How do we increase motivation in the workplace? If we, ourselves, or those around us do not feel satisfied it’s incredibly hard to provide consistently high-level service in our libraries.

Lauren Hays

Today I talk with Dr. Lauren Hays, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri. She shares excellent information about models for motivation and what they indicate for how we operate.

In this episode we gain useful insights about intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, and even learn practical applications for things like how we can use on-boarding and effectiveness in meetings to motivate our teams. Enjoy the show!


This podcast is brought to you by the School of Library and Information Management from Emporia State University, where library leaders are created, with program sites in Las Vegas, Nevada; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; and Emporia and Overland Park, Kansas.


This is Adriane Herrick Juarez. You’re listening to Library Leadership Podcast, where we talk about libraries, and leadership, and speak with guests who share their ideas, innovations, and strategic insights into the profession.

How do we increase motivation in the workplace? If we ourselves, or those around us, do not feel satisfied, it’s incredibly hard to provide consistently high level service in our libraries. Today I talk with Dr. Lauren Hays, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri. She shares excellent information about models for motivation and what they indicate for how we operate.

In this episode we gain useful insights about intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. And, even learn practical applications for things like, how we can use on-boarding, and effectiveness in meetings to motivate our teams.   Enjoy the show!

Welcome to the show, Lauren. I’m happy to have you here today. 

Question #1: Motivation is important as we operate on a daily basis. If we ourselves, or those around us, do not feel motivated in the workplace, it’s incredibly hard to provide consistent, high-level service. Can you tell us about models you use in this area, and what they indicate? 01:27 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

Yes. First, I want to say thank you so much for having me on the show today. I am excited to share some of what I have discovered about motivation. When I first started researching motivation I was immediately drawn to Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory of motivation. Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory of motivation is sometimes also called, Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory. But don’t let that confuse you if you do a Google search later.

As a point of clarification, Herzberg called things that lead to dissatisfaction in the workplace hygiene factor. So that’s where that second description of that theory comes from.

In that theory, Herzberg theorized that intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivations actually have an inverse relationship. In other words, intrinsic motivators tend to create motivation when they’re present, whereas extrinsic motivators tend to reduce motivation when they’re absent. 

I read this description on the website, Lumen Learning, and really liked it, so I want to share it with the audience today. It said that Herzberg’s theory says that when a person has intrinsic reasons for wanting to do something their motivation will increase. However when extrinsic rewards are present, it will actually reduce a person’s motivation if the extrinsic motivators become no longer available.

Extrinsic motivators such as prizes can help increase motivation, but when you remove them people no longer want to do the things they’ve originally been motivated to do. Or, when the extrinsic motivations are removed people want to do things less than they wanted to do them before the extrinsic motivators were added.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of why I found this theory so fascinating. So often when we think about motivation we think intrinsic, extrinsic, and we often gravitate toward extrinsic motivations because it’s in some ways what I think of as, the easy way of incentivizing people to do something.


Question #2: And findings show that there are certain characteristics of work that are consistently related to satisfaction, while others are related to dissatisfaction. What are these? 04:05 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

Yes. So going back again to Herzberg’s, I’ve been thinking about those factors that lead to satisfaction. Again, it’s going to be those intrinsic things, such as achievement, recognition, the work itself, just feeling that the work is valuable, responsibility. In other words, a person feeling that they’re responsible for something and really taking ownership of it. Other things that lead to satisfaction are the ability for advancement, and then for growth. Often that personal growth could be professional growth. But still what people value for their own growth, that’s more of a personal nature, over a professional nature. 

Things that lead to dissatisfaction, again, these are those hygiene factors that Herzberg talks about in his theory, typically things such as company policies. Company policies are more likely to lead to dissatisfaction than to satisfaction, actually. Supervision, relationship with the supervisor, and peers – again other things that lead to dissatisfaction can be work conditions, the salary, status, security. Some of those are the more of those extrinsic motivators that are more likely to—people will feel dissatisfied with their jobs if they’re not where they need to be.

But on the flip side of that, even if all these are perfect, the person isn’t necessarily going to be satisfied with their job unless the other factors that I mentioned previously, with the recognition, responsibility, advancement, and growth, if they’re not present.


Question #3: Hmm, that is so interesting. When we say intrinsic, it’s kind of like those things within us—inside, right, that motivate us? While extrinsic are things outside that push in one direction or another, is that right? 06:13 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

That’s correct, yeah. 


Question #4: Yeah, so as we think about this, I’m wondering what can we do to eliminate some of these job dissatisfaction factors, while at the same time increasing conditions that improve satisfaction in our libraries to motivate everyone toward success? 06:26 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

That’s a great question. It has a lot to do with the culture that’s already established in the library. Managers need to ask themselves if they need to increase satisfaction in their employees, or if they need to decrease dissatisfaction. Perhaps this can seem like the same thing. [laughter] But, in actuality you can feel disengaged from your job but not actually be dissatisfied with it. 

If this is the case, then satisfaction needs to be increased. At the same time though, if employees are actively bitter, then dissatisfaction needs to be decreased before you can really worry and spend time about increasing satisfaction. 

One thing to note here is that Herzberg didn’t say job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are complete opposites. Instead he proposed that the opposite of satisfaction is no satisfaction. And the opposite of dissatisfaction is no dissatisfaction. So to reiterate the differences between what causes satisfaction and what causes dissatisfaction, it’s important that managers understand and know that the causes of dissatisfaction will not create satisfaction.

That’s a lot of those same words over, and over again. But hopefully that makes sense. And this means that you cannot give somebody more money if there’s a bad work environment, and expect them to be satisfied. The money may decrease their dissatisfaction a bit, but it’s not going to make them happier in their jobs.


Question #5: That’s super insightful. And something really important to be aware of. Did you see anything in this work—daily examples of how we as leaders, or those of us on teams who are working with others have successfully done this? You know, I guess if it’s internal satisfaction that’s so important, and intrinsic factors, we can’t put that inside people for them. What are some methods? 08:20 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

It’s a good question, and something that I’ve reflected upon in my own life in the work that I’ve done. Because, what I find interesting about this theory is that managers and leaders in libraries may be doing some of this—working to decrease dissatisfaction, and working to increase satisfaction. But if they are, I haven’t really heard anybody talk about it in this way. 

That doesn’t mean they’re not doing it, and maybe people have talked about it and I’m just unaware of that. Nonetheless, I think it would be fascinating to hear from a lot of different people about how they might approach this in their own settings. Because, so much of what this theory underscores is the importance of knowing our culture and knowing our employees, and understanding where they’re coming from and why they’re feeling the way that they are. 

We can’t just take the theory and plop it down, and use it the same way in every library, because library policies will be different, pay rates are obviously going to be different in places, which means that’s also related to cost of living things. There’s just so many variables that come into play in this, but getting back to your question about specifics.


Question #6: So, if intrinsic motivators are important what will help us understand these so we can effectively support staff’s motivations? 10:12 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

Yes. So, intrinsic motivators are very important. As I mentioned previously, there are things—achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth. However intrinsic motivators can also include things like autonomy, personal interests, and the feelings of competence that the employees bring to their work. 

So, ways that library leaders, library managers can really support those intrinsic motivators are to have conversations with their staff and really learn what is important to them. Because I’ve listed a whole grouping of things that can be included as intrinsic motivators, but for each person they’re probably not going to be as motivated by each of those individual things. 

So, having conversations about their own goals, are they looking for advancement? Do they want to take on more responsibility? Do they want to grow in their career, and what does that look like for them? And, how can I, as a leader, help this employee get to where they really want to be? What trainings can I possibly send them to? Or what kind of projects can I encourage them to work on so that they gain skills to help them get to that next level?

