I confess I find my own practical experience matches most of the social science research on why people come to work – as described in Daniel Pink’s Book Drive. Daniel’s book spotlights the big three as mastery, autonomy, purpose. I’ve added another 7 to build my top ten list that work across the demographic spectrum.
My Top 10
- Ensure your company’s story is simple and understood by everyone. Ensure people know what the company’s purpose is all about. Specifically your story needs to focus on how you improve your customer’s life. Your customer has clear objectives and you need to spell out how your product or service enables those objectives to be met. Employees should feel proud about what you do and how you do it. Share customer success stories.
- Invest in your team by continually offering them the chance to master their job. Get them involved in industry related events to really appreciate how well they know their stuff. Get them teaching and mentoring as often as possible to further develop their mastery.
- Give clarity to roles and therefore build reasonable expectations of the performance requirement. Ensure resources are adequate to allow a great performance to be achieved.
- Build appropriate and meaningful process and metrics around tasks to inspire control, performance and focus. What gets measured gets done.
- Explain why roles need to interact and align with each other to achieve company success.
- Get the balance right between positive and negative feedback. Research recommends 5:1, positive to negative comments. Aspire to that ratio and achieve 3:1 and you will be fine. (Divorce research shows a ratio of 0.7:1 underlies most break-ups) I’ve always found praising people too often never produces prima donnas, it just makes people feel good.
- Explain a person’s role relative to the objective of the company – to drive the importance of purpose of the role. Every single employee should believe their role is important because it is.
- Constantly audit that your salaries and rewards are consistent with your promise. You may promise to pay in the top 25% of your market. Audit that claim regularly.
- If in doubt tell the truth. Honesty bursts the bubble of so much nonsense and unproductive politics and stops the need for acrobatic maneuvering.
- Communicate from the top to the team regularly, emphasizing projects achieved and promises kept. Build a culture of belief.