Today’s business leaders agree a strong company culture is critical to the success of any business and its employees, according to the Harvard Business Review. However, it was also revealed that many CEOs and managers aren’t quite sure how to tap into company culture efforts.
Are you in the same boat? Read on for a roundup of best practices.
Why People Work
Before diving into how to motivate people, let’s take a look at why people work.
In addition to making a living and paying bills, experts say there are six main reasons people work. They determined the top six reasons people work are for play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure and inertia. Researchers found that the former three variables increase employees’ performance, while the latter three decrease it.
Let us explain why.
- Play refers to enjoyment of the work you do…rather than the perks that may come with it.
- Purpose means feeling part of the outcome of your work. Though important, it’s not as crucial to workers as enjoying their work.
- Potential indicates people being motivated by the opportunity to grow personally and doing amazing work over time.
- Emotional pressure, which is shown to harm performance, is driven by others’ expectations.
- Economic pressure, or working for self-preservation, can also hinder performance.
- Inertia, or a force of habit, driving peoples’ work is also shown to be problematic.
Knowing all of this, what’s an employer to do?
Start Where the Mission Ends
Savvy companies and executives are realizing the power of motivating staff with factors that go far beyond the goals of the company or even money. Many purpose-driven brands have captured company culture through a sense of meaning that transcends profits and provides employees with more satisfaction in their jobs.
Additional research findings indicate that factors like a sense of camaraderie, the desire to do a good job, feeling encouraged and recognized, and having a real impact all encourage employees to put in their best effort at work. As such, it’s key for CEOs and managers to find ways to capitalize on these findings.
Focusing on team building activities that build camaraderie, as well as recognition programs for a job well done, can have a positive impact on any company. Activities that happen during work hours, like hosting a ping-pong tournament or attending a ropes course, are great ways to involve everyone and build morale.
Furthermore, saying “thank you” is, perhaps, the easiest way to motivate employees. Recent research indicates (surprise!) companies that regularly give thanks to their staff far out perform those companies that do not. Seems like a no-brainer. And it’s no wonder why. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the two most important psychological needs of humans are the need to be appreciated and the need to belong.
Here are several best practices that have proven to be beneficial to employee motivation:
- Recognizing people based on specific results and behaviors
- Implementing peer-to-peer recognition — not top down
- Sharing recognition stories via blog or newsletter
- Making recognition easy and frequent
- Linking recognition to your own company values or goals
Getting it Right
Companies like Intuit and Deloitte have implemented employee recognition programs that tie into their own company goals. Other companies providing purpose over paycheck are Southwest Airlines and Nexen Tires. The two companies have recognized the value of encouraging employees to aim higher in their work, as well as highlighting why employees should be proud to work for their respective companies.
Southwest Airlines, for example, helps staff feel invested by creating stories that offer concrete examples of how employees touch the lives of customers. Similarly, Nexgen Tires hits the mark by fostering a company culture that staff can take pride in, like a well-made product that keeps customers safe, as well as being an award-winning company with innovative plans for the future.