Everyone dreams of having employees that motivate themselves!
The idea of a team that is psyched, forward-thinking, and moving the business forward is especially thrilling for small business owners.
The struggle is that most employees aren’t inherently, and most articles on employee motivation contain generic answers to the quandary of trying to motivate employees. Generic solutions generally don’t work, because people aren’t generic! Everyone is a little different, and finds their motivation (their driving force) in a different area. Which means that every team member has to be engaged differently and from a place of understanding.
In this article I’m going to break down the different ways people find their motivation (I. E., their driving forces) so you can understand how to motivate your employees. But first...
Before you can look at engaging individual team members with their unique driving forces, there are a couple universal keys that must be in place. Without these two universal keys, individual engagement won’t make a bit of difference.
The Universal Keys to Employee Engagement Are...
Don’t Be Scrooge
I know, it’s a little early for Christmas. But bear with me…
If you are a miser with your funds, you’ll never have employees that tap into their full potential for the company. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we need to have all our basic needs (safety, security, food, a roof over our heads, etc.) fulfilled in order to tap into our higher purpose. If your employees can’t cover their basic needs, they don’t have the mental space or energy to be a real asset to the company. So don’t pay a full-time employee a wage that can’t cover their living expenses.
You don’t have to be paying at the top of the industry, but you should be paying enough that your employee’s basic living needs are taken care of so they can focus on something higher.
Think of it this way: would you feel motivated to work hard at a company that wasn’t taking care of you?
Provide Clear Direction and Feedback
This key comes back to the essence of being a good boss: employee management.
If an employee doesn’t understand how their work impacts the company or how well they are performing their job, they can’t move forward. There is no motivation to perform well, and there is no context for them to understand how they can improve. So if you want employees that are engaged and motivated within your company, be sure you’re giving them feedback and direction. (If you struggle with managing employees and don’t know how to start having feedback and direction conversations, read my blog on team management!)
E. G., if a ship is being directed by the Captain but the Navigator and Engineer aren’t receiving information, corrections, and instructions from the Captain, the ship won’t make much progress on its course toward the goal the Captain has set for it. It’s the same thing for a business. Employees need guidance and feedback to know how to steer the business toward the business owner’s goals.
Motivating Individual Employees: Individual Drivers:
Back in 1928, Edward Springer published a book called “Types of Men.” His theory was that different individuals are motivated by different things to different degrees. These different things are called drivers (because they drive people).
A company called TTI has developed his process and refined it a number of times. They now understand that there are 6 different driving forces in each person, and each person is motivated to a different degree by each driving force. I’ve worked with this company over the years, and what I’ve discovered is that they are spot on!
Everyone is motivated by the 6 drivers to a degree and we each have certain drivers that push us especially intensely.
E. G., People who are strongly driven by accruing knowledge and information may start research simply for the sake of the knowledge. Others who aren’t very strongly driven by accruing knowledge and information may only begin research if they need the information and can put it into practice immediately. Both people are driven by the driver for “Accruing knowledge and information” but to very different degrees.
The 6 Drivers
These are the 6 drivers. The knowledge of them can be used for your own personal growth as well as for the motivation of your different employees. Keep in mind, they are not specific things that drive people specifically, but spectrums on which everyone places differing weights.
We Value and Accrue Knowledge
Like in the example, this spectrum is the different amounts of importance and emphasis we put on knowledge and the gathering of it. People can fall anywhere from reading the dictionary for the sake of knowing the words and loving a research project, to only looking something up if they have to and being frustrated if they have to delve into intense research.
We Measure Practicality, Usefulness, and Return on Interest
This spectrum refers to the amount of weight we give to whether or not something is practical and useful. People can fall anywhere from only engaging in an activity (or buying something) if they know it will be useful and give them a return on their investment, to not particularly caring much about whether or not something is practically useful for their everyday life and wanting to engage only when they can complete a task to the absolute best of their ability.
Our Surroundings Impact our Productivity
This spectrum refers to actual physical space influencing someone’s ability to focus and work. People can fall anywhere from only being able to function in spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, to caring more about the functionality of the space versus the aesthetics.
We Value Giving and Serving to Help Others
This spectrum refers to the kind of importance that people place on simply helping others. People can fall anywhere from feeling the need to donate every hour of their weekend to the homeless shelter and nursing home, to needing to see how helping others will impact them before making the effort.
We Value Individuality, Status, and Personal Influence
This spectrum refers to the weight that people place on interpersonal status, influence, and personal individuality. People can fall anywhere from desiring for their personal contributions to be recognized & praised to finding their sense of satisfaction only when the TEAM wins and actively avoiding individual recognition.
Meaningful and Defined Systems Align with our Personal Beliefs
This spectrum refers to the kind of importance that people place on systems and processes that align with their personal beliefs, whatever those are. People can fall anywhere from only adopting a process or system if they strongly believe in it, to adopting whatever system works for what they need it to do, even if that’s new and has minimal relation to their belief structure.
The awesome thing about these drivers…
Is that everyone is motivated strongly by a few of these. We all have different things that get us psyched up and excited, which means that your employees have a number of things that get them psyched up and excited to work!
All you have to do is discover what drives your people, and give it to them. If you have a team member who is strongly driven by Valuing and Accruing Knowledge, send them all of the research projects that you’ve got in your company. Finding ways to help your people work within their driving forces is a surefire way to help average employees become huge company assets.
Now, that means that your job is to discover what their drivers are. Which means having conversations with them and getting to know your employees. It also might involve discovering what discourages them and keeping those kinds of projects away from them. But your job is to discover what drives them, and give that to them. Even if it means creating a personalized plan of assignments so that they are always working inside of their drivers.
Putting all this together might seem like a ton of work. It kind of is. But the shift it will create in your team dynamic will blow your mind!