Motivating People Beyond Money
The imperative to make a critical shift forward is written on the walls of our workplaces. Money is not enough, because in a world of increasing change, challenges, competition the litmus test, the NEW currency of success is providing YOUR people, YOUR bread and butter, the foundation of YOUR success, with a workplace that is purposeful, engaging and allows them to not only grow professionally but personally.
Delighted to share a guest post by internationally acclaimed speaker and trainer, Chris Atkinson. Thank you Chris for your important work. I am sure that your upcoming seminar Transformational Leadership-Moving Beyond Money at World of Learning, Birmingham, UK will be received by a captivate audience Sept 30th
Motivating People Beyond Money by Chris Atkinson
Despite a growing body of research to the contrary most organisations remain fixated on incentive and punishment as the key methodologies for employee motivation and engagement. Many leaders find it hard to imagine an organisational context where money isn’t the driving force behind the motivation of their people. Whilst money will remain the primary reason why most of us decide to work it actually isn’t an effective motivator nor is it actually very effective as a means to drive higher performance.
If you see organisations like an engine, any engine needs fuel. The traditional fuel that powers that engine was incentive and reward or punishment and fear. The features of this engine design were bonus schemes, performance awards, KPI based management, disciplinary processes and even anger/aggression. What we’re seeing today is that the current workforce is running on a different kind of fuel so the ‘engine’ of the organisation must now change in response. The workforce we have today is fuelled by wanting to do meaningful work, wanting to feel trusted, wanting to feel respected. Our organisations now need to change their design accordingly so that we are able to use that particular fuel.
Let’s move away from the analogy to real life. A simple way to understand this is to ask yourself, “When my boss asks me to do something, why am I agreeing to do it?” The answer will fall into two camps:
1) I’ve got to do it because it’s my job, because I’m contracted to do it, because I’m afraid of punishment or because maybe there’s a reward which I desire, it could even be that there’s some politics at play meaning I want to keep my boss happy.
2) Because I’d enjoy doing it, because I agree with it, it feels right to me, I want to support my boss, I see it as a positive challenge.
This is hugely important to organizations right now because the historical relationship between employee and employer is about, “I give you x amount of hours in return for a certain amount of salary.” The thing with this transaction is it has to be equal and fair. The problem becomes, as companies ask employees to do more, to give more hours, to put more effort in, most people aren’t seeing more salary so the transaction starts to look unfair .
Organizations are starting to realize that they need deeper relationships with their employees in order to rise above the wave of turbulence in the industry.
Simply put, the traditional methodology of organisational performance management ensured employees came to work for money and kept working by carrot or stick systems. The modern design of high performing organisations has taken a radical step away from this design and in doing so it seeing a radical shift in organisational performance.
The research is unequivocal; a 2013 paper by Gallup looked at 263 research studies across 192 organisations in 49 industries and 34 countries. In total, they studied 49,928 business units including 1,390,941 employees. Their findings showed that organisations with an average of 9.3 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee experienced 147% higher earnings per share (EPS) compared with their competition.
I’m sure you recognise that what you enjoy in work, what gives you satisfaction in work, it’s not really about the pay cheque and benefits, those are very important to you but they don’t cause you to feel energetic, passionate, dedicated or absorbed. These words come from a different place; they come from intrinsic motivation, a feeling from inside ourselves rather than from external stimulus. With this in mind organizations today need to focus on how they create a sense of EMOTIONAL rewards and satisfaction for employees. The key influencing areas to drive emotional satisfaction in work are:
i) Line manager personality
ii) Characteristics of day to day work
iii) Organisational culture
iv) Senior team qualities/traits
v) Induction and orientation process
If we want to change the design of our organisations then we need to take a deep and hard look at these critical areas. We need to change the design of the organisational engine to promote intrinsic satisfaction from work, environment and our working relationships. This cannot happen through management, through process and systems. This is a human issue and needs human solutions.
In conclusion, I would emphasize that this doesn’t mean we can get employees to work really hard and not pay them. People are always going to want to be fairly and appropriately compensated for the work that they do and moreover it’s right that organisations reward people for their efforts, time and even sacrifices. But the key is, beyond these things we must find a more meaningful and a deeper relationship with our employees.
There is a wealth of motivation to be found once we move beyond money.
Image Credit: Big Stock Photo
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Author Bio: Chris Atkinson
Training Design Director, Elysian Training | International Speaker
Chris is a passionate business speaker who combines strong commercial and training focus with a deep psychological knowledge to inspire individuals and businesses. He travels internationally as speaker specialising in engagement, organisational culture and inspiring leadership. Starting his career in 2001 Chris has worked with diverse business sectors in more than 20 countries worldwide with 43 different nationalities. In April 2015 he was featured on the front cover of Realizing Leadership magazine.
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