New ways to motivate your team will likely have crossed your mind at one time or another. What are some of the ideas you’ve come up with? Money might have landed in your top three. You may also have considered the team itself that your employee works with or perhaps you’ve thought of looking at location or possibly culture. If this is true of you, to put it bluntly, you’re wrong. Factors such as salary, working conditions, interpersonal relationships with colleagues, fairness and friendliness of the supervisor and company policy do little to motivate the average employee. But they are still very important. If your employee views any of these as negative or lacking then dissatisfaction will soon follow and this dovetails directly with your retention rate.
While related, there is a huge difference between motivation and retention. Imagine this scenario; your top Account Manager, Taylor, feels that your company doesn’t meet the desired work/life balance. She regularly comes in early in order to catch necessary clients on the East Coast but is still then required to stay until the usual quitting time. Due to the fact that she is not authorized to leave ‘early’ she’s continually missing her son’s soccer games. This is the sort of reason why employees move on, which of course impacts turnover rate. What if you adjusted the work hours in such a way that Taylor could continue to meet the demands of her role and her life? It’s likely that Taylor would feel positively about her working conditions. In this scenario Taylor’s not likely to move on and therefore the retention rate has increased. However, since Taylor would view this optimistic work/life balance as the way it should have been all along, this adjustment would most likely have little impact on her motivation.
To keep your retention higher you will want to look at those factors that aren’t related to the job content, but are related to the job environment (these are listed in the first paragraph.) If these aspects are absent a dissatisfied workforce is a possibility, which leads to an increase in turnover, and turnover really means higher operating costs for lost production time, recruitment and training. So before you push for motivation from a team, take a long hard look at the environmental job factors and make sure they are encouraging.
Motivation comes from the content of the job which has a direct impact on satisfaction. If someone enjoys what they do and the inherent facets of the job itself, that employee is going to become better at it and more interested in growing with the role. This improvement equals an increase in production and an increase in production is truly what is desired when speaking about motivating a team.
So, what are the magical job features that will increase motivation? In short, the top five are: the work itself; a sense of achievement, earned recognition, the importance of responsibility and the opportunities for growth and advancement. Besides the job tasks, these all boil down to a team member feeling valued. So, if you haven’t told your team lately that you appreciate them you might want to simply say “Thank you.”