Top 10 factors that motivate employees
By Victor Ng | Oct 31, 2008
Recently, a friend showed me the results of a survey of employees around the world. When it comes to what motivate staff to give their best at work, the following Top 10 motivating factors were identified:
- Appreciation or recognition for a job well done
- Being in the know about company matters
- An understanding attitude from the management
- Job security
- Good wages
- Interesting work
- Career advancement opportunities
- Loyalty from management
- Good working conditions
- Tactful discipline
It seems that, in Asia, not enough emphasis has been placed in these areas. Some of these factors are self-evident. However, some need elaboration to clarify what employees are really looking for and what business owners and managers can do to make these factors happen.
Appreciation or recognition for a job well done
Recognition is not only to make employees feel good about their work and accomplishments. That is only a by-product. We recognize and praise because we want to reinforce a particular effort or result that helps the business. The more these specific behaviors are recognized, the more frequently an employee will repeat them.
This is the other side of the coin of why we discipline employees. It's because because we want to discourage specific behaviors that do not add value to the business.
In Asian cultures, many bosses and managers do not receive recognition or praise in their upbringing, and have perpetuated the myth that appreciation is not an important aspect of job. The typical view is that there's no need to recognize or praise employees for doing the job they're supposed to do well. That's what the paycheck is for! These bosses have had no positive role models in their work experience that reinforces appreciation, recognition or compliments for a job well done.
But in today's global marketplace, desire for such positive work experience is becoming more and more a reality.
Being in the know about company matters
People want to feel that they are part of something bigger than just their job. It is the difference in coming to work in order to receive a paycheck or coming to work in order to help the organization be successful. Believing in something larger than the job is a key ingredient for employee engagement.
Try to include employees in discussions or communications about these topics:
- Current and new products/services offered
- Key customers and their needs or expectations
- Financial position and or results
- Key projects and their status
- Market/economic trends and issues
- Current company goals
- Future plans
Being in the know in these areas not only helps employees feel informed; the information actually helps them to make the best possible decisions in their daily activities. Often, management would view an employee as making wrong decisions, when the truth is that the employee made the best possible decision based on the information he or she has.
An understanding attitude from the management
This factor filters down through factors 4 to 10. For instance, an understanding attitude should be reflected in the way an employee receives correction and discipline (tactful discipline). The same can be said for displaying loyalty to your employees (loyalty from management). In addition, making work interesting and planning a career path for them would demonstrate that a manager or supervisor has taken into consideration an individual employee's strengths and talents prior to assigning the work (interesting work, career advancement opportunities, good working conditions).
The true opportunity for every manager or supervisor in this area is actually in everyday conversation and interaction. It is during these times that an employee determines if you truly care and understand. Are you courteous, respectful and enthusiastic enough?
The key lies in how available you are when your staff encounter problems - not just work-related. How you approach work-life balance would determine how understanding an attitude you have towards your emplyees.
As you can see, good wages isn't top but middle on the list. Money is typically not a motivator at all. It becomes a real motivator only if an employee is not making enough money to meet his or her basic needs. If this is the case, the employee will do what is necessary to survive.
Determine a compensation strategy for your organization before it becomes a survival need. Think and communicate in terms of total compensation. Include benefits, time off, bonuses, profit sharing and any other program you have in your organization that relates to compensation. Make certain your people know and understand every aspect of their compensation plan, not just what they take home at the end of the month.
Whenever possible, base compensation on performance, not seniority. Pay people what the position and their performance is worth. Don't wait until they have received a better offer before you are willing to do that. Give them the respect they deserve.
Ultimately, you should aim to provide more than just a paycheck to your employees. If all your business means is a source of a paycheck, any comparable paying job will suffice. Provide them with challenges, opportunities for development and advancement, recognition, prestige, and a place that they can feel proud to work at.