What Makes Your Team Tick?

6 October 2013 / by Ashley Freeman

What makes your employees get out of bed and come to work each morning?

Money? Pride? Obligation?

Does it even matter?


Though it might seem overly abstract or ‘touchy feely’ to some people, understanding what motivates your team is crucial to the involvement process. In order to get the most out of your team, to keep them in their jobs and to keep them motivated, you need to understand what puts the wind in their sails.

There isn’t a secret ingredient for creating a culture of involvement in any organisation. The first thing to understand is that every employee has a Unique Motivational Profile (UMP). To assume that what works for one will work for all is lazy. Many managers also make the mistake of presuming that the primary reason members of their team come to work is money.

In most cases it’s not.

Very few employees that are truly passionate and engaged in their jobs are motivated by money. There is a theory that workers who love what they do are more willing to accept lower wages because they’re getting satisfaction through the environment. They’ll come early and stay late, without expecting overtime pay.


What Motivates Your Team

Some employees will respond to an inspiring environment, mutual appreciation and respect for fellow employees. It’s human nature to want to feel appreciated and wanted. Other possible motivations could be; engaging projects, a good work-life balance, passion for their work or a particular project, compensation and benefits, rewards and bonuses or the opportunity to learn new skills.

The point is, each employee has their own individual reason for leaping out of bed and skipping to work with a smile – or not.


How to Find Out?

The best way to discover what motivates people is to ask them. It really is that simple.

Ask leading questions, such as; ‘what part of your work challenges you?’ and ‘what challenges do you enjoy?’ or ‘do you feel valued in your work?’ and ‘what parts of your work inspire you to give your full creativity and enthusiasm?

Listening to your team is one of the marks of a good leader. By listening and being receptive to your team’s opinions and ideas, you will naturally pick up on what makes them tick, what gets them excited. By making yourself and your undivided attention available to people at all levels of the organisation, they are more likely to open up to you – and also to work harder for you.

Once you have taken the time to truly understand what makes your employees tick, then you can focus their motivational energy in the right place. It might mean relocating them within the organisation. It might just mean offering incentives or rewards. It is up to you, as a leader, to find the best way to deploy the motivational spirit of your employees, and to keep them excited about their work.

Creating a culture of involvement within your organisation will have a very positive, direct impact on your bottom line. You will never achieve this unless you understand what makes your team tick.

If you can tap into the core motivations of your team, understand what it is about their work that motivates them and tailor your engagement initiatives on an individual basis, you will soon see increased productivity and discretionary effort.


Not sure how to tap into your team’s core motivations? Want some help? Why not give us a call to find out how we can help?