June 17, 2010 Leadership

Employee Motivation

I am often asked by organizational leaders “How do I keep my employees motivated”.  My answer is always the same.  Sure, I believe having a competitive salary, great benefits  and a few perks helps  keep employees satisfied.  But to truly have an employee feel motivated they need to feel challenged in their jobs.  They need to feel that what they do in their jobs is contributing to the success of the company, the project or the department (depending on the employee level) and most importantly they want to be recognized for their contributions. This doesn’t necessarily mean a reward.  It means the their leadership truly values what they do and demonstrates it in their actions and words.

 There is no standard set of practices and incentives to engage and motivate employees. Each person is an individual with a different set of  motivations and drivers. Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, identifies three broad levers to drive motivation — autonomy, mastery and purpose. Those drivers can be particularly important for top performers.  Leaders first must understand what value means to their employees, then it becomes a little easier to reward.