What Really Motivates Your Employees

May 31, 2019 | Culture, Leadership, Strategy

Have you ever been so disengaged at work that you completely neglect your underlying responsibility as a professional?

Attracting and hiring top talent, explained by Jim Collins as “getting the right people on the bus” is a challenging role for leaders. Retaining the talent and keeping them on the bus is where the process gets even more troublesome. A leader’s main objective is ensuring that their team is efficiently incented and motivated. Instead of hiring people to pursue a predefined outcome, gather the right people that complement one another to develop an effective strategy to achieve the unimaginable.

According to Gallup, a global analytics and advisory firm, a staggering 87% of the global workforce is not engaged at work. Numerous companies are experiencing an engagement crisis without even knowing about it. A lack of employee engagement will only lead to higher turnover rates which ultimately affects the quality of a company’s product or service offerings and its reputation.

Psychologist Fredrick Herzberg conducted a study in the 1950s and 60s, titled One more time: How do you motivate employees, as a means of understanding employee satisfaction. His findings revealed that certain characteristics of a job are consistently related to job satisfaction, whereas other features are associated with job dissatisfaction. Herzberg concluded that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not opposites, but instead the opposite of satisfaction is no satisfaction and the opposite of dissatisfaction is no dissatisfaction.

Factors that contribute to job satisfaction include:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • The work itself
  • Responsibility
  • Growth and advancement

However, factors surrounding dissatisfaction include:

  • Company policies
  • Supervision
  • Relationship with peers
  • Work condition
  • Salary
  • Security

According to Herzberg, factors that contribute to job satisfaction are mutually exclusive from those that lead to job dissatisfaction. By eliminating dissatisfying job factors, you may soothe your workforce but not necessarily motivate them to improve performance. Job dissatisfaction characteristics are also referred to as hygiene factors. They are the basic necessities of fair pay, job security and tolerable working conditions. When such factors are adequately addressed, people will not be dissatisfied nor will they be satisfied. In order to motivate your team, your focus should shift to satisfaction factors like achievement, recognition and responsibility.

Here are considerations to influence employee motivation:

  1. Ensure your employees are recognized for their efforts

Employees want their work to be recognized by their managers. This provides them with a sense of accomplishment and that they are on the right track. Providing supportive feedback as an employer shows that you have an interest in employee improvement and career development resulting in higher motivation and loyalty. At MacPhie, we have a ritual called weekly celebration, where the whole team sits down Friday evenings to discuss what we were proud of, who we were helped by, and what we are excited about in the coming week.

  1. Delegate purposeful work

Providing the opportunity for employees to attack work that is purposeful and meaningful is essential to keeping them motivated. The work created must be rewarding and match people’s skills and ability, creating a more enriched job experience.

  1. Opportunity to advance and accelerate growth

Employees should see the company they work for as a career path rather than a stepping stone, where their job is considered to be a pit stop on their journey elsewhere. Without a clear path to promotion, employees will be disengaged and lose motivation in their current role. I learned more my first week at MacPhie, because the team believed in my talents and actually assigned me work that actually had meaning.

  1. Plan Events!

Don’t wait until holidays to organize an event. Plan weekly gatherings; whether that be happy hour, team lunches, or picnics. It can be anything as long as it includes everyone. Organizing events throughout the year reinforces the thought that you are a team and increases the chances of members staying motivated!

Motivation driven into the personality of a workforce will eventually translate into culture, which will only lead to amazing things, for both the employee and the company!

By: Scott Spadafora


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