Motivating employees can be one of your biggest challenges as an employer, but learning how to inspire each individual — especially those with quirky personalities — is the key to a successful organization.
Whether it’s a raise, a promotion or simply the chance to work on a new project, all people are motivated differently, that is undeniable. People have different priorities in the workplace, the intern is hungry for experience, the young sales rep trying to meet goals for that juicy bonus, the VP struggling to balance home and work life.
Of course, money is the main reason we all get up to go to work in the morning, but even motivational theories such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs stemming back to the early 1900’s outline how so many other factors come into play in regards to motivating people.
Unless you know your workers’ differences, the music they make together may sound more like a cacophony than a symphony.
Thankfully, modern research conducted in 2004 found six different segments in the American workplace. All workplaces, especially large ones, will likely employ some of each type of worker. The list includes:
1. Fair and Square Traditionalists – who want their work to provide stability and a secure future. Motivate them by;
– Asking for and giving them feedback
– Talking to them frankly
– Discussing the company mission and their role in making it happen
2. Accomplished Contributors – who prize team-work. Motivate them by;
– Nudging them toward team leadership roles
– Giving them specific measurements of their success and growth
– Asking them what they want to do next
3. Stalled Survivors –who see work as work, not life. Motivate them by;
– Focusing on work-life balance and what to do when one is out of kilter
– Putting them on teams that provide support, empathy and role models
– Helping them plan for their career future
4. Demanding Disconnects, your least satisfied workers. Motivate them by;
– Giving them non-routine tasks
– Discovering their strengths to use on the job
– Paying attention to their ideas
5. Maverick Morphers are enthusiastic and like trying new things. Motivate them by;
– Providing a congenial work environment
– Letting them know what’s going on
– Discussing their progress
6. Self-Empowered Innovators like work for the sake of work. Motivate them by:
– Giving them responsibilities that allow for learning and growth
– Ridding their path of obstacles
– Allowing them to stretch the company’s vision
Whether a leader, manager or supervisor, the key to motivating employees is to understand what drives them. We know that in many large organizations you may not have time to go through the above list when analyzing each employee. Therefore, our recommendation is simple: assessments.
Employee assessments will provide you with insight that could lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction throughout your organization. The information collected from assessments provides company leaders with perspective on the current reality in their organization’s workplace and highlights areas of concern affecting the total workplace experience.
With emerging trends and new technology today, leading an organization is no simple task. Ancient motivational theories such as Maslows will not suffice. Think of managing today as trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with millions of tiny pieces. You cannot force the pieces together; you must examine each one to see where each fits in the picture. Your goal is not to finish the puzzle, because it is ever-changing; your goal is to keep putting the pieces where they fit.
Here is an outstanding video by author Dan Pink and his research on ‘The surprising truth behind what motivates us’.