Let me start my article by narrating a story about a small restaurant that tweaked its employee policy and thus reaped long term benefits.
A Pittsburgh Restaurant owner did away with tipping, paid employees a base salary of over $35k/year (plus bonuses), gave them health care from the date of hire, 500 shares in the business and a paid vacation, and yet the restaurant tripled its profits within 2 months.
The point I am trying to drive is that “You care for your employees and they will take care of your business,” as noted by Richard Branson. Also JW Marriott similarly pointed out, “If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers and your business will take care of itself”. Therefore, having a good product / business model will not guarantee a successful venture, but having motivated employees will surely make the business successful.
Every employee is different and has different aspirations. Also, the aspirations and motivation levels are different at different levels of hierarchy. The company needs to have a balanced employee friendly policy which takes care of employee motivation and participation at all levels. A motivated employee is twice as effective as compared to a demotivated/demoralized employee.
Junior employees get motivated with simple words like “Great job”, “Keep it up”, a pat on a back, etc. They love a work place full of fun, energy and activity, and look for proper training to execute their job. These guys are starting their professional career and what they care about is acceptance by their seniors and find fulfillment in small gestures and small words of appreciation and motivation.
Mid-level employees get motivated by being given challenging work with good support to execute that task, having a good learning and development policy, regular feedback on their achievements, idea exchange sessions like lunch / coffee with CXOs, feeling of involvement in decision making, sense of belongingness etc. This set of people are aspirational and look up to their seniors / management for vision and guidance, and they find fulfillment if they are adding value to the organizational goals. Most importantly, adding value to themselves and enhancing their skill sets will surely boost their morale.
Senior level employees also need motivation but their requirement is a bit different. They look for freedom of expression, performing novel and challenging things in their professional career, trust and faith of the management / promoters, independence in executing their job, speed of decision making, the feeling that their opinion matters, etc. These employees have reached the top of the pyramid in their career by virtue of their achievements. They are working towards creating name and fame for themselves within their professional community. They value self respect, trust, new and challenging assignments and growth within their chosen fields.
As Steve Jobs rightly said, “Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people”.Therefore, it is not only important to have a motivated individual or a motivated department but the entire company fully motivated to achieve the goals set by the board / shareholders. Only then can a company reach its true potential - not just with customer satisfaction, but also with employee satisfaction.