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The Job Satisfaction and Work Motivation Factors for Blue-Collar Employees

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Employees -- like people everywhere -- are individuals, and blue-collar workers are no different. What one person considers a carrot, another might see as chocolate cake or even just a stick. Still, common motivational factors exist for almost everyone, as well as job factors that prevent dissatisfaction. The latter were first described by behavioral scientist Frederick Herzberg, according to a September 2011 article on the website.

Hygiene and Motivational Factors

According to Herzberg, job satisfaction and satisfaction depend on hygiene factors, such as pay, fringe benefits, status, physical working conditions, relationships with co-workers, bosses, and subordinates and job security. These are the factors that cause dissatisfaction when they are not present. Motivational factors, which yield positive satisfaction, include intangibles such as recognition, the sense of achievement, responsibility and meaningful work. Although Herzberg was not specifically studying blue-collar workers, later research confirms his findings, according to the article.

It's the People

A Gallup poll reported in August 2013 found only 23 percent of blue-collar workers were satisfied with their employers' retirement plans. Blue-collar workers were also unhappy with job stress and wages -- only 30 and 33 percent, respectively, were satisfied with these two work issues. Fifty-three percent were satisfied with their bosses, and 59 percent liked the flexibility of work hours available in their jobs. Relationships with co-workers topped the list, with 72 percent of blue-collar workers reporting this was the most satisfying element in their work.

Money Matters

Money motivates many people, according to a May 2007 article in “USA Today.” Some tactics, such as a raise based on meeting certain goals, giving a bonus for a job well done or combining a promotion with a raise, are time-honored techniques. Businesses that are employee-owned or in which the employee has a financial interest can also increase motivation, as individual success builds corporate success. Although it may mean the owner must give up some power and money, the overall effect can be positive.

Praise and Recognition

Financial incentives are not the only motivational tool for workers, according to “USA Today.” Recognition is always appreciated when it is given for a job well done, whether it’s the shining counters and stove when the housekeeper cleans the kitchen or the perfectly straight and level beam a carpenter puts up. Employees who know their work is important and meaningful or has a positive impact on other people are also likely to be both happier in their work and more productive, according to a February 2012 article in “Forbes” magazine. Call center employees who contacted people for donations and also interacted with scholarship recipients from the money donated brought in more than twice as much money after the interaction, "Forbes" reports.


Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.

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