According to a survey conducted by business research association The Conference Board in 2012, more than half of US workers were estimated to be unhappy in their jobs; this was reported as an all – time low. In 2013, research by Gallup also showed 87% of the world’s workers are either not engaged in their jobs or have become actively disengaged; this is said to be a global crisis.
Whether you have a small business with two people working for you, a medium size or a large business, retaining great talent is always a challenge, especially when it comes to retaining the Millennials. In order to retain great talent, you have to understand what drives them, because behind every system or process there is a person and work provides a sense of fulfilment and meaning important to human beings.
As business owners we tend to think that our employees are motivated by extrinsic rewards only, such as salaries, bonuses, promotion and other forms of recognition. While this may be true; this perspective has been challenged in recent years. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink shows that most productive employees are almost exclusively intrinsically motivated. Pink suggests that workers flourish when they are given as much freedom as possible to carry out their tasks, encouraged to build their competencies leading to feelings of personal accomplishment and clarity about how they are contributing to something bigger than themselves.
So, unlike our strengths that remain constant throughout our lives, factors that motivate us change over time. Think about it, what motivated you when you first graduated may be different to what motivates you once you have a family and children. Most of us are driven to make money and achieve high level positions when we first start out in our careers, but as we achieve these goals and move to the next phases of our lives, priorities and motivations change.
Therefore, it is not uncommon to find women starting businesses as their roles change to allow them the freedom to spend more time with their children or solve social problems. So, motivators change according to where you are in life.
I recently took The Motivators Assessment, which is a ground breaking assessment to discover what drives you and your team. Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton interviewed 850 000 people worldwide and came up with 23 motivators which fall under 5 clusters:
1.) The Achiever– those who thrive on tight deadlines, often Type A personalities
2.) The Builders – these are purpose driven, like developing others, thrive in team environments
3.) The Caregiver – balance between work and family is important to them, motivated by fun and relationships at work
4.) The Reward Driven – they are driven by rewards, money, prizes and admiration of others
5.) The Thinkers – these are creative types, they love to learn, enjoy varied routine, frustrated by bureaucracy and want to impact the world
People are your greatest asset in your business irrespective of its size. So understanding your team’s motivators will help you craft their roles to focus more on tasks that bring out their passion, keep them engaged and fully productive.
Remember, just because someone is good at something – numbers for example – it does not mean they are passionate or enjoy working with numbers day in, day out.