Written by Chris Budd…..

In order for a person to commit to the company they work for, they need to be engaged. That means not only asking their opinion, but giving them a sense of control, fully involving them in decision-making; giving them permission to innovate.

What motivates employees?

survey asked over 200,000 employees in more than 500 companies the following question:

“What motivates you to excel and go the extra mile at your organisation?”

This was the response:

  • Camaraderie, peer motivation (20%)
  • Intrinsic desire to do a good job (17%)
  • Feeling encouraged and recognised (13%)
  • Having a real impact (10%)
  • Growing professionally (8%)
  • Meeting client/customer needs (8%)
  • Money and benefits (7%)
  • Positive supervisor/senior management (4%)
  • Believe in the company/product (4%)
  • Other (9%)

It’s interesting to note that money and benefits were seventh on the list. However, motivators relating to The Flag (purpose) are covered by several categories and account for some 39% of the responses (doing a good job, having an impact, meeting needs, believe in the company).

Being part of a functioning team and being appreciated similarly accounts for around a third of responses.

A motivated team who get on with each other, which is appreciated, and which is able to make a genuine contribution is going to be a powerful workforce indeed.

What Motivates Business Owners?

I conducted a simple bit of research on social media, by asking for reasons why people set up their own business. I received more than seventy replies. With a bit of summarising and joining together of similar responses, this was the list:

  • Putting together an inspirational team of people
  • Pride of creating something amazing
  • A sense of purpose
  • Respect
  • To make a difference
  • For the challenge
  • To follow a vision or an idea of how to provide a better product/service
  • To provide financial security in your retirement
  • To provide financial security for your children
  • To have flexibility of time and a sustainable way of life
  • To have options in life
  • To allow creativity

Now compare this list with the motivating factors for employees. Not that different, are they? Certain themes emerge: doing a good job; peer review and respect; a sense of purpose and impact. And again, money is rarely the motivating factor.

Motivate Employees By Making Them Business Owners

A sense of purpose, creativity, flexibility, pride, challenge – these benefits would appear to motivate employees and owners alike. If this is the case, why not provide these motivations by encouraging employees to think like business owners?

There is an added advantage. A business that could provide the same working environment for its employees as for the owners would be a business that would not rely upon the brilliance or hard work of one or two people.

And a business that does not rely on a few people has a far greater chance of thriving without the owner, and therefore of continuing to make the profit which will be used to pay-out the owner.


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