The Motivated Employee

The employee is an integral part of any organization or business & we are becoming more & more important in this day & age. Last year, I was privileged to be part of a think-thank panel focused on finding ways of improving employee engagement & motivation in an organization. While studying at Warwick Business School ( WBS), I took a module on Innovation & Creativity in an Organization (ICO) & one of the first thing that got my attention was the fact that creativity only flows in an organization where employees are highly motivated. We looked at Google Inc. as a case study & it was clear that they are at the cutting edge of innovation because of what they have done in terms on motivating their staff.

Motivation is driven essentially by purpose & not monetary incentives. This statement raises serious arguments & I would like to douse the fire. I understand that we are all on different levels of the hierarchy of needs according to Abraham Maslowhttp://www.businessballs.com/images/maslow_hierarchy.htm), as our faces are different, so are our needs.

But I’ve realized that even though money is important, other things are much more important. I remember reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki where he talked about working for free so as to gain something more important.

I am not saying that money is not important, as a matter of fact, money is a motivator. Employers should pay their employee enough to take the issue of money off the table. As an employee I shouldn’t be thinking about money all the time, my employer should take care of that concern so much so that competition cant poach me as I focus on doing the job.

A study showed that monetary incentives are great for routine & mechanical work. But it doesn’t play well when talking about cognitive & advanced tasks. Check out this 10 minute video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgKKPQiRRag)

The video highlights 3 things that contributes to high motivation, better performance & satisfaction for employee, they are:

1. Autonomy

2. Mastery ( Recognition)

3. Purpose

According to the video, Autonomy is the desire to be self directed. The presenter says “Management is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement, then self direction is better”. This looks contradictory to the norm, but as employees get involved in doing highly sophisticated, creative & innovative work in the office place, some level of free hand is required. Things like flexible hours, creating an excellent team environment, an excellent working environment will go along way to motivate such employees.

I know of a company that runs flexible hours in 3 bands, they display a high sense of trust in their employees to choose & stick to one band. Their only requirement is that the employee must complete the standard 8 hours of work. I know this because I have their offer letter, and not surprisingly a lot of their employee are very motivated & yes they pay very well.

Mastery is the urge to get better at doing something, this is the reason why the likes of Christiano Ronaldo & David Beckham spend hours after practice trying to score a perfect free-kick, why Michael Johnson tries to score a thousand free-throws. We all strive to be the best at doing something & our level of satisfaction & motivation soars when we are recognized for that. Ronaldo just won the 2014 FIFA Ballon D’or & that recognition for his mastery will completely motivate him to do more in 2015 so he can win the award again.

Employers must strive to recognize employees that distinguish themselves as masters in their field or unit, this goes a long way to push that employee to do more as well as motivate other employees. In one of my previous employment, I delivered on a near impossible project with extremely tight timelines, what I got as reward was a plaque, a gift voucher, a TV interview & a standing ovation from the Executive Management Team. Of all of the reward, I still remember vividly the ovation as I sat down at the head of the table beaming with smiles. it was the most satisfying feeling ever!!!!

Purpose is defined as the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. Discovering your purpose, the reason why you are created, why you exist on the face of the earth is the most amazing thing.

Dr Miles Munroe says ” If the need of something is unknown, abuse is inevitable”. Imagine you knowing the reason why you are on earth & then find a job that allows you to do just that. The satisfaction you will get is more than Gold.

The alignment of the employee & employer’s purpose goes a long way to improve employee’s motivation.

I recently wrote about my career & what drives me which is simply Excellence & Challenges. I have been privileged to work for an organization whose purpose in business is to be excellent in every aspect & to take on the challenge of competing against the big firms in the industry & winning. This alignment might  be one of the reasons  why I am still there even after 4 years as opposed to my usual nomadic sting after a couple of years.

So the Human Resource unit must work to break out of the norm & try to engage & motivate their employee by looking at what can be done to improve Autonomy, Recognition ( of mastery) & alignment of Purpose.

This is my snippet, I am SHALOMESQ

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