We all know how to motivate and reward staff, don’t we?  Give them something to aim for and punish them if they don’t perform.  Also known as the Carrot and Stick approach.

The reality is that we all have deep seated motivations which drives our behaviour.  These motivation biases are set at a very early age (6yrs) and generally, cannot be moved.  It makes us who we are and why we gravitate to various professions, relationships or hobbies in our adult life.

When this comes to management and motivation of staff it starts to become interesting.  We see ‘general’ Carrot and Stick reward schemes put in place as a broad-brush attempt to motivate people and deliver results.  Some Managers put in motivation and reward schemes based on what would motivate them rather than understand what would actually motivate their staff.

Through our motivational profiling tool, experience shows, that this is not always the best method.  The majority of time this achieves little more than added pressure and can even work against the required results.  Each person in an organisation is motivated in a different way and have natural strengths and blindsides.  Sure, we all like to be rewarded and valued for our efforts, but not all rewards are financial, in fact sometimes money is the weakest reward of all.

This was highlighted to me once when I ran an awayday for a storage and distribution company:

The day was set-up for the 60 strong workforce from all parts of the business. The management had not given a pay raise for three years and they were worried that this would be flagged-up during the, hopefully, motivational day.  Sure enough towards the end of the day, an older lorry driver stood up and announced that he wanted to talk about his salary.  Hear it comes, thought the management (and me).  What came next was amazing.  He said, “I want to give one day’s pay back to the company every month, but I want something in return.  I want my manager to say THANK YOU for the first time in the 20 years that I have worked under him.”

The lorry driver demonstrated that ‘one size does not fit all,’ and a higher performance can be achieved by understanding what motivations truly drive people and what makes them want to succeed.