Discover What Motivates Employees More Than Money

Yusuf Tokdemir / [email protected]

Many leaders do not understand the ongoing, intimate connection between leadership and employee motivation!

I know that unmotivated employees are likely to spend little or no effort in their jobs, avoid the workplace as much as possible, exit the organization if given the opportunity and produce low quality work, contribute to safety problems, make lower productivity and cause to decreasing customer value.

Lesson 1

  • What’s been forgotten is that motivation is not a destination or a solution. It’s not a problem to be solved and settled.
  • Motivation is a journey. It needs continuous, not intermittent, excellent and effective leadership.

According to my experience, leadership quality is one of the most important factors to achieve higher employee motivation in business.

“The essence of competitiveness is liberated when we make people believe that what they think and do is important – and then get out of their way while they do it”. Jack Welch

Employees are the company’s best assets. If they are not as motivated, it will have a tremendous effect on productivity, quality, customer value and safety. Please note that the organization’s overall efficiency will decline by unmotivated employees in the long-term.

We have to keep in mind that employees are working for their needs:

  • Physiological needs such as shelter, food, clothing, sex, and water.
  • Social needs such as acceptance, appreciation, belonging and companionship.
  • Self-actualization needs such as the need to fulfill one’s talents and potentialities.
  • Self-esteem needs such as success, status, valuing
  • Well-being and safety needs such as healthy living, protection and security.

There are many studies about motivation. For example;

  • For successful motivation; motivation techniques were perceived by managers as money (65%), recognition (29%) and training only 6%.
  • For employees; motivation techniques were perceived as discipline 53%, recognition 24%, Money 19%, promotion 10% and criticism 5%.

Lesson 2

  • Select the right leaders/managers.
  • Coach leaders/managers and hold them accountable for their employees’ motivation.
  • Define motivation in realistic, everyday terms and bring to life.

Lesson 3

If leaders/managers achieve successful motivation the key performance outcomes will be:

  • Higher safety
  • Higher quality
  • Lower patient safety incident
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Higher productivity
  • Higher profitability
  • Lower turnover
  • Higher customer value
  • Lower shrinkage

Lesson 4

If we positively change one or two things in employee job we can create a productivity potential more than 50% of junior employees. It can be 21% on average in all age groups of employees.

I believe that productivity metrics should be placed on the higher in the Board and C-Suit agendas.

Today managers should have a clear view of what productivity potential exists in their areas of responsibility and how they will achieve it through an effective motivation.

According to my experience in the pharmaceutical industry (17 years) and food industry (13 years), the productivity performance of employee declines due to poor management techniques, lack of motivation, reward and recognition in the workplace.

According to the employees there are 5 basic reasons for productivity decline.

Lesson 5

  • Poor management
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of incentives and rewards
  • Poor staff treatment
  • Poor communication and collaboration.

Lesson 6

Employees believe that management’s productivity focus areas should be organizational model 35%), people management (32%), technology and capital (18%) and innovation (14%).

It is clear compensation and benefits are important but there are other crucial factors that also boost employee morale. I know that good employee morale boosts operational excellence and organizational health in:

Lesson 7

  1. Improving work performance, productivity, quality, agility and innovation.
  2. Reducing costs that are associated with workers’ compensation, absenteeism and presenteeism that are poor performance factors.
  3. Improving the organization’s image, attracting talented employees and fulfilling company’s social responsibility obligations.
  4. Improving the organizational knowledge, culture, and retain existing employees and providing operational excellence and organizational agility.

Here are 14 things I learned from my professional life to increasing employee morale:

Lesson 9

  1. Recruit proper staff whose values aligns with those of the business and having a trait of positive affectivity.
  2. Apply onboarding program when they start and give great training and a well thought out program of reinforcement to upgrade skills throughout the year. .
  3. Give enough autonomy and task identity.
  4. Develop and implement right and clear service standards that provide a guideline to employees for situations guaranteed to come up.
  5. Install proper technology that brings health and safety, supports and improves their productivity in a practical way.
  6. Be clear, honest, authentic, and be generous with praise.
  7. Effectively delegate authority and create responsibility. Ensure that responsibility and authority are aligned.
  8. Develop and implement a 10 year long-term competitive business strategy with a 3 year achievable goal and share it with employees. Effectively communicate and show them the core purpose and values. Make your business strategy theirs.
  9. Identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly and efficiently and seek the ‘win-win’.
  10. Never criticize or correct in front of others. Ask right questions to get people to learn and improve from their mistakes.
  11. Apply a good recognition and reward system. They should be satisfied with their feeling of accomplishments.
  12. Celebrate the success and share the disappointment. Be honest and transparent.
  13. Create systems and norms that lead to a culture of candor within the organization.
  14. Provide challenging assignments and offer opportunities for advancement..

Employees who believe their work is valued are more likely to remain loyal and often are more productive due to high morale, motivation, recognition and trust.

If you want to boost your company’s bottom line you have to invest in employee morale. You will have happy workers and your employee productivity will increase at least 22-50%. So that you will create a passionate and hard-working team to achieve a high performance and aligned organization.

All of these are important for organizations because psychological ownership bears fruit in terms of safety, greater productivity, lower waste, greater customer satisfaction, higher quality of products and services, lower turnover, and greater commitment from employees.

“Managerial competence and credibility can never be achieved without inspiration, care and recognition”. Yusuf Tokdemir

To be a successful leader/manager, are you a people motivator and how do you get to know your people well?


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