Employee Motivation and Recognition
Understanding employee motivation and a need for recognition
Recognizing that employee motivation and recognition is critical to your business success is a no-brainer; the more difficult and abstract part of the equation is determining what actually motivates your employee’s (which, depending on their age, familial status and tenure is going to be quite different with each employee). Consequently, where does the leadership begin when it comes to understanding employee motivation?
Over the course of the past two decades, if you review the findings of any employee survey, formal commissioned study and/or focus group the topic of recognition will be one of the top three responses/results. Moreover, if any rewards and/or recognition program is going to have any real measurable and long-term positive effect it must be based on the concept of real gratitude because this type of appreciation, which is rooted in the deeply held value that the employees are a company’s greatest asset, is the force which drives employees.
The motivation of give and take as associated with employee motivation
The source of satisfaction for a giver lies in the fulfillment of one’s role as a giver. The nature of a true giver is one of rejection of “free gifts”. The desire of the giver’s being is to give and not to draw to oneself things that are outside of him or her.
Consequently, when the giver does receive anything from one’s employer he or she is immediately prompted to give something equivalent in return. If the giver is unable to do this in kind, the giver’s heart urges him or her to repay that employer by giving the employer happiness by way of true gratitude and appreciation, which translates into increased engagement, productivity, overall service and customer satisfaction. Therefore, even when a giver takes, the giver is actually giving.
The opposite of this, however, is the taker. The taker is one who aspires to draw to oneself all that comes within his or her reach. This is egotism or selfishness. In contrast to the giver, even when a taker gives he or she is actually taking because the whole purpose of the taker’s giving is for the sake of taking – recognition, honor, prestige, and the like.
A taker therefore by his or her very nature will never be satisfied with what he or she has and will always want more and greater in the wrong areas, i.e. greater rewards, greater honor, greater recognition and greater prestige because the taker will always see what he or she does not have and will always feel a sense of deficiency and this is what drives the taker. Think of it as a spoiled child, whatever you provide or give to them is never going to be enough to satisfy their overwhelming desire to want more.
Deep inside of the taker is the belief that people and things exist for his or her sake; therefore, when the taker is given recognition or award for something, say from his or her employer, the taker may give wonderful words of gratitude and thanks to his or her employer but he or she does not really mean it because the taker is only showing gratitude and thanks in order to get a bigger and better award.
Unlike the giver, it won’t matter what the employer gives the taker since it will never translate into the employer getting anything meaningful in return, such as engagement, productivity, overall service, etc. since the taker is only driven by the next award or recognition. It is not hard to see how costly this can be for an employer.
It is important to develop a culture of true gratitude rooted in giving and not taking
It is exactly for these reasons that any awards and recognition program must be based on a culture of true gratitude from both the organization and the employee whose roots lie within the nature of giving and not the nature of taking.
If the organization develops a program from this perspective then this will create a level of gratitude from the employee to the organization that will ultimately translate into a symbiotic relationship which nurtures increased employee engagement, increase productivity, increased overall service, increase satisfaction, lower turnover rates and increase customer satisfaction.
For further information on employee recognition or rewards programs, feel free to contact this Author. email@example.com
Mike Russell is a seasoned professional with three decades of experience in the fields of HR and OD. In addition to having a career trajectory of HR Generalist to a VP within ten years, Mike also has a long and successful background as a Consultant/Business Partner to CEO’s, Presidents and Executive Directors in both the private and non-profit communities across a wide spectrum of industries.
As the sole-proprietor and owner of Organizational Development Solutions (ODS), Mike partners with business leaders committed to insulating their organization(s) from potential liability, increasing organizational effectiveness and adding shareholder value.