Identify your staff’s motivating factors
"What’s in it for me?" This common phrase exemplifies the reality of how people are primarily focused on the things that matter most to them. This is well depicted in the story of a young car salesman who enthusiastically shared with his 75-year-old female prospect the feature of how the new model SUV’s spare tire bin was designed to double as a beer cooler; perfect for tailgating!
It is human nature to try to motivate another person from the same basis as one’s own perspective. However, being motivated is an internal effort and therefore arguably cannot be instilled in someone else; rather, it must be self-induced. A well-known athletic apparel company’s logo simplifies the act of “just doing it” and this would be a whole different world if everyone just did. Unfortunately, when it comes to managing employees, motivation is not a one-size-fits-all concept.
Different people are motivated for different reasons both personally and professionally. Particularly where employer/employee interactions are concerned, understanding an associate’s individual motivating factor can enhance coaching opportunities and improve productivity while reducing turnover. Five common motivation factors are:
1. Compensation. “Show me the money!” This phrase is often heard at casinos around the world, but is also often the mindset of an employee that has a purely financial perspective on employment opportunities. This is especially common amongst people in commission-based positions. A professional that is motivated by money is less concerned about title, perks or even recognition. Instead, they operate from a ‘put it in my paycheck’ mentality. Their philosophy is that if they can’t cash it, it has no real value. This employee is usually self-motivated and as a result, often does not need a lot of coaxing to perform. They respond best to cash reward-based spiffs and bonuses which can be offered as additional incentives.
2. Advancement. A 26-year-old college graduate was convinced that he was making the right decision to turn down a position with a well-established corporation offering him a salary $15,000/year more than the start-up venture group that was also interested in him. His decision was based on his theory that it’s not just about the money. His desire to learn and grow in his new position with the start-up outweighed the income potential of the corporation. An employee that is motivated in this way genuinely thrives on the concept of moving up the corporate ladder. Offering constant reinforcement of advancement opportunities and highlighting examples of internal promotions are excellent ways to maintain a high level of motivation for this associate.
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