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What motivates your staff?


When you wake up in the morning, have you noticed what makes you get out of bed? Is it passion that fuels you; the feeling that you could live your work? Is what you do an extension of your identity or are you surviving for the next pay-check? Research was conducted recently by Forbes magazine, author Glen Llopis, identifies nine main motivators for people wanting to work.

1.       Trustworthy leadership

Leaders that have your back and that are looking out for your best interests will win the trust of their employees who in turn will be more motivated to achieve. I once had a department manager that always looked out for me. He was upfront in communicating his performance expectations and his feedback was direct. He never treated me like a subordinate and looked for ways to include me in senior management meetings. This opened my eyes to what lay ahead in my career and thus motivated me to reach the next level and to exceed the expectations of my boss.

Trust is a powerful motivational tool and those leaders that are more transparent when interacting with employees will find surprising results and new types of opportunities to develop talent.

2.       Being relevant

In today’s world where everyone wants to be noticed and recognised for their work – employees are motivated to achieve to remain relevant. As such, employees are in search of new ways to learn, improve their skills and invest in themselves.  

Helping employees increase their relevance is important and those leaders that participate in this process will help cultivate increased performance levels and loyalty.  Helping your employees get discovered will elevate their motivation to achieve.

3.       Proving others wrong

This particular motivation to achieve has been heightened as of late from younger professionals that seek to prove themselves faster amongst older generations in the workplace. Employees never want to be stereotyped or marginalised, but for many younger professionals this serves as the trigger to awaken them from within.

As a leader, encourage your employees to exceed expectations by taking responsible risks.  Embrace diverse thinking and measure one’s ability to innovate.  

4.       Career advancement

Perhaps the most important factor on this list is the ability to advance. Employees are extremely motivated to achieve when it means that advancement awaits them. This requires employees to be mindful of opportunities that lie around, beneath and beyond what they seek. Remember, just because your employees may be relevant, it doesn’t guarantee advancement. So make it a point to help them get there.

5.       No regrets

People only have a few real chances in their careers to reach their ultimate goals. In fact, how many times do you meet people that are more successful than you are and you wonder how they got there. People don’t want to live with any regrets in their career/life and thus are motivated to not disappoint themselves.

As a leader, don’t allow your employees to walk around carrying a load of guilt.  Share your journey with them – your failures and successes.

6.       Stable future

People are motivated to have safety and security. Everyone wants a stable future, but you never know when time will pass you by. That’s why we are all in a race against time and thus motivated to achieve faster than ever before. We have all learned from the 2008 economic collapse that we can all quickly become victims of unexpected change without preparation.

As a leader, be mindful of providing security and stability in how you lead your employees – and watch their motivational levels rise.

7.       Self-indulgence

This factor is quite interesting and extremely important to put into proper perspective. People are motivated for selfish reasons to achieve – albeit money, attention, fame, etc. Must we be reminded that greed and selfishness contributed greatly to America’s current economic hardship?

8.       Impact

As mentioned earlier on, today’s employees are motivated to achieve more than ever simply by the opportunity to create impact. As employees reflect on their lives and careers – they want to contribute in ways that measure their achievements based upon the long-term benefits that the company they serve gives.

As a leader, allow your employees to have sustainable impact in the work they perform. Allow them to make a mark toward significance.

9.       Happiness

In the end, happiness is one of the greatest motivations to achieve. Happiness fuels ones self-esteem and gives people hope for a better tomorrow.   We are all victims of taking our work too seriously. Step back and enjoy the journey. Your motivation to achieve is ultimately based on earning a living that brings you tremendous joy and satisfaction.

As a leader, be aware of whether your employees are satisfied in their work and that you are deliberate in having this type conversation with them. Never assume. Employees will smile to save their jobs even if they aren’t content.

Assure your employees happiness shines and allow the previous eight motivational factors to influence the process organically.

Author: Glen Llopis of Forbes magazine.