Extensive research confirms that for most, the key motivator is not money; it is appreciation and affiliation.
Our employees are our most valuable assets, and there often some individuals who are absolutely key to our success because of what they do and how well they do it. We must care deeply about our people.
I do believe in paying employees well. Not what we think we have to, but better. Let's eliminate the risk of losing great employees because of better pay by taking the option off the table.
Yes, in general, money is not the key motivator; however, each person's situation is different. We must consider children, private versus public education philosophies, needs to help aging parents, whether a spouse is making good money, hobbies, thirst for travel, early retirement dreams, and other needs or interests. We simply do not want to risk losing key people. Pay them well and they will appreciate it. Just make sure they know that they must continue to earn it.
Remember Tom Peter's advice – Take good care of your people and they will take good care of your clients!
However, and this is a big however, we should not begin to think that paying well is enough. It isn't close to enough to keep our good people, to have them be engaged and loyal.
Here's where the research proves valuable, where we can gain from the surveys of tens of thousands of employees. It confirms that the keys are that people want feel:
- that they are heard, that their ideas matter
- that they can be successful and there is support to help them
- there is a sense of family, an affiliation they enjoy, a collaborative, supportive culture, a happy, energetic team
- the company is not driven by profits, that success means being the best we can be, with our service and the way we work together, that clients and our own people come first, not quarterly profits
- a respect for senior management, that they are leaders, not riding high horses and hiding behind their titles – that they say hello, with a smile and by name and care how we are, that they take a personal as well as a professional interest in their employees
In order to move beyond motivating employees to truly inspiring them, I believe we must speak with them about excellence. We must give them opportunities to grow up and into a higher level of performance and responsibilities – to shoot for the stars.
Lets be encouraging, trusting, supportive about what our people can do, offering them the chance to "go for it", to take risks, and, if there is a misstep, to correct and learn from it.
Show our people that we have confidence in them, want them to succeed, share our vision with them.
Our positive energy can be contagious and truly inspire our colleagues. Let's use it generously.