Motivating Your Employees Is An Inside Job

Shawn Casemore • No Comment
Posted: June 21, 2019

Are you motivating your employees? Although it’s easy to believe that an employee’s motivation to stay with their employer is directly related to how well they like the company, like their job, and like their boss, the reality is, motivation is an inside job.

Sure, these three things matter, but not nearly as much as an employee’s own self-motivation. Speaking from my own experience, for example, I worked at a nuclear power plant for several years. The company had (and still has) a great reputation in the local community; the pay, benefits, and pension were all fantastic, and the boss I had during my time there was very down-to-earth and understanding. Essentially the perfect job, or so you might think. Problem was, however, I was miserable.

Why? You couldn’t motivate me to like a job that didn’t align with where I saw my life heading.

You see, I had a growing family at the time, and income and job stability were important.  What was more important, though, was my desire to become an entrepreneur. So the perfect job wasn’t so perfect.

Now, I’m not suggesting everyone is like me.  What I am suggesting is that an employee must see their “job” as supporting their desired life. (Notice I didn’t say lifestyle?)  They need to:

  • feel like they’re contributing to something that is worthwhile to them.
  • believe that their job will offer the variety and interest level that align with their personal needs.
  • feel connected with the people (or culture) that surround them.

Essentially, there has to be a “fit”, and this extends beyond whether you like your company, job, or boss.

The question, then, is how to determine the self-motivation of your current employees and those you may hire in the future. In my experience assisting clients with building a team that manages itself, I’ve found that the best way to achieve this is to ask on a one-to-one basis 3 key questions (and don’t stop asking these questions until you are confident you’ve gotten the real answers).

Key Questions to Confirm Self-Motivation

  1. What are the things that matter most to you in life?
  2. Where do you see yourself in 3 years, in 5 years, and in 10 years?
  3. How do you see myself (your leader) and the company supporting you in your goals?

It’s through questions, and more importantly, listening and discussion, that we can uncover what’s motivating your employees to be part of your organization.  We can identify what motivates them to stay (or what might motivate them to stay if they are thinking of leaving), and how we might assist them in growing with the company.

This is essentially the foundation of building a company culture… simplified, of course.

Try asking your employees these 3 questions, or place them as screening questions in your interviews, and listen to the types of responses you get. Most importantly, though, remember that it’s getting to the REAL answers that will help you truly understand what motivates your people.


© Shawn Casemore 2019. All rights reserved.

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