A quintessential part of a successful company is an efficient team. Employees are what drive a company towards achieving its goals. Given this, it is important to make sure that employees are adequately motivated in the workplace. Employee motivation is key to the success of any business. Money has been known as a motivator of employees. However, money is not the only motivator considered. As elaborated on by Melonie Boone (CEO of Boone Management Group) in a previous post, which cited a survey conducted by Career Builder, money is not always necessarily the prime motivator of employee performance.
There are several other motivators that employers should consider when attempting to motivate their employees. The survey result showed that the top three choices of motivators were: flexible schedule, being able to make a difference , and challenging work. These statistics support the argument made by Daniel Pink in his book Drive, that autonomy (flexible schedule), purposefulness (being able to make a difference), and mastery (challenging work) are prime motivators for individuals who currently make enough money to live fairly comfortably.
Autonomy, as it relates to motivation, refers to an individual acquiring the freedom to use whatever route they choose to get to an end goal. In other words, accountability for completing a task still remains, but an individual has flexibility in regards to how to accomplish the task. This is a beneficial tactic to use to motivate employees in the workplace. People like to have control over their own lives. Allowing individuals to have autonomy leads to higher levels of psychological well-being. Autonomy has also been shown to lead to better work performance. Additionally, autonomy leads to less burnout, which is necessary for an efficient work environment. In regards to autonomy, consider implementing a “work from home day” or an option to telecommute once a week.
Purposefulness, as it relates to motivation, refers to the want to give to a cause greater than ourselves. Human beings have an innate proclivity to be a part of something “bigger”. Achieving purposeful goals leads to happiness, whereas achieving extrinsic goals does not. Individuals who experience the feeling of purposefulness tend to be very productive because they are intrinsically motivated. In regards to purposefulness, consider implementing opportunities for the company to give back to the community or become a more “green” company as well as seminars which show employees that their efforts positively impact others.
Mastery, as it relates to motivation, refers to a technically unattainable level of expertise. Mastery is a mindset. The pursuit of mastery represents the engagement. During this process, an person betters their skills, abilities, and understandings. In a state of mastery, the individual is often in a state of “flow”. People are more likely to be in good flow at work than at home or at leisure. At work, people have clear goals, immediate feedback, and well-matched challenges. This is an environment that mastery, or at least the pursuit of it, can occur in. In regards to mastery, consider offering more training or a higher learning compensation program.
Motivated employees will work efficiently and contently. Employees who are content and efficient will attract more customers to the company. More customers lead to more company sales. And, more company sales equate a more profitable company. While some executives only think of the last step in this cycle (more money for the company), it is important to realize that properly motivating employees is what will more effectively lead to higher company profits, as compared to merely raising product prices. The human resources division of companies are no longer the administrative/compensation entities they were twenty years ago.
HR should no longer be seen as reactive (responding to company problems). Instead, HR should be proactive (preventing problems before they occur) Utilizing a strategic HR team within a company that develops initiatives to properly motivate employees can make a large positive impact on your company.