So, in many ways I think this is a person-by-person leadership style. At the same time, though a lot of these things can be built into the overall culture of the organization, whether it’s in your annual review where the library manager has a discussion yearly with their employees about how they’re feeling about the work itself, what responsibilities they’d like to take on, areas for growth. And then also, I mentioned autonomy, it was also very important at times for intrinsic motivation. 

Making sure that when people are given responsibilities and are given opportunities for growth and advancement that you let them do those things. You let them take on the responsibility and not micromanage them. I think that is something that quickly pulls away from those being motivated by intrinsic things, is when people feel like they’re always being watched. 

There’s one other way to think about it too. Things that lead to dissatisfaction are the extrinsic factors in a person’s life and in their job. When you are thinking about wanting to decrease dissatisfaction you really will want to review company policies, or your library policies. You’ll also probably want to have a lot of conversations. So much of this is culture work, which is hard and time consuming. But when you really have a sense of your staff, and what they are frustrated with, and what they’re excited about, then I think you can more strategically implement aspects of this theory to increase motivation in positive ways.


Question #7: That’s great. Can you give us some examples of how we can apply this information in day-to-day interactions in things like on-boarding, meetings, and other operations? 14:08  

Dr. Lauren Hays:

Yes. So in an on-boarding setting, obviously on-boarding needs to include certain things such as company policies. Those need to be addressed. But know that this is only going to lead to less dissatisfaction with the person’s job as long as those policies are acceptable. It’s not going to lead to necessarily more satisfaction with the job. If you want to create satisfaction with employees during the on-boarding process then spend time focusing on letting new staff know and learn about their responsibilities. 

Share with them about the work itself. Listen to things they may want to champion. Or projects that they are interested in pursuing. Also, spend time recognizing the good work of employees already in your library. I think this says a lot about culture when you are in an on-boarding process with new hires. You take time to recognize the work of employees that have been there a long time, what good work they are doing. Because that lets new employees know that they’re going to be recognized for their own achievements in the future, which can really start to build that foundation of satisfaction in the workplace.

In meetings to decrease dissatisfaction, I think that you really want to spend time cultivating your relationship between yourself as a supervisor and your employees. Sometimes it can be easy for staff meetings to focus on policies, supervision, or security issues. All those things, as we know, are important in libraries. They’re not bad things. They will hopefully help to decrease dissatisfaction that people may have as they understand more about why things are done the way that they are. However, if those types of things are always the focus of the staff meetings, then dissatisfaction among employees may decrease. But, the satisfaction is not going to increase, especially not to probably where you want it to be. 

To increase satisfaction during staff meetings, consider spending time having conversations, listening to your employees. Let the staff know that they’re valued and that you see the work that they do. Listen to the ideas that they bring to the meeting, and then help them discover ways they can gain responsibility in areas that they show interest in. Sometimes this might mean follow-up meetings after the staff meeting. Where you can have more individual conversations with those employees who brought ideas to the table.

In many ways, talking about operations now, the day-to-day interactions that library managers have with their employees is really the best place to decrease dissatisfaction and increase satisfaction, at least it is in my opinion.

So, the day-to-day interactions are those that happen the most frequently, and are really the ones that leave a lasting impression with people. Consider how you can decrease dissatisfaction and increase satisfaction as you develop new project ideas, plan professional development, and manage changing circumstances.

When people—maybe it isn’t in a staff meeting, but they bring a new project idea, or they have an idea for how they can improve service, or do something different in the library. I really recommend focusing on increasing the satisfaction around the ideas once a project is off the ground because you can potentially adjust and spend time working to decrease any dissatisfaction that may manifest afterwards.

However at the beginning, focus on building satisfaction with those projects. This can be done with helping staff take ownership, helping see the project as a growth opportunity, and giving staff responsibility in moving the project forward.

I think something else in particular here is this type of approach lets the employees know you’re supportive and are behind those ideas. It’s not just that you’re giving them more work to do. But instead, you’re communicating to them that they, as employees, bring value to the library, that you’re there to support those ideas, and you will work to find ways to help them get the ideas implemented.

