Money isn’t the most powerful motivator

Using intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to maximise employee effectiveness and productivity

Most companies have unique methods for motivating people. When it’s done right this delivers an energised workforce, inspires progress and pushes teams to excel. But motivating employees can be tricky and with the ongoing upheavals we’re experiencing, keeping your workforce motivated is more challenging than ever.

Craig Kiggen, Managing Director of Consolidated Wealth, says that the best way to motivate your team is to find the right balance between intrinsic and extrinsic drivers. Extrinsic motivation comprises external factors such as money, recognition and praise. Intrinsic motivation is when employees find purpose in their roles, work with people they like and develop as individuals.

“Many businesses use extrinsic motivators such as pay hikes and incentives to drive performance but this has a diminishing margin of return. In fact, when people earn enough to sustain their desired lifestyle in a knowledge-based environment, they look to intrinsic drivers to fuel their performance,” Craig explains. “Being aware that the balance is unique to each employee and optimising that balance when rewarding individuals is the best formula to ensure a motivated workforce.”

Craig’s key drivers for creating and keeping your workforce motivated are:

  1. Unite around a higher Purpose

People who find purpose in their work unlock the highest level of motivation. Connecting your employees to a cause bigger than themselves will give their day’s and lives meaning. Motivated by this higher purpose, they can be inspired to meet stretch goals and tackle seemingly impossible challenges as they understand and care about the outcome. So get out of mere measurement by numbers and figures and connect your company and your employee’s work to people and values.

  1. Give them Autonomy

People are not robots so don’t expect them to respond to commands. Empowered employees feel they have a choice and a voice and are thus motivated to perform. To encourage autonomy in the workplace, consider these three factors:

Congeniality: if the people in a business get along, they are likely to stay when things get tough. So organise activities that encourage teamwork and provide opportunities where they can connect as people.

Time: The COVID crisis has shown us that employees are able to work from home and still be productive. If your team is working remotely, establish an output driven environment and give them the flexibility to do the work at times that suits their current lifestyle needs.

Tasks: Help employees determine their own priorities. When people have the choice to prioritise their tasks, their productivity rockets!

  1. Encourage Mastery

Learning must be ongoing for personal and professional growth. Give employees a sense of progress by providing opportunities to develop their capabilities one step at a time. The trick is to allocate tasks that foster improvement, continual mastery and growth. This can be a balancing act and it’s important to avoid keeping square Bob or triangle Mary from pushing themselves into round tasks. But when new skills are applied successfully, it contributes massively to inner drive and motivation!

  1. Tailor your Employee Benefits

Businesses carefully tailor remuneration plans for each employee but when it comes to employee benefits, usually it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. More companies are however starting to offer benefits that are specific to each employee. By providing bespoke benefits tailored for each individual by a financial adviser, employees feel they have the full coverage required. This enhances the company’s employee value proposition and it’s a strong motivator and retention tool.

Craig believes that the old-school model of carrots and sticks is becoming increasingly outdated. Many motivational frameworks just don’t cut it in this age. Instead, companies need to develop motivation that focusses on the “complete” employee by creating an environment that is appealing, where their people are constantly learning so that they deliver against a core purpose. The result in not just a more productive and effective workforce, but a happier one too.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash