a subtle yet distinctive scent into the workspace can change the mood and feel of the entire environment. Different scents evoke different feelings and can have the effect of creating an environment that is peaceful, comforting and calm.

What can scent do for the office environment

Elements that make up the working environment from lighting, decor, music to smell can influence workplace productivity.

Your sense of smell influences your moods much more than you may know. Your sense of smell is the most sensitive of the senses. As infants, smell is the first sense to develop. Our noses have as many as six million odour detecting cells. Scent is received by the olfactory bulb in your brain and has the ability to affect your mood. Different scents can:

  • Increase positivity
  • Increase productivity
  • Decrease stress/anxiety
  • Increase calm and relaxation

Scent is, therefore, a vital component in a workspace as it has a direct impact on your employees’ moods and can keep them relaxed but productive. Scent falls within the “Hygiene Factors” as referred to above under Herzberg’s two factor theory and more specifically within the ambit of “Work Conditions” in the workplace.

As scent specialists, Brand Scents can assist in creating a work environment that is appealing and aspirational to new staff while at the same time, creating an environment that is conducive to productivity and retention of key staff.

Contact us for more information on creating an aspirational, motivating and productive workspace using the power of scent as a tool.