For professional development, definitely focus on growth opportunities. A key though, is to connect professional development to real growth. It cannot just be professional development for the sake of professional development, which might make it actually align more with a company policy that requires so much professional development to occur. Instead, the development really needs to be meaningful and connect to the work itself that the employees engage in, or growth opportunities that they hope for. So it either needs to be something that can help them do their immediate job better, so they can see the benefit of it, or it pushes them to go to the next level. 

In changing circumstances you may have to spend time decreasing the dissatisfaction that can accompany change. You can do this by focusing on stability. And if possible, letting people know their jobs are not in danger even though job responsibilities may have shifted. Times of change are another good opportunity to strengthen relationships between yourself as a supervisor, and your employees, as well as among each employee. l think that’s really important, too. But, it’s not just a supervisor-to-employee relationship, but you’re also thinking about employee-to-employee relationships.

During times of change when sometimes the focus has to be on decreasing satisfaction. Groundwork can be laid for future times of upheaval by building those strong relationships. I hope that makes sense.


Question #8: It does. It sounds very sound, and very practical. I like it. Anything else you would like to add? 20:49 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

I focus on Herzberg’s  theory for this because I think it’s key for most libraries, and most workplaces, probably in general. However, I think it’s important to realize that many of the things for both satisfaction and dissatisfaction that Herzberg discusses, really fall higher on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I don’t know that I have a lot of time to get into Maslow’s hierarchy here, but if you’re not familiar with it I definitely encourage looking it up. Because if an individual’s physiological needs, such as health, food, sleep, and safety—needs such as shelter, and being free from danger are not being met, individuals are going to have a really hard time being motivated in any circumstance.

As long as employees feel safe in the building, they have those physiological needs met, which has to do a lot with their personal lives. Then these are things that can be focused on. But until those needs are met, it’s much harder to think about intrinsic and extrinsic motivations in the way that Herzberg describes.


Question #9: Sure. Do you have a favorite book, or resource you’d like to share about leadership? 22:02 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

I have a favorite leadership concept that came from a doctoral class I took. The class was Ethical Leadership. In the course we discussed the concept of a moral architecture, which is something that I’d never heard before. This was all brand new information to me. It just kind of blew my mind. [laughter] But this idea of a moral architecture is how your organization’s values need to align in everything from policies, down to the day-to-day interactions that employees have with stakeholders, or library users. 

In many ways the idea is similar, and makes you think of Simon Sinek’s concept of Start With Why. The organizations need to know why they’re doing something, and then figuring out how the policies and decisions are going to align with that why. But that doctoral class just framed it and called it a moral architecture. It was just a really interesting way of thinking about, Okay, what are the values that this organization has, and how do we make sure that all of our policies align with those values down to all the interactions that my staff has with the library users?


Question #10: That sounds fascinating, thank you. In closing, what does being a librarian mean to you, personally? 23:29 

Dr. Lauren Hays:

I recently had a job teaching that’s taken me out of working in the physical library. Instead, I’m teaching full-time at a new institution. And I’ll say that this really took some wrestling with my professional identity. I’ve worked in libraries for the past nine years and just loved it. It was what I thought I would, honestly, do until I retired. But I realized the skills that I learned as a librarian would always be with me. For me, being a librarian has always been about the people that I served. So to me, being a librarian means connecting people to resources and opportunities, which I’m still doing in this new role. 

I’d just say I still plan to be involved in the library community, because I think there’s so much value there. And there is so much that I’ve learned personally, and professionally about people, and communities, and information that I just feel it’s such a great profession that’s given me a lot, and I want to continue to give back to it.


That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing this important information today, Lauren. It’s been great having you on the show.

Dr. Lauren Hays:

Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it.

You’ve been listening to Library Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Adriane Herrick Juarez. Our producer is Nate Vineyard. More episodes can be found at, where you can now subscribe to have new shows delivered right into your email inbox. You can also find the show on Apple iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next time.