Insights


In my last blog I addressed the problems associated with financial bonus payments for employees. If throwing money at your employees won’t keep them motivated, what will?

I’m not going to list a bunch of initiatives about how to keep your employees motivated without spending a cent .

What I will do is discuss how, as an employer, you can develop effective non-monetary motivational strategies in your business.

I came across a great definition of motivation on Business Dictionary.com. They define motivation as “Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested in and committed to a job, role, or subject, and to exert persistent effort in attaining a goal”.

I have two dogs, Gus (a Rottweiler) and Conan (a Malamute). I have trained them both to obey certain obedience commands.

I spent the same amount of time with each of them and provided equal rewards but Conan ran circles around Gus. I told my partner that Gus was just ‘not that bright’.

He commented that Gus had never been big on food and always used “Lovey” (a prized toy belonging to Gus) as a reward very effectively. He later proved his point with a demonstration.

Here I was, congratulating myself on being the next Dog Whisperer, and blaming Gus for not being intelligent, when it was my failure as a leader for not appreciating what I needed to do to motivate him to achieve my goal.

Understanding what will stimulate your employees’ desire to help you achieve your goals is critical to success.

While employees will be motivated by factors such as financial security, this will only motivate them to do enough not to lose their job. We need to determine what, why and how we can get employees to care about meeting company goals.

How to determine what will motivate employees
Here are three methods you can use to determine what will motivate individuals and teams.

1. Employee culture surveys
Culture surveys are a great way to understand how employees see your business, what they value and what they would like more of.

I worked with a business that saved $20,000 by cutting gym memberships after survey feedback revealed that 95% of staff didn’t place any value on it, and weren’t using it.

The same organisation implemented an internal mentoring program and concentrated on more professional development opportunities, resulting in increased staff engagement and motivation.

2. Active management
Take time to give and receive feedback from your team by creating open lines of communication.

Make staff feel encouraged (and safe) to give you positive and negative feedback about their likes/dislikes and feelings. In return, you will gain valuable insight on what they really think.

3. Psychometric assessment
A psychometric assessment can provide useful insights if it is used in the right circumstances. It is a great opportunity for managers to learn about new employees’ individual strengths and potential weaknesses.

Most personality profiles will also outline what the person might like, or dislike in a manager and how to behave to get the best out of them. It’s no substitute for taking the time to get to know an individual, but it’s a great start.

Not every staff member will respond to the same management or motivational techniques, so it’s important not to implement ‘blanket strategies’ and assume this will work for everyone.

While rostered days off might motivate some staff, the workaholics in your team might appreciate being given special projects to manage.

This is why it is important to know your team.

I have worked with organisations using both effective and ineffective motivation strategies. I would love to hear from you about your good and bad experiences. Let’s see what we can all come up with together.

In my next blog I will summarise the three most popular and effective non-monetary ways to motivate staff, based on my own research and your comments!

Kate Klease is an executive at Vantage Human Capital, a specialist recruitment and human resources consulting firm that helps ensure clients have appropriate strategies in place to successfully retain, motivate and manage their people.

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