Thursday, September 12, 2013

What DOES and DOES NOT Motivate Employees???

What attracts talented people to your and what pushes them to leave the company? 


Everyone does things for a variety of reasons, but when it all comes down to it. People are motivated and unmotivated by a few factors.  Leaders need to know what the primary motivators are for employees and potiential employees to want to come to their organization. Is it compensation (money), is it health benefits, is it the atmosphere?  From that point, leaders should be investigating what makes their people stay with the organization or company. Taking that a step further what makes their employees want to give discretionary effort? (Discretionary effort is an employee’s willingness to go above and beyond.)
So what is currently motivating employees in the United States?

*Top 5: Attractors

1. Compensation
2. Health Benefits
3. Stability
4. Work-Life Balance
5. Location
§  Compensation: A fair market wage or slightly above, depending on qualifications, will help attract talent. Usually to attract the best talent an organization wants to be in at least the upper 50%, or first quartile.
§  Health Benefits: In a day an age where healthcare is up in the air. It is becoming more and more important for employees to know that when, and if needed, they and their families will have access to health care provided at a affordable rate. Most people currently are not fond of the idea of having a job that does not have benefits, especially if they are the sole provider for their family.
§  Stability: Potential employees love the idea of knowing long term that their job is secure. One of the best senses of security that employees can have in their personal life and professional life; is knowing that an organization possess long term stability along with their specific job role. Further, this allows employees to better plan their career success and growth with a company.
§  Work-Life Balance (Although I hate this term, I am using it for simplicity sake. Check out the blog post from May 5, 2013 “Work-Life – What?!?!”): This is the area that has seen the largest growth, according to the CEB. The new generation entering into the work force wants to find, and walk, that fine line of having it all. This means having the great career with a multitude of opportunities and the thriving personal life.  This is a group of people who when asked if they would like a $200 bonus or an extra day off, 90% of the time take the extra day off. (Not going to lie, I know I would take the extra day off)
§  Location: I am not going to lie to you; this bullet point actually shocked me when I saw it. I thought in this globalized world filled with technology that were we live and the location of one’s job is not necessarily as large a attraction factor as it is. However, after someone thought and dialogue with peers, it seems as though this bullet is more about the actual physical location of an organization on a candidate’s list of ideal places to live and work. For example as a possible job candidate there are two different organizations. Of these two organizations one is located in San Francisco, California and the other is located in Danville, Illinois… There is a strong chance that the candidate may investigate more keenly the position in San Francisco.
But let’s be completely honest, no organization wants just any talent. I do not go to career fairs looking for “mediocre” talent. Companies want the best talent and the best teams. Understanding the Top 5 Attractors and communicating those effectively to your employees can help an organization attract the best talent.



Now you have to begin to wonder what is about an organization that makes people want to leave a job, risking unemployment or venturing out into new territories. (Although sometimes that attrition can be a good thing, because not everyone is a cultural good fit or meant to be in that position.) The point in determining attrition factors is the attempt to minimize the loss of truly good talent.  It really stings when you lose an employee that you have intentionally developed and have great hopes for in the future. That employee takes their knowledge and experiences to another organization.  

*Top 5: Attrition

1. Future Career Opportunity
2. Compensation
3. People Management
4. Work-Life Balance
5. Respect
§  Future Career Opportunity: As a leader you need to be sure that you are making time to have this conversation with all of your employees. On the other side of the coin, as an employee you need to be sure that you too, are actively and consciously have a plan for career development. This dialogue must be honest and realistic.
§  Compensation: Many people leave their jobs, their roles, and their organization because they either feel that they should be compensated better or have an offer from another organization that compensates better. This new idea of talent poaching will cause great talent to leave a good organization, unless the prior and following attrition factors are adhered too.
§  People Management: Employees do not quit companies, they quit supervisors! So when you have bad management, bad “leaders” (I quote “leaders” because I believe there is no such thing as a bad “leader.” If this is the case than they were not a leader to begin), and bad supervisors you are going to inevitability have terrible turnover. People are leaving because of that “respect” issue. They have supervisors, bosses, ect. that may be great at managing but terrible at leading. Please keep in mind that there is a difference and hire for those positions by qualification and good fit.
§  Work-Life Balance: This is a hard area to define, because this is a very subjective area to try to fit.  However, in many cases when an employee leaves an organization it is because they feel that there is no balance. Employees perceive that they may be penalized for attempting to have both a great professional life and a great personal life. Now, this can be something that is either employee or employer driven, because to be completely honest, people do take advantage of rules that will allow them to spend more time at home.  However, if someone is failing in their personal life, they are not bringing their whole self to work, and will not see success as a leader, superior, and/or employee. Keep it in mind… 
§  Respect: This is the primary reason that employees who are not organized under a union, petition to organize under a union. Or employees feel the need to involve a third party in your business. Leadership needs to be leaders, not just managers. Please invest time and money into your leadership and this will help with attrition and overall engagement throughout the organization.

The Bottom Line (Figurative or Literally)

As an organization we should really be focusing on the blend of both attraction and attrition we want to make sure we are attracting the right talent and retaining the best talent. This is where communication is highly effective, because these Top 5 list are truly based on perceptions. For example, I may think my compensation is great and market based for my job and performance. However, my peer may have a lack of understanding regarding market based wages and need more clarity to understanding that their compensation is actually pretty good. If this communication is not pursued that employee will have the perception that their compensation is terrible.  This same notion can be said for all of the Top 5 Reasons for Attraction and Attrition. 
Ensuring that we are maintaining fair and market based compensation.  Leaders having the open and honest intentional career planning discussion with their employees; while employees actively engaging in that discussion and draft a plan for their leaders for future career opportunities. Passionately create a corporate culture that is ethical and upholds the values of respect throughout the entire organization. In this day in age with the economic recession just past and the employment downturn still affecting many people, ensuring that we research and understand the cycles of business and uphold a level of stability that will make certain the livelihood of the organization. Finally for the mental well-being and productivity of all our employees create a culture that accepts employees that have vibrant careers and thriving personal lives, or a good work-life balance.

Be a part of a team. Lead with integrity. Remain committed to your core values.


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