A few years ago, a group of psychologists visited 24 business and industrial plants in various parts of the United States with an objective to measure employee attitudes toward various on-the-job morale factors.
Each employee interviewed was handed a list of 10 items and was asked to rank them in order of importance. Executives were given the same list and invited to predict how their employees would answer. These factors were used to determine what motivates an employee.
The list included: Feeling “in” on things; Full appreciation of work done; Good wages; Good working conditions; Interesting work; Job security; Personal loyalty to workers; Promotion and growth in the company; Sympathetic help on personal problems; and Tactful disciplining.
Executives assumed employees would rank the list in the following order: 1. Good wages; 2. Job security; 3. Promotion and growth in the company; 4. Good working conditions; and 5. Interesting work.
However, the order in which employees actually ranked the list was notably different: 1. Full appreciation of work done; 2. Feeling “in” on things; 3. Sympathetic help on personal problems; 4. Job security; and 5. Good wages.
These answers show that the employees wanted to be connected. Feeling ‘connected’ is a key employee motivator!
Yes, good wages and job security made both lists. But, the feelings of appreciation, inclusion, and understanding were key in the employees’ answers.
As non-profit leaders, we are keenly aware of the impacts these motivators have on our workforce and in our workplace. We are unique in that we often work to advance ‘causes,’ and seek to facilitate and convene.
While we can get caught up in the wants and needs of those we serve, we should remember to ask ourselves what motivates us. What things fuel our ‘drives’ and ‘aspirations?’ While we are meeting the needs of those around us, we should not lose sight of our own motivators. This awareness will help us to be stronger leaders and better serve our organizations, both personally and professionally.