The problem of motivating employees to do the right thing in security is an increasingly hard one. Many companies have developed cultures that worked well prior to the digital age, but are no longer applicable, and often detrimental to information security.
We live in a money-motivated world, but not all motivation happens due to money. Fairness, decisiveness, giving praise, and constructive criticism can be more effective than money in the matter of motivation. However, they cannot be relied upon for all motivation. There needs to be a well-balanced system of rewards. Rewards generally improve productivity by 20% to 30%. This is nearly twice as much as that attained by goal setting or job-redesign
Rules for praise and punishment
Both praise and punishment should follow the same three rules.
- In specific terms
- The behavior, rather than the person, should be praised or reprimanded
- A reward should be quick.
- A reward should be significant.
- The goals and rewards must be; known, understandable; and attainable.
- The reward must be distinctly and directly related to performance.
- A reward should be irrevocable.
- A reward should be compatible with job measurement.
Stick or carrot? Punishment has left the working class feeling discontent and has increased the hostility between management and employees. The “carrot” approach, however, has increased productivity and worker satisfaction by giving rewards to employees when they do a good job.
What motivates employees?
A study carried out by the US Department of Labor among 1500 workers asked the workers to rate 23 job factors in order of importance to them (Sanzotta (1977). This information is useful in determining how to motivate behaviors. It is presented in the table below.
|White-collar employees||Blue-collar employees|
|1. Interesting work|
2. Opportunity to develop special abilities
3. Enough information
4. Enough authority
5. Enough help and equipment;
6. Friendly and helpful coworkers
7. Opportunity to see results of work
8. Competent supervision
9. Responsibilities clearly defined
10. Good pay
|11. Good pay|
12. Enough help and equipment
13. Job security
14. Enough information
15. Interesting work
16. Friendly and helpful coworkers
17. Responsibilities clearly defined
18. Opportunity to see results of work
19. Enough authority
20. Competent supervision