Three Key Employee Motivators

After weeks of searching for the right candidate, you finally find her! After extensive interviewing and reference checks, you know she is a self-starter, hard worker, team player and a real achiever. In fact, she has all the qualities you want. Thank goodness! Now you can lean back and let her do her thing.

Well, not quite.

Actually, your real work is just beginning because now you have to make sure she stays and grows with the organization. If you don’t, you know she will soon be gone to either one of your customers or, even worse, to one of your competitors. So how do you make sure she stays and gives it her all?

The answer lies in understanding what motivates a person like her. Basically, there are three things that motivate employees.

1. Job Satisfaction: A good employee is fired up by the job itself. The job is interesting, stimulating, challenging, and its goals are a stretch, yet attainable. It’s full of personally rewarding and gratifying events. She knows that, because of her own personal efforts, significant progress is being made towards the overall objectives of the organization. She finishes off the day with an arm pumping “Yes!”

2. Recognition for a Job Well Done: Her knowing that she is doing a great job is one thing, but it is also important to know that management and her peers also recognize her contributions. In addition to receiving these accolades during a formal performance review times, it is even more important to get them when they happen. A comment from you and other members of the management team on a one-on-one basis with her; a public acknowledgment at the weekly meetings; a slap on the back from one of her colleagues, or even someone from another area in the organization; all go a long way to satisfy this desire.

3. Money: Last, and actually least, is money. Her compensation package is a great barometer of how well she is doing. But we all know it is not the Number One motivator. What Money shows is management’s appreciation for past performance. But employees like her are not motivated by the past; they live in the present and in the future; that’s why the first two motivators are much more important than money.

A good way to measure these motivators’ levels of importance is by using this illustration.

Three Motivating Factors

Clearly Job Satisfaction is slightly more important than Recognition, while Money is a distant third – how many times have you heard someone say, “I’d do this job for free.”?

Knowing how these motivators are ranked and how they are ranked and you being an exceptional manager, will use them accordingly to get even more productivity out of your team.

How you do this is relatively straightforward with Motivators #2 & 3 because they are completely under your control. Motivator #1 is a bit more challenging since it is really the employee’s perception of what “job satisfaction” means and whether it is being met that dictates the outcome here. The good thing is you can apply considerable influence on the results.

As good companies regularly conduct customer satisfaction surveys, you too can do your own employee satisfaction survey. But instead of making it a formal process, keep it informal. Continually ‘ping’ your team members during everyday conversations to determine if their respective job satisfaction expectations are being met. If not, why not, and ask them what would it take to rectify the situation.

By keeping plugged into what their frustrations and challenges are, you can better resolve them. Keep it simple and take just one frustration at a time (don’t take just the easy ones!) and either get it resolved or explain why it can’t be. Make sure there is acceptance on the employee’s part. Don’t let it fester.

When your team sees that you are there to support them and are willing to eliminate any obstacles that are keeping them from doing their job better, you will win their approval and their loyalty. As well they will reward you with results.