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What actually motivates employees?

Is it the money? Is it taking satisfaction from a job well done? Is it working in a challenging work environment? Anything else perhaps?

As every employee is an individual with their own motivations and reasons to come to work it’s a given that money, whilst important isn’t the prime reason people come to work. As employers we’d like to think that people actually enjoy being at work and some even measure employee satisfaction, regularly and take notice of the research.

American psychologist Abraham Maslow created the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualisation. Unfortunately (or not) his model has been Meme’d with “WiFi” becoming the foundation of all our needs.

So we have a rough idea of what employees are seeking, they want to attain self actualisation for themselves, how can we as employers contribute to this lofty objective?

In a recent report from engagement specialists PEAKON* they found that :

Strong leadership is the biggest driver of employee engagement across both genders:

  1. Personal growth and accomplishment affect engagement levels more in men.
  2. Women tend to feel financially under-rewarded, whereas men are more confident that their opinions are appreciated.

So strong leadership is the most important motivational factor an employer can deliver to get the most out of their employees. But what is strong leadership?

I reckon that the following contributes to strong leadership, what do you think?

  1. Engender a fantastic team spirit, make sure all your employees understand your
    mission, I’m not just talking about the company mission but what is each individual’s
    mission, what is their role supposed to deliver and how does it fit into the main business objective.
  2. Make it obvious to your employees that their personal growth is a priority for you.
  3. Ensure and make sure employees understand that the notion of a fair day’s pay for a fair days work has been contextualised across your market sector
  4. It’s all in a ‘thank you’ – If an employee does a great job, shout it from the rooftops. Let them know that you appreciate what they do for you.
  5. Don’t be afraid to have those difficult conversations – If an employee is underperforming,
    feedback to them, try to understand and let them know that you want to support them and provide them with any additional support that they may need. A difficult conversation does not need to be a negative experience.

There are a few simple steps that you too could follow to motivate your employees and it costs you very little but the important thing is to be a great leader, no matter where you are in the organisation. Get to know your employees motivations, have clearly defined performance objectives, regular 1-2-1 meetings and offering training and support where it’s needed.

To find out more about how we could help you just give us a call on +44 7951356700

*Understanding male and female motivation in the workplace PEAKON ENGAGEMENT REPORT October 2016