Saturday, February 12, 2011

Motivation Reward Compensation

We talk a lot about what are the best ways to keep our employees motivated, and which would be the most appropriate way of rearding the good and top performers, in a manner that continues to be attractive to them year over year.

In order to better understand the motivators behind each of my team members, I've started with an open discussion about what motivates them. One or two told me that indeed salary is a motivator, and as we digged further more we have uncovered that money was actually only the means to attain some of their objectives.

Returning to my initial question, we have uncovered quite a few interesting motivation drivers for each of them, quite unique from one individual to the other, and not so much related to money as you might think.

Here is what made it to the list from some of them:
- travel opportunities (for job purposes)
- access to knowledge (technical trainings or materials, time to do self-study)
- formal recognition of their performance (email to officials, some internal prizes, just a pat on the back)
- team members (the atmosphere at work, collaboration) and the ability to choose them
- pleasant environment (although ranked quite low overall by all employees)
- career development opportunities and options
- fairness in conversations
- constant feedback
- work-life balance
and the list continues.

I was quite amazed to see what was actually important to each of them - as this has also helped me in re-directing my efforts into creative ways of recognizing their achievements in a way that was actually meaningful to them.

There is also a downside to this approach, if you as manager fail to take into account their motivator factors, and do the same things after having discussed with the employee about it. One approach that I've used was to let them know immediately if something was not really possible, now or never, so that we were aligned.

Another thing to take into account: the motivators may change over time, and you should re-check their relevancy after some while. Many factors can be "blamed" for this, to count only progress of the individual (maturity, personal life changes), changing needs, other opportunities etc.

What's your approach to motivation and reward? What worked, what didn't?

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