The topic of our first Bee School discussion was “Motivation at Work” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed the true definition of motivation, the three groups of theories associated with it, details and examples, and how to apply these theories globally.
Some of you had some questions for Dr. Herkenhoff and you know we would never leave you hanging! Many of you had similar questions which was encouraging to see lots of managers face the same challenges, but are eager to find innovative ways to motivate their teams.
Hopefully these answers will help guide you on your quest for engagement and alignment.
Q&A with the Professor
1. As I’m from the Information Technology domain, it would be interesting to know how different domains are using motivation frameworks to keep their knowledge workers engaged and excited.
People are people—these frameworks can be used for knowledge and non-desk workers alike. The core principles of engagement and motivation are great communication on all levels.
Following Theory Y, we can assume that knowledge workers fall into a different level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Where a non-desk worker might have their Safety and Security needs met before reaching a level of engagement, a knowledge worker will need help reaching self-actualization.
A good question to ask your team is what their vision for themselves is in the next five years. Whether or not that vision has a path within your company, help give them the tools they need to grow within their existing position and beyond.
Any good manager will tell you that it is a proud moment when the people working for them grow out of their positions and progress within their careers. You can create a tremendous amount of goodwill within your team if you are helping them achieve their life goals or self-actualization.
For the organization, it is always best to have your employees operating at the highest level of Maslow’s pyramid.
If we consider your question from the Hygiene Theory perspective, the principles are universal. You need to make sure your hygiene factors are always in check. This is always a good baseline to work from. As a refresher, here they are:
- Company policy & administration
- Interpersonal relations
- Working conditions
Once you have a good foundation in place, you can focus on the motivation factors. We usually see that after the first year of employment, growth and advancement become more important to pay attention to. (In the first year, there is much to be done while mastering a position.)
While advancement and growth aren’t options, make sure you are recognizing individual contributions and team wins. Communicating these to the team, in addition to your 1:1 praise, will go a long way to show appreciation.
It will also shape your team’s expectation of rewarded behavior and make them strive for their own recognition.
As a refresher, here are the motivation factors:
1. Achievement recognition
2. Work itself
2. I’m going to take over a team that currently finds itself in a reorganization process. It would be great to learn some skills, how to approach them as their new boss, and how to keep their motivation high.
Uncertainty breeds fear. If we take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, engagement can only happen after the first few levels are satisfied.
To get your team to a place of engagement and motivation, I would recommend approaching your team with open communication and transparency.
Schedule a series of 1:1 meetings with each of your new reports to get to know them. Listen to their concerns and get to know the lay of the land.
Then show them you’ve listened through your actions. Lay out your vision in a clear and transparent way that is shared with everyone in 1:1 meetings and again in a team session.
In our next session, “National Culture,” you’ll gain the knowledge and tools for working with varied cultures around the world.
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