If you ask 10 people what motivates them at work, it’s unlikely that all of their answers will be the same.
We’re all wired differently and all respond in different ways to various motivational techniques. More importantly, we all need different things from our jobs to remain motivated – some of us might be thrilled by the chance to assist other teams within the same organisation, others will respond better to solitary work.
Unfortunately, not all Line Managers quite ‘get’ this and can easily adapt their ‘one size fits all’ motivational approach to consider the needs of the individual.
In my experience, managers will tend to use techniques to motivate someone based on what they themselves find motivational – rather than taking the time to find out what really drives their employee.
Listen to what your employees are saying…
We’ve recently discussed the importance of language in the recruitment process, where, by using a candidate’s own (exact) words when asking follow-up questions, you can elicit unconscious responses, build rapport and get a glimpse into their real motivations and attitudes towards work.
These same principles can be applied to your existing employees; language is such a simple way of, firstly, understanding what motivates them and, secondly, using this knowledge to maximise their working performance.
If you’re a manager looking to motivate an employee, the first thing to do is step into their shoes, secondly listen carefully to their language and, thirdly, use it.
Here are some examples of widely-used motivational techniques, that can be taken to the next level with a little help from your ears:
- Positive reinforcement – An example of the ‘one size fits all’ approach discussed above, as it will have mixed results depending on the individual. Using the Language and Behavioural (LAB) Profile, positive reinforcement will appeal to someone with an ‘external’ pattern, who naturally looks for outside feedback. Whereas someone with an ‘internal’ pattern relies on their own standards and methods of evaluating their own performance. This means that it is important to know who needs feedback / reinforcement and takes it on board and who evaluates feedback based on their own standards, otherwise you may make no impact at all on their performance.
- Setting work-related goals – Only 40% of people are motivated to achieve and move ‘towards’ goals. The other 40% of employees are motivated by preventing bad things happening, so are unlikely to be motivated by targets unless there are negative consequences for not achieving them. Then there are 20% who are in the middle of these patterns who will respond to goals and negative consequences. Understanding the language your staff use and decoding it using the LAB Profile will help you to use the right influencing language for each employee to produce the best possible results.
- Restructuring jobs – This has been a necessity for some organisations in the past few years and is a good way of freshening things up and keeping employees motivated. Once you understand what an individual’s motivational triggers are you can adapt their job content to include more of the things they are highly motivated to do. Such a simple yet effective way to retain top talent.
Listen up! Could a little bit of motivation help reinvigorate your workforce? Find out more about the LAB Profile today and how tuning in could keep your staff from turning off.