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What People Want From Work: Motivation

Every person has different motivations for working. But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work. The something we obtain from work impacts our morale and motivation and the quality of our lives.

Work IS about the Money

Some people work for love; others work for personal fulfillment. Others like to accomplish goals and feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves, something important. Some people have personal missions they accomplish through meaningful work. Motivation is individual and diverse.

Whatever your personal reasons for working, the bottom line, however, is that almost everyone works for money. Whatever you call it: compensation, salary, bonuses, benefits or remuneration, money pays the bills. Money provides housing, gives children clothing, food and sends them to college, and allows leisure activities, and eventually, retirement. To underplay the importance of money and benefits as motivation for people who work is a mistake.

Fair benefits and pay are the cornerstones of a successful company that recruits and retains committed workers. If you provide a living wage for your employees, you can then work on additional motivation issues. Without the fair, living wage, however, you risk losing your best people to a better-paying employer.

What’s Next for Motivation?

Surveys and studies dating back to the early 1980s that demonstrate people want more from work than money. While managers predicted the most important motivational aspect of work for people would be money, personal time and attention from the supervisor was cited by workers as most rewarding and motivational for them at work.

While what people want from work is situational, depending on the person, his needs and the rewards that are meaningful to him, giving people what they want from work is really quite straight forward.

People want:

  1. Control of their work inspires motivation Including such components as the ability to impact decisions; setting clear and measurable goals; clear responsibility for a complete, or at least defined, task; job enrichment; tasks performed in the work itself; and recognition for achievement.

  2. To belong to the in-crowd creates motivation Including items such as receiving timely information and communication; understanding management’s formulas for decision making; team and meeting participation opportunities; and visual documentation and posting of work progress and accomplishments.

  3. The opportunity for growth and development is motivational Includes education and training; career paths; team participation; succession planning; cross-training; and field trips to successful workplaces.

  4. Leadership is the key in motivation People want clear expectations that provide a picture of the outcomes desired with goal setting and feedback and an appropriate structure or framework.

Recognition for Performance Creates Motivation

People want recognition for their individual performance with pay tied to their performance.

Employers want people who don’t perform fired; in fact, failure to discipline and fire non-performers is one of the most demotivating actions an organization can take – or fail to take. It ranks on the top of the list next to paying poor performers the same wage as non-performers in deflating motivation.

Additionally, a disconnect continues to exist between what employers think people want at work and what people say they want for motivation.  Employers far underrate the importance to employees of such things as flexible work schedules or opportunities for advancement in their decision to join or leave a company.

What You Can Do for Motivation and Positive Morale

Key to creating a work environment that fosters motivation is the wants and needs of the individual.  Recommend that you ask your employees what they want from work and whether they are getting it.

With the above information in mind, you’ll be surprised at how many simple and inexpensive opportunities you have to create a motivational, desirable work environment. You’ll achieve awesome business success.

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