Employee Motivation: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

While we are editorial independent and recommend the best products through an independent review process, we may receive compensation if you click on links to partners we recommend.

Sections of this topic

    Some people like their eggs poached, or scrambled, or soft-boiled, or sunny-side up. Others prefer deviled eggs, an omelet, or a quiche.

    A key principle of employee motivation is that different people and different groups have different needs and desires. Here’s what you need to know about motivation.

    1. Money is not the top motivator – are you surprised?
    Survey after survey show compensation is important, but the majority of the workforce desires other things more. They want to be valued for the work they do. Money does not do this; personal recognition does.

    2. What motivates staff is often different from what motivates supervisors.
    When workers were asked to rank a list of motivators from 1 to 10 in order of importance, workers rated “appreciation for a job well done” as their top motivator; supervisors ranked it eighth. Employees ranked “feeling in on things” as being #2 in importance; supervisors ranked it last at #10.

    3. You get what you reward is common sense, but unfortunately not common practice.
    How many supervisors consider ‘appreciating others’ to be part of their job responsibility? Probably, not many. Most tend to be too busy or too removed from their employees to notice and thank good work. Limited appreciation leads to limited motivation.

    4. What is most motivating tend to be relatively easy to do.
    For example, recognize a high performer in the company newsletter or website. Have her manager’s manager call to thank her for a job well done. Leave a voice mail praising her work.

    5. Managers tend not to focus on employee motivation until it’s lost.
    They are often too busy focusing on what’s urgent and forget about it until morale sinks, employees quit or targets are not made. Then they must scramble to figure out what’s going on. At this point, fixing the problem is much more difficult than doing little things along the way.

    Management Success Tip:

    You probably have a diverse workforce. You have different employee groups – each with unique needs. Do you know the key motivators for your:

    • Front-liners who deal with the customer everyday?
    • Sales force that grow your business in leaps and bounds?
    • Support staff that make it come together behind the scenes?
    • Professionals who provide the know how to get the work done?
    • Young workers who will develop into the future for your organization?

    Do your employees say: “The only time I get attention from my supervisor is when I do something wrong?” Then start recognizing good performance. Email Marcia@MarciaZidle.com to get “50 Great Ways to Recognize and Reward and Not Break the Bank”

    Do you want to develop your Management Smarts?