Most companies have it all wrong. They don't have to
motivate their employees. They have to stop demotivating them.
The great majority of employees are quite enthusiastic when
they start a new job.
The fault lies squarely at the feet of management—both the
policies and procedures companies employ in managing their workforces and in
the relationships that individual managers establish with their direct reports.
Three key goals of people at work:
To maintain the enthusiasm employees bring to their jobs initially, management
must understand the three sets of goals that the great majority of workers seek
from their work—and then satisfy those goals:
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
Camaraderie: To have good, productive relationships with
To maintain an enthusiastic workforce, management must meet
all three goals. Indeed, employees who work for companies where just one of
these factors is missing are three times less enthusiastic than workers at
companies where all elements are present.
One goal cannot be substituted for another. Improved
recognition cannot replace better pay, money cannot substitute for taking pride
in a job well done, and pride alone will not pay the mortgage.
New software like http://www.createsmartgoals.com
are making things easier.
What individual managers can do:
Satisfying the three goals depends both on organizational policies and on the
everyday practices of individual managers. If the company has a solid approach
to talent management, a bad manager can undermine it in his unit. On the flip
side, smart and empathetic managers can overcome a great deal of corporate
mismanagement while creating enthusiasm and commitment within their units.
While individual managers can't control all leadership decisions, they can
still have a profound influence on employee motivation.
The most important thing is to provide employees with a
sense of security, one in which they do not fear that their jobs will be in
jeopardy if their performance is not perfect and one in which layoffs are
considered an extreme last resort, not just another option for dealing with
But security is just the beginning. When handled properly,
each of the following eight practices will play a key role in supporting your
employees' goals for achievement, equity, and camaraderie, and will enable them
to retain the enthusiasm they brought to their roles in the first place.