Recently I’ve facilitated several interesting conversations on the topic of employee motivation and engagement. During these discussions managers explore the most effective ways to engage team members. Ideas like; flexible work schedules, ping pong tables, recognition, bonuses and even Taco Tuesdays were mentioned. While there were a lot of great thoughts, not one single idea emerged as being the perfect motivator.
Probably because such a thing doesn’t exist. There is not a single approach to engage your workforce that is going to work above all others. There are however some foundational truths that should be taken into consideration for all workplace engagement initiatives:
One size does not fit all
The mindset that “all employees want x” or “all millennials need y” is an overgeneralization that doesn’t serve the uniqueness of your team members. In fact, this one size fits all approach can hinder instead of help. I worked with a manager who regularly boasted about her star employees in company-wide meetings. Little did she know that several of the employees were uncomfortable with public shout outs and one of them even avoided attending the meetings for just this reason.
Part of the gig of being a manager is having some insight into what gets your team members fired up. What drives them? You can accomplish this by taking the time and making the effort to get to know your employees. Have meaningful conversations about long term goals, professional development, and how they like to be rewarded and recognized. The most powerful engagement comes from tapping into to the intrinsic motivators of your team members.
It’s not all about the money
It’s intuitive isn’t it? The more money people make, the more job satisfaction they’ll have and the more engaged they will be. Not really. The fact is that money does not buy engagement. According to analysis by Tim Judge and colleagues on vocational behavior the association between salary and job satisfaction is very weak.
Harvard Business Review makes the case that concentrating too much on salary can take the focus away on what really drives people- intrinsic motivators like learning new skills and intellectual curiosity. Other studies have shown some evidence that money as a motivator can be effective-but typically only for a short period of time (about 6 months) and then job satisfaction ticks down to where it was pre salary increase.
What’s the big picture?
Although engagement is individual, there is one factor that is universal in keeping your team members engaged. It’s understanding how their individual contributions and the contributions of their team help the organization meet its strategic goals. When delegating work, be sure to draw the line between the significance of the project to the long term goals of the company.
Want to learn more about employee engagement? Contact our experts at Pathfinder Strategies at (888) 529-0240 or visit us at pathfinder-strategies.com.