Engage Employees Through Personalized Motivation

The clamor of our alarm clocks forces us out of bed in the morning. But why did we set those alarms in the first place? Because we have to go to work. And why do we have to work?

We are driven by what Abraham Maslow calls our biological and physiological needs. These include food, shelter, water, air, sex and sleep. In North American society, we set an alarm in order to fulfill two of these biological/physiological needs, food, and shelter. The alarm wakes us up so we can go to work, we work so we can afford food and shelter.

Are you following me so far?

It is not just our biological and physiological needs that require satisfaction. In order to thrive, we need to be able to satisfy our cognitive needs of esteem and self-actualization. It is the effort to satisfy these needs that drive us to give our best performance. The drivers that promote the satisfaction of our esteem and self-actualization needs are different for everyone. However, in general, individuals are motivated, in differing degrees, by 5 drivers:

  • Sense of Achievement
  • Work and Life Balance
  • Recognition and Reward
  • Happiness and Respect
  • Professional Development

There is usually one driver that is a greater motivator than the rest, what we call, an individual’s primary driver. The primary driver does not mean that an individual is only driven by that one thing, it just indicates that this driver is of particular importance to them. It’s important that the other drivers not be neglected in favor of the primary driver. Rather, drivers should be ranked from most important to ‘not-as-important’, in order to prioritize how these drivers are addressed in the workplace.

Managers Should Take Note Of Employee Drivers

Information is power and there is perhaps no greater information when it comes to how to engage employees than knowing what drives employees. In knowing what motivates their employees, managers can increase employee engagement by employing the specific means that contribute to individual employee motivation and thus increase their productivity and satisfaction.

For instance, if Bob is motivated by a sense of achievement, his manager should give him tasks that while challenging are also within his capabilities to complete successfully.

You can read a full description of each driver and how to use it to motivate employees at HerdWisdom.com.

How To Discover Employee Drivers

The most straightforward way to discover the factors to  engage employees is to talk to them. However, unless you have less than 10 employees or all the time in the world, this isn’t the easiest way to gain information.

The easiest way to learn what motivates employees is to survey them. This can be done in a number of different ways.

There’s the old fashioned pen and paper, but if you have a lot of employees it will take a while to analyze each one and come up with the individual’s driver rankings. It’s much simpler to use a digital survey that will analyze and compile the data for each employee for you. You can use SurveyMonkey to create your own survey or you can use a pre-designed driver survey like Herd Wisdom’s engagement profiler and have your employees send you their results.

Organization And Confidentiality

There are a number of ways that employee driver information can be organized. However, the most important thing is that employees be assured that in spite of the fact that they are signing their names to the survey, the information they are providing will be kept confidential—meaning that only the employee’s line manager (the direct overseer of the employee) and the survey administer will have access to the information. It is extremely important that employees feel they can trust managers with this information. Every caution must be taken to ensure confidentiality and assure employees of said confidentiality. If employees do not trust their personal information with their managers then engagement becomes a lost cause.

In terms of organization, a good method would be to create driver profiles for each employee. This would allow the manager to quickly see the relevant information about their employee and to make notes on ways they can address the promotion of the employee’s driver, all in one place.

Keep Employees Informed

As trust is essential to getting employees to provide identifying information it is critical that they are kept informed about why the information is being collected and what the intention for it is. Let employees know exactly what’s going on and they are more likely to willingly participate. Furthermore, open communication fosters trust, which as I mentioned before is essential to building engagement.

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