The Daily Recruiter

The Ezine for Executive Managers … brought to you by The SearchLogix Group.

Category: Motivation (Page 1 of 2)

Fear Screws Up Your Leadership

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“By David Dye, Lead Change Group contributor”

It’s a question that has perplexed me for many years:  With the wealth of leadership wisdom available, why do we continue to struggle to lead well? Why do employee engagement rates continue to hover around 30% despite the obvious advantages for leaders who choose to lead well?

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SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO

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“By Travis Bradberry, Business Guru Club”

Having close access to ultra-successful people can yield some pretty incredible information about who they really are, what makes them tick, and, most importantly, what makes them so successful and productive.

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RE-ENERGIZE TEAMS

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“article courtesy of Leadership Freak”

#1. Complain a little and move on. “We’ve talked about this the last three times we met. How might we move on?”

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7 Reasons You Need Mental Strength To Be Successful

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“Amy Morin, of BusinessPhilosophyClub.info”

Becoming mentally strong will separate you from the pack and help you achieve higher levels of success.

Everyone possesses mental strength to some degree. But the stronger you are, the more likely you are to achieve bigger and better goals.

Here are seven reasons why you need mental strength to be successful:

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Do You Find Yourself Always Waiting in Life? 5 Rules To Improve Your Waiting

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“Leigh Martinuzzi, of LinkedIn.com”

Do You Find Yourself Always Waiting in Life? 5 Rules To Improve Your Waiting

I was standing in line wondering if it was worth the wait. How often do you have that feeling? I see queues everywhere! I am an impatient man and to me waiting sucks!

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How to Energize Low-Energy Employees

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“By Dan Rockwell, of LeadershipFreak”

Managers complain about pushing low-energy employees.

Low-energy suggests lack of purpose, not lack of energy. Don’t try to energize low-energy employees. Help them connect with their purpose.

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How Business Leaders Get Ahead By Making Time For Passion Projects

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“By Stephanie Vozza, of FastCompany.com”

All work and no play can make life pretty dull. But for some, play is more than a weekend game of golf or a night out at the movies. It’s a project that fuels a passion. From chasing storms to teaching soccer, these six business leaders make the most of their nonworking hours.

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What Companies Gain from Providing Free Lunch to Employees

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“By Daniel Gross, of Strategy+Business”

One of the defining characteristics of tech and media companies is coming under fire: the provision of free food, drinks, and snacks.

Faced with rocky public markets, some venture-backed technology companies are dialing back on the amenities they provide employees, including free lunches and dinner. Shareholder activists also look to in-house cafeterias as a potential way to trim fat. Eric Jackson, an investor who has been critical of Yahoo, charged that the company is spending US$450 million annually on employee food. CEO Marissa Mayer has countered that the total was more like $150 million.

To a degree, analysts and critics see the provision of quinoa salads, cappuccinos, fruit bowls, and pistachios as just another sign of once-hard-headed companies growing soft, coddling millennials by providing them with the comforts of home in the office.

But here’s the thing. Offering free meals and caffeine is actually a highly effective — and cost-effective — means of motivating and controlling young employees. And in most instances, companies realize significant returns on these investments.

Offering free meals and caffeine is actually a highly effective — and cost-effective — means of motivating and controlling young employees.

As I understand it, the phenomenon of providing young, college-educated, overworked employees with free meals started at investment banks and law firms in the 1980s and 1990s. The proposition: If you stayed at work past a certain hour, say, 7:00 p.m., you could order dinner into the offices on the company’s dime. (Stay even later, and you could take a car service home.) This was a transparent effort to encourage young people who were getting paid fixed (not hourly) salaries to stick around the office for an extra hour or two each day. Sure, a law firm may have paid out $25 for a young associate’s takeout dinner. But the firm was billing that associate’s time out at $200 per hour or more. So even if the offer of a free meal incentivized the associate to do an extra 10 minutes of billable work per day, the investment was worth it.

The practice spread in the 1990s to media and technology companies. At my first job in New York in the early 1990s, at a financial information and media company, the employer was famous for its spread: free snacks and coffee, cereal and fruit baskets, ramen noodles and soup, every type of soda and packaged salty snack you could imagine. Why? The company’s founder and CEO was a benevolent, paternalistic dictator type. But this was a scrappy, understaffed crew, working in an environment in which beating the competition by seconds mattered. He couldn’t afford to have people leaving their turrets every time they were hungry and thirsty. The investment in maintaining a free in-house convenience store was designed to discourage people from leaving the building for 15-minute coffee breaks and 30-minute lunch breaks.

The logic becomes even more compelling if your offices are in a suburban office park (as is the case for many technology companies in Silicon Valley) or in an up-and-coming part of the city that may lack consumer amenities (as is the case for many media and tech companies in New York and elsewhere). At another point in my career, I worked at IAC, in a beautiful, architecturally significant building — located on an otherwise desolate block of the far west side of Manhattan. Going to get coffee, or a bagel, or lunch required an excursion. And that 30 minutes could have been spent creating content, or coding, or selling ads.

At many workplaces, people don’t get paid by the hour, and don’t get overtime. So if you’re an employer, it’s in your interest to encourage people to stay at the office, and to be energized and caffeinated while there. If the provision of free food and drinks can save 30 minutes of time, five days a week, for 50 weeks a year, that adds up to 125 hours of downtime avoided, the equivalent of about three weeks of full-time work.

