Research points to gender specific motivation to improve productivity

23rd July 2015

Productivity is often cited as a major issues facing the United Kingdom’s economy at the moment and the HR profession is ideally placed to collectively increase the productivity of the country so it’s welcome news that researchers at Leicester University believe they have discovered the secret to motivating male workers.

83397717The research suggests that men’s productivity can be increased simply by setting goals and it’s through providing men in the workplace with specific targets that leads to increased motivation.

The data also points towards women requiring a different management technique with women’s productivity being increased when fewer targets are set.

Leicester University studied hundreds of participants by forming them first into groups and then asking the groups to perform simple challenges.

In those groups where targeted goals were set up, the males in the groups tended to perform better whilst in the groups where no goals where set.

Samuel Smithers, PhD student from the University of Leicester’s Department of Economics explained: “The focus of this research was to determine how to motivate people.

“When we are given a goal, we feel a sense of purpose to achieve it; it naturally helps to focus us. The findings demonstrate that setting a goal induces higher effort. My research found that women perform better than men in the no goal setting, but men thrive in both of the goal treatments.

“[This suggests] men are more responsive to goals than women. I also found a 20% and 35% increase in correct number of additions for the medium and challenging goal groups over the control group.”

The research points to gender specific motivation to improve productivity, however setting better targets for men in the workplace is only part of the solution and implementation of new HR strategies need to be in line with gender equality legislation. At HRonline we are huge advocates of providing a fun working environment in which people are happy and engaged. By coupling employee engagement with targeted motivational techniques, whilst monitoring and managing core element of HR including absence management an HR professional can give the company a significant productivity boost.

In order to tackle the issues of productivity in the UK, which has one of the lowest productivity rates of all the developed economies, it’s essential for business management and especially HR professionals to understand how to better motivate and engage different employees, in order to maximise their employees’ productivity.