3 Motivators at Work


Most companies have it all wrong. They don’t know how to motivate their employees. What about yours? Are your people at work motivated, I mean really, from the inside out? Are you?

The most employees are quite enthusiastic when they start a new job. But in about 85 percent of companies, research finds employees’ morale sharply declines after their first six months—and continues to deteriorate for years afterward. That finding is based on surveys of about 1.2 million employees at 52 Fortune 1000 companies from 2001 through 2004, conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence and reported in Harvard Business Review, April 2006.

Studies point to two sources of demotivation:

  1. The policies and procedures companies employ in managing their workforces
  2. The relationships that individual managers establish with their direct reports

There are really three basic goals of people at work. To maintain the enthusiasm employees bring to their jobs initially, management must understand these three sets of goals that most workers seek from their work:

  • Equity: To be respected and to be treated fairly in areas such as pay, benefits, and job security
  • Achievement: To be proud of one’s job, accomplishments, and employer
  • Camaraderie: To have good, productive relationships with fellow employees

I just started reading Drive, by Daniel H. Pink, and he discusses three major elements to job motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Maybe these are related in some way to the three goals that the Sirota research reports.

Anyway, it got me thinking. What motivates most people at work? We know it’s not pay or benefits, at least not the kind of intrinsic motivation we’re talking about here.

What do you think rings true in your work place? What key elements do people strive for? What gets them and keeps you engaged?

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