Motivating Your Team
Great businesses understand that employee motivation is not only helpful but required in order to keep their wheels turning. It provides an opportunity for employees to use their creativity to benefit the company which will forge a strong attachment between them and your organization. This also leads to the employee becoming much more focused, dedicated, and committed. Motivation drives your employees to embrace the intrapreneurial mindset, which in turn provides employees with a sense of pride and self-worth … all leading to innovation, improved performance and loyalty to the company. Lack of it stunts growth and decreases overall employee satisfaction.
To start building your innovative workspace, you must start analyzing the innovative capabilities that your employees exhibit throughout the workday and provide them with a support system that encourages them to think and act accordingly. By providing a support system that encourages innovation, your other employees will see “thinking outside the box” as a safe harbor that will allow their minds to wander in a positive way.
One of the first things you need to ask yourself as a business owner is what actually motivates each individual intrapreneur? Is it growing their salary, seeing a bonus, or being given a reward of some kind? In my experience, while these are definitely nice to have, true motivation comes from within an intrapreneur’s heart and soul—it’s an intrinsic drive. The reward comes from a sense of learning, showing mastery and demonstrating understanding. These personal “rewards” typically outweigh a monetary gain. This heartfelt type of motivation is stronger than any other, and when your intrapreneurs have it, it drives them to go above and beyond their written job description.
Science has determined time and time again how extrinsic motivators such as money, bonuses, gold stars, cookies, and such, can actually destroy one’s intrinsic motivation. The negative effects of extrinsic rewards can lead to decreased engagement, cheating, and performing unethical behaviors in pursuit of these physical “prizes.” It’s almost like a rat “learning” how to navigate through a maze. The only point of achievement for the rat is to receive the treat at the end. No purposeful, considered learning occurs. In regards to employees, only offering extrinsic rewards can result in decreased employee collaboration as workers lose sight of the mission and vision of the company, and chase the “treat” instead.
Typically, merit is followed by a raise or a bonus for the employee. While most employees aren’t going to turn money down, a large portion of a rewarding system is forgotten—usually the recognition and appreciation for their genius. You could even look at it as rewarding two things: Performance and behavior.
- Performance is easy to recognize because something tangible usually arises as a direct outcome from the work they put into it—more sales, higher revenue, less overhead, or other measurable factors.
- Behavior is typically more difficult to reward than performance but some examples could be coming in extra early, working through lunch, and being the last one to leave.
If you do decide to reward extrinsically, don’t promise these rewards in advance. Rewards like raises or bonuses should take place on a per-achievement schedule. After all, we already have enough employees that focus on the promised bonus and do the minimum amount to get it.
The bottom line, if you want a more innovative company, make sure you reward risk-taking (even if it sometimes results in failures) as opposed to only successes. Give your employees the freedom to get emotionally invested in their work which will continue to build their intrinsic motivation.