And the more you pay your employees, the more economic sense it makes to feed them on-site gratis. Consider an engineer in Silicon Valley, or on the far west side of Manhattan, with a salary of $150,000. Add in benefits and overhead, and the engineer costs the company $200,000 per year — whether she works 50 hours a week, or 54 hours a week. That comes to about $100 per hour. Now, if you can save that employee 30 minutes a day or encourage her to work 30 minutes longer by forestalling the need to stop for breakfast, or go out for a coffee break, or eat lunch at the desk instead of going out, or not stepping away for a 3:00 p.m. snack, or staying until 7:00 p.m. until dinner is served instead of going home at 6:30 — that’s worth $50 to you. Providing somebody with $25 of free food and drinks per day at a cafeteria is an investment that pays off double every single day.

Maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch after all.

Finding Meaning At Work

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“By Tracy Maylett, of DecisionWise

Does Your Job Have Meaning Beyond the Work Itself?

When was the last time you felt that the work you were doing had meaning or was about more than just making money? Have you ever done something that filled you so completely that you could work nonstop for hours without realizing it?

If you have, then you know what we mean by “MEANING.” Meaning is how we go from job, to career, to calling. It’s when you know that your work makes a difference that you care about personally. Meaning is why we work beyond the obvious reason of getting a paycheck. It’s also critical because it’s the factor that sustains us during times of difficulty, stress, or challenge. It helps us see past issues and focus on reasons we’re working in the first place. It’s where the heart really kicks in.

Zookeepers are an interesting example.

Researchersstudying zookeepers found that they are uniquely engaged in their work (something any four-year-old could have told you.). The most interesting part of the research centered on why the zookeepers were so engaged in what is by any standard a demanding occupation. The researchers discovered that while much of the work is decidedly unglamorous (cleaning up animal poop) and some is downright dangerous (working with injured or agitated animals), the zookeepers also felt their work had a greater purpose: caring for every aspect of their jobs was engaging, their jobs as a whole engaged them deeply. They not only brought their hearts and spirits to their work, they did something significant with their minds and hands because of their feelings. They created their own engagement.

Finding Meaning at Work

So many things create meaning for employees and help them become engaged in their jobs. While nowhere near complete, here is a small list of ways we’ve seen employees find meaning in their jobs and become engaged. 

  • Mentoring younger employees
  • Earning enough money to pay for their kids to be the first in their family to attend college
  • Helping create products that clean the environment
  • Preventing crime or abuse
  • Improving people’s health
  • Giving people a voice
  • Assembling an awesome product
  • Designing beautiful things
  • Keeping people safe
  • Rescuing or caring for wildlife or environment

Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work — and What Does

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“by Susan Fowler, http://smartblogs.com”

I urge you: Stop trying to motivate people! It’s frustrating for everyone involved and it just doesn’t work.

An important truth has emerged from the compelling science of motivation: Motivating people does not work because people are already motivated. People are always motivated. The question is not if a person is motivated, but why.

For example, imagine you have given the same requirement to three sales people: enter sales activity into Salesforce every week. It’s a mistake to assume they are motivated if they do it and not motivated if they don’t do it (or don’t do it well). Each of them is motivated, but with a different quality of motivation based on their reasons for using Salesforce, or not. Through a motivation conversation with each of them, you might discover:

  • Jake inputs into Salesforce every week, but the quality of what he enters is subpar because he resents every moment of it — the only reason he’s doing it is to get you off his back.
  • Debbie thought about it and concluded that she won’t use Salesforce; she values serving her clients and rationalizes that it’s more important to interact with them than sit in front of a computer.
  • Lily chooses to capture her sales activity thoroughly and regularly because she believes she is contributing to more accurate forecasting and planning; using Salesforce is an act of organizational citizenship behavior that feels good to her.

In each case, the reps have appraised your request (either consciously or subconsciously), come to their own conclusions and gone in their own motivational direction.

The point: Instead of asking if people are motivated to use Salesforce, ask why they are, or are not, using it as requested. All your sales reps are motivated — just for different reasons. And, those reasons are things you can facilitate through a motivation conversation and they can potentially shift.

Jake

Through a motivation conversation, Jake may become aware that being pressured to use Salesforce to avoid “the stick” is harmful to his sense of well-being and doesn’t result in a quality effort. To be optimally motivated, Jake needs to use Salesforce for his own reasons that are aligned with his own values.

That prompts important questions. Does Jake have clearly developed values around selling your products or services? Have you ever talked about values with Jake? A values conversation may be in order — not to share your values or reiterate the organization’s values, but to help Jake clarify his own values. It is impossible for you to help people align their goals to meaningful values if they don’t know what their values are!

Debbie

Through a motivation conversation, Debbie could explore her value for serving clients. Are drop-in meetings more effective than the 15 minutes it takes to enter information on Salesforce? Through Debbie’s mindful examination of her options, she might realize that by capturing information in a central place her support staff can proactively respond — benefiting her clients even more than do her spontaneous visits.

Lily

Having a motivation conversation with Lily, who is doing what you wish all your reps would do, gives her the opportunity to reflect on how good she feels about using Salesforce, reinforcing her dedication and sustaining her efforts over time.

As a leader, you can learn to position your requests so your staff is more likely to experience optimal motivation, but the truth is: Every person is motivated for individual reasons. Your role as a leader is to have conversations with your people to facilitate their understanding of those reasons, the implications for their current motivational outlook, and their alternate choices.

Motivation conversations with your staff won’t guarantee their shift from a suboptimal to an optimal motivational outlook, but they will help your people make more conscious and healthy decisions by understanding their underlying reasons for doing, or not doing, what is being requested. What they choose to do with their expanded awareness and your request might just surprise — and delight — you.

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