| They are age-old management
questions: how to motivate employees for higher productivity and how
to get them to produce over and beyond established goals without busting
the budget. Fortunately, there are several solutions.
We must remember that while employees need money to survive, they
often are motivated by other elements in the workplace. As humans,
we all have different motivators. In my consulting practice, I've
found that - besides money - there are eight primary employee needs
which, when satisfied, become motivators for higher productivity.
When management can determine and then best satisfy its employees'
needs, it will create a process that promotes productivity without
going over budget. Following are the eight needs with some tips on
how to best use them to motivate.
Personal growth and development. To satisfy this need, management
must match employees' interests, strengths and skills with the job
to be done. If there is no match, or if it's minimal, interest in
the job may wane, and so will productivity.
Management should perform 360º assessment of needed job core
competencies, duties and responsibilities and compare the results
with incumbent capabilities. This test will examine whether employees
in specific areas are fulfilled, motivated and productive. Many employees
- particularly generations "X" and "Y" - feel
work should be more than mere drudgery. They look on it as only a
part of the total life experience, and like life itself, it should
provide for their personal growth and development. If these needs
aren't met in the work environment, these employees may be less than
fully motivated and productive, and often will move on, to develop
Challenging work. Those with this need want to exercise their talents
to attain success. They are self-motivated, so management must provide
challenging assignments in order for them to consistently produce.
And, they must be allowed to learn from failure. For example, when
a project flops, rather than assigning blame, supervisors must discuss
with those responsible what was learned from the experience so the
failure won't happen again. What was the cause? Was the timing bad?
Were there enough resources? What about incorrect information? Management's
proper handing of occasional failures can be a motivator for future
Recognition. When employees have done a good job, particularly when
they've succeeded in a challenging assignment, nearly all want to
be recognized for doing so. When this doesn't occur, the result often
is de-motivating (a "what's the use, nobody cares" attitude).
But, when honestly and genuinely offered by supervisors and other
management, praise and recognition can be one of the greatest motivators.
Authority. Those with this need like to lead, direct, influence and
control others. They should be given decision-making opportunities
on projects that may motivate them to produce with maximum effort.
Interaction and affiliation. People with these needs should be with
others, and must find the social aspects of the workplace to be a
valuable and rewarding experience. To motivate these employees, provide
opportunities to work on teams, as well as to participate in group
projects and meetings.
Independence. Some employees need freedom to set their own schedules,
to make their own decisions and to work without interference from
others. These are the people who want to work rather strange hours.
Often, those in creative functions and the arts are highly motivated
and produce great things when this need is fulfilled.
Predictability. Many people are best motivated when they have job
security. A predictable environment, steady income and health benefits,
as well as a pleasant, safe, harassment-free, non-confrontational
workplace are adequate to satisfy, motivate and create productivity
in those with this need.
Fairness. To satisfy this need, there must be equality of work, pay,
hours and treatment. For employees with this need, favoritism becomes
a de-motivator, and it may lower productivity substantially.
Of course, money is an important motivator too! But, be careful. Sometimes,
individual cash awards for excellence can cause a reduction in teamwork
(and thus productivity), since some employees may concentrate on their
own personal cash gains. Unless cash bonuses and incentives are awarded
for the right reasons and in a fair and equitable way, de-motivation
and lower productivity of individuals and teams may occur. It's wise
to balance individual awards with those for team success.
Top management can help their bottom lines by coaching supervisors
on the benefits of assessing employee needs, and then satisfying them.
The result can be a motivated workforce that creates higher productivity
and greater profits.