The Essential Seven Motivators

Does it seem like your team members are constantly asking for more money? It’s a common frustration of business managers that spans both industry and geography. But, often times, if you take the initiative to dig a bit deeper, the employee is really asking to be motivated.

Different needs motivate different people. While some want power, others want respect, while others simply crave affiliation. As a manager, it’s crucial that you understand what motivates each of your team members. Countless studies have proven that the vast majority of employees are motivated by one of the following seven needs:

The need for achievement: Employees that seek the need for achievement want the satisfaction of accomplishing projects successfully. Because they are highly self-motivated if the job is challenging, you must provide them with the right work assignments. And when you do, they will produce at a very high level. Employees seeking achievement simply want to exercise their talents to attain success. And, the more often you provide them with this opportunity, the more effective and satisfied they, and you, will become.

The need for power: These employees derive satisfaction from influencing and controlling others. They need to lead and persuade and are motivated by positions of power and leadership. These employees do best when given the chance to make decisions and direct projects. Once you give these employees the ability to exert a certain level of control, their satisfaction levels will rise.

The need for affiliation: Employees falling into this motivation category gain satisfaction by interacting with others. These employees tend to be highly social and they enjoy people and find the social aspects of the workplace rewarding. You can motivate these employees by providing them with opportunities to interact with others such as teamwork projects, group meetings, brainstorm sessions, etc.

The need for autonomy: Autonomous employees seek freedom and independence. When you allow this group to make their own choices, set their own schedules and work independently, their work and satisfaction levels flourish.

The need for esteem: These employees seek recognition and praise. When you offer ample feedback and public recognition, this group nearly always rises to the occasion. They take pride in their work and enjoy being recognized and feeling respected for their efforts.

The need for safety and security: These employees seek job security, a steady income, insurance benefits and a hazard-free work environment. When you give this group predictable work with little risk or uncertainty, their motivation to produce good work falls in line. Salary, fringe benefits and a predictable vacation schedule are also highly valued by this group.

The need for equity: These employees want to be treated fairly. This group of employees tends to compare work hours, job duties, salary and privileges with those around them. When this group feels secure in the equity of their treatment, they easily function as a highly motivated group.

The next time a team member approaches you and asks for financial rewards, I encourage you to dig a bit deeper. Often times you will find that the root of their request is not financial at all, but rather one of the seven categories listed above. By taking the time to find out more, you will enjoy a happier, more productive employee without having to dip into your pocketbook.

Shari has 17 years of clinical dental hygiene experience and her most recent work is in the field of consulting, coaching and facilitating. Her work with several hundred clients internationally has inspired teams to solidify their visions and achieve bottom-line results.