3 Questions That Will Motivate Your Employees
By Laura Garnett, published on Inc., 02/27/2014
Forget money or touchy-feely stuff. These three clear questions will change the way staff approaches work.
We all want to be motivated -- and, as entrepreneurs, we love the idea of being able to motivate others. That’s great in theory, but it’s not always clear how to accomplish this within the day-to-day grind of a fast-moving business. What’s a busy entrepreneur to do?
It’s a widespread problem: According to Gallup’s most recent engagement research, 71 percent of Americans are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work. Those workers are less likely to be productive.
The traditional methods -- higher pay, for example -- produce mixed results. As Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic writes in Harvard Business Review, “If we want an engaged workforce, money is clearly not the answer. In fact, if we want employees to be happy with their pay, money is not the answer. In a nutshell: money does not buy engagement.”
So if the evidence is convincing, that higher pay doesn’t motivate, what does? The science tells us that intrinsic motivation, when there is interest or enjoyment of a task, is what really drives satisfaction at work. Dan Pink, author of the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says there are three key drivers of motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
The problem is that most people don’t know how to create intrinsic motivation for themselves, much less be able to ask for it from their bosses. On the flip side, as bosses, trying to motivate can seem like an endless rabbit hole that’s far easier to ignore than to dive into. Instilling mastery and purpose seems too touchy-feely, and granting employees autonomy seems scary.
Motivation is a goal that ultimately falls into the hands of an individual -- there’s only so much you can do as a boss, after all -- but it’s important to create an environment where full motivation is possible. It’s your job to be the catalyst.
With that in mind, I have created a few easy questions that can make the task of motivating employees more standardized and manageable. Try asking your team these questions once a month -- and create a regular dialogue that keeps the topic of motivation front and center.