At a time when it seems that employee pay has been increasingly in the spotlight, there lies an interesting conundrum that might be just as shocking as it is contrarian.
Money, it turns out, for today’s employee, isn’t everything.
Though our present-day landscape is dotted with discussions about a K-shaped economic recovery from COVID-19, and the push for a $15 federally mandated minimum wage, it just so happens that there’s a lot more that motivates today’s employees besides the bi-weekly take-home check.
In our previous blogs in this series, we’ve certainly learned, in every step along the way to embracing explosive growth, how critical our team members have been in that struggle. Now that we’ve discussed the role of leadership, of creativity, and of the strategies and tactics that foster success, as we conclude this series, let’s discuss what employees are looking for in return for investing in those outcomes.
Indeed, it is a combination of tangible and intangible rewards that truly motivate today’s employees – and though a consistent paycheck certainly is expected, today’s professionals truly are looking for something more.
Want a further surprise? It can be something as simple as a hearty – and genuine – expression of gratitude that most motivates individuals. One survey found that recognition (37 percent) far outstripped a raise (7 percent) as an adequate reward for success.
So how has this proliferated? It’s always been in our nature to want our ego stroked. If you are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, self-actualization takes up the most valuable real estate at the top of the pyramid. Interpreted for today, it certainly depends upon other factors: Are people, for example, meeting and exceeding their basic needs for food and shelter? If so, then getting more money or a bonus may not mean as much as getting a new title, or getting recognized in the annual report, or getting a keynote spot in national or international sales meetings so they can highlight what they do.
Certainly, there is no real “one-size-fits-all” approach to employee recognition, so I typically believe in customizing the experience to suit the individual.
I remember early in my career when I was just out of college, one of my first jobs was as a commercial loan officer who also managed a very busy retail branch. It was important to me to reward the teller who excelled at handling customers and supporting others each week. So, I got into the habit of bringing in a red rose in a vase on Monday morning, so there would be a symbol of their recognition that customers could see and share in. It was a simple gesture – costing me $2 each time – but it worked.
For others, the rewards may be just as simple. For example, for people with new families, they may value a flexible schedule, so that they can come in and beat the traffic at 6:30 but leave at 3:30 to be home with their children. In this day and age, smart companies are doing more personality testing, DISC assessments, and other fact finding to uncover personality traits, which can help leaders really customize some of the rewards that they wish to offer.
By the way, getting this right has an equivalent benefit for the company, which may run the risk of losing an employee that DOESN’T feel valued. That old parable that it costs much more to train a new employee than to retain an existing one isn’t just a tossed-off expression – it’s true.
I once worked for a privately owned medical device company that sold its products in 142 countries globally. As a result, the sales team logged tens of thousands of miles per year. This company had a tradition each year of hosting a sales meeting in one of the countries in which it does business – Portugal and the Bahamas are two recent locations – and as a reward, it would allow the sales executives to bring a spouse – all expenses paid. It meant a lot for the spouses who had to put up with the constant travel, and it was an incentive for sales pros to want to stay on, in anticipation of the next luxurious destination – and keep their spouses happy!
Your rewards don’t need to be quite as lavish. Some other ideas I found to be impactful included a special catered lunch, a family river rafting trip, or even a surprise package of goodies sent to employees’ homes. Not only are these things important to the culture, but they also help the company build its internal brand in much the same way as paying attention to its external brand. (Ask any company about the impact a positive employee review has on a website like Glassdoor, and you’ll understand what I mean.)
And, when the culture is strong, it has another side effect: If the market changes or new products are introduced, companies can pivot faster because they have this ingrained knowledge, through all layers of the company, along with better communication and more ownership of outcomes.
Are you positioned for explosive growth? Is your company’s culture a top-to-bottom exercise in inclusiveness? Does everyone on your team know what tools, strategies, and techniques can be employed for success? Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you in building a winning marketing team that is poised for greatness or in crafting new lead generation strategies with your current team!
In case you missed the previous articles in the series: