Employee motivation, isn’t that a tricky thing? Yes it is. And it’s also one of the most important, if not THE most important factor that determines an organization’s success. Many companies pay little to no attention to this major aspect of organizational success. If your company does invest on Human Resource Management (really, not just have a dummy HR department that processes papers), training, team building, Etc, then they are way ahead of most others. All these measures are helpful. But without the backdrop of culture, these efforts may not result in significant improvements in employee motivation.
Whats in it for me? As leaders, we hear this cry openly or in nonverbal ways over and over. But its not really about money alone. Yes, when you ask people what their most important motivator is; the answer is most often money. But human behavior belies this often held belief. Yes, having a competitive extrinsic (Monetary) rewards program is important. But in actuality people are really most interested in being recognized for their performance and being given the opportunity to be engaged and empowered in their work.
As a team leader, supervisor, departmental or divisional level you probably dont make the major decisions over the extrinsic rewards for you organization. However you do have 100% control over the intrinsic (Non-monetary) rewards for your entire organization individually and collectively. Believe it or not on a daily basis, your workers are more concerned with their formal and informal recognition than they are about Fridays paycheck its a given. In addition to recognition we can reward our associate by engaging them in decision making, planning, problems solving and the many other ways to effectively engage them in your workplace.
Recognizing an individual’s needs is critical. Making team priorities and being transparent in your decision making are also crucial. Most salaried employees, at some point, have a tendency to think “what’s it going to matter, I am going to get paid anyway”. Such thinking can bring an entire team down. One bad influentical team member can be the starting point for major setbacks. Recognize where each team member’s motivation stems from. For some, it’s working with technology and learning new things. For some, it is to have structure and discipline in the work environment. For some, it is visibility, for others it is regular feedback and encouragement. All these efforts are needed, but with your team’s culture in mind. Think about how you want to lead. What standards do you want to set. When any of your team members is asked about “What’s your team’s culture like?” The answer should be both positive and consistent. That alone can let you manage motivation levels well in your team.
So believe in your ability to control yhour company’s Rewards program, even if you are not one of those that makes the typical bonus, salary, and other direct forms of compensation. Your team’s performance matters to you. Because, you really do control the most important part of the rewards program for every individual and you team as a whole. Think about culture. That will be the starting point of a most amazing and empowering journey to turn your team into one cohesive motivated unit.