BY CHRISTINA DAVIS
Managers are always looking for new ways to motivate and retain employees. National employee turnover rates have been increasing year after year since 2010, so retention strategies and the costs associated with them are hot topics among HR professionals looking to keep turnover rates low and retention rates high.
Why do people work? That’s an easy question to answer, right? Not necessarily. While your employees work for a paycheck, that doesn’t mean money is their sole motivator. TINYpulse produced a survey titled “The 7 Key Trends Impacting Today’s Workplace” that included over 200,000 employees in more than 500 organizations. The survey tracked answers to the question “What motivates you to excel and go the extra mile at your organization?”:
• Camaraderie/peer motivation = 20%
• Intrinsic desire to do a good job = 17%
• Feeling encouraged and recognized = 13%
• Having a real impact = 10%
• Growing professionally = 8%
• Meeting client/customer needs = 8%
• Money = 7%
• Positive supervisor/senior management = 4%
• Belief in the company/product = 4%
• Other = 9%
Notice that money is seventh in line ... not first, second, or even third! This should be encouraging to companies across the world, as it means there are many motivators well within our reach, and therefore, our budgets. The first six items on this list are all intrinsic social needs that have nothing to do with pay. Think about it: How great do you feel when an affiliate recognizes your company on a social platform that reaches thousands of your peers? How about the feeling when you win that RFP you have been feverishly working to complete so that you win a huge contract? Or what about the satisfaction you experience when you receive a complimentary email from a long-time client? According to this study, these exact feelings motivate your employees, too!
Personal attention from supervisors and peer motivation make up 33 percent of the responses. Employees want to be valued for a job well done, both by those in leadership positions and their peers. Providing timely communications, posting work progress and accomplishments, setting clear goals with timely feedback, and publicly rewarding those who go above and beyond their job descriptions are all no-cost ways to encourage employees and create a motivated team.
Social reinforcement (smiles, acceptance, praise, acclaim, and attention from other people) transcends social settings into the workplace. Studies have shown time and time again that those people who regularly receive social reinforcement perform at higher rates, exert more effort into their daily lives and goals, and are generally happier and healthier overall. And what do praise, acclaim, and acceptance all cost? Not one cent.
As you think through ways beyond bonuses and raises to recognize employees, here are a few low-cost and no-cost options that could be easily implemented into your daily routines:
• Order in lunch for the team—even if you have to do it in shifts
• Give a longer lunch/break to an employee for going above and beyond
• Take an employee to a one-on-one lunch
• Give a gift card for recognition (Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc.)
• Have their cars washed
• Swap a task with an employee for a day/week
• A sincere word of thanks—it’s more effective than you know
• Post a thank-you note on their desk, tablet, car window, etc.
• Write about them in a companywide email
• Honor them at the next staff meeting
• Post a thank-you sign in the lounge or common area with their name on it
• Send a thank-you note to their spouse
• Feature them in your company newsletter
The same tool will not work for every employee. Different things motivate each individual, so it is crucial to learn what each employee cares about, and why they chose the position they are working in each and every day. Lunch with the boss will be exciting for one employee but could make another anxious, for example. Employee surveys can be a great tool to gather that information. Even simpler is sitting down with each employee and asking the questions, “Why do you come to work each day? What drives you to do the work you do?” In my experience, the responses you receive will assist you tremendously in understanding your team and in creating a motivating environment that will keep employees loyal to you and your company. [CD0716]
Our friends at The LMC Group, the livery management consultants, will be exploring different monthly topics that are relevant to you, and we’d like to know what questions you’d like to see answered. Please email your questions for the HR Coach to email@example.com, who will also provide additional guidance and information regarding this ongoing series.
Christina Davis is the HR Director for The LMC Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.