The Puzzle of Employee Motivation

In Jeff Goins’ best-selling book The Art of Work he describes our lives as the “whole body of work you make — including your job, your relationships, and the legacy you leave behind.”

In other words, when we think about ourselves and our employees, we need to look at the whole picture.

Rather than just accounting for professional goals, we should consider personal goals and desired lifestyle as well.

Uncover the passion that super charges motivation

Part of helping to link your employees’ personal and professional goals begins with getting to know them on a deeper level.

  • What is truly important to them both here at work and at home?
  • What are their hobbies or hidden passions? (i.e. do they play an instrument, compete in 5 km runs, or volunteer at the local shelter)
  • Through which tasks or projects do they feel most fulfilled on the job?

Discovering these crucial personality drivers will help paint a more accurate and well-rounded picture of an employee and person.

Team work concept. Business people joining hands.

Actually take action to learn more about your employees

Get to know your team more closely through impromptu conversations, monthly check-ins, casual lunches, or more formal talks like performance reviews.

No matter how you decide to learn about your employees, it will provide valuable information and make them feel valued.

Linking the two together

Once you have a better idea of what’s truly important to an employee — both personally and professionally — you’re ready to design a vision that encompasses their whole person.

And, of course, you’ll want to include the employee in the conversation.

Have a relaxed conversation with your employee, and consider using this outline or agenda:

1. Describe the reason for the meeting. When you tell the employee your goal is to ensure they feel personally and professionally fulfilled, they’ll be at ease and know that you care about their overall satisfaction and wellbeing.

2. Ensure the main goals of the employee are captured (both personal and professional). List them out together.

3. Ask the employee: “Right now, do you have everything you need to achieve what you want?” In other words, do they have the right tools and opportunities at work? Do they have enough time at home?

4. Ask how you can incorporate their personal goals into company life. For example, if someone has a passion for charity, perhaps they can lead the holiday clothing drive or set up a blood donation day. If they play guitar, maybe they can be the musician at an upcoming event.

5. Give the employee a chance to share what’s on their heart and mind. Perhaps an employee wishes they could lead more project groups in order to develop their management capabilities. Or maybe they have a desire to work on their public speaking skills, so you offer them a chance to talk at an upcoming training session. Often times, listening is the best leadership tool.

6. Clarify and summarise. At the end of your conversation, restate and summarise the employee’s desires—along with the actions you’ll be taking to help them reach their goals. This ensures everyone is on the same page.

Valuing your employees

“It isn’t enough to simply assist your employees with work issues—a great leader should keep his eyes open for ways to help out with personal issues as well,” shares John Hall in a recent Forbes article.

He goes on to say that, “Employees who feel valued and appreciated by their leaders are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the company.”

When you focus a conversation on the goals and desires of the employee, they feel valued and special. Understanding and showing that they are more than just a worker demonstrates you care for them as a person.

Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.
Thanks for sharing!