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July 17, 2007

From one of my many anecdotal, statistic making conversations I came to the conclusion people don’t become demotivated at work because of money (or lack thereof). I was wrong. People do become demotivated because of dodgey pay situations but less than you may think and even those could be catagorised differently. Jay, at Dumb Little Man, found the four biggest catagories of why people left his company and although Money was a catagory with 62 people listed it as the only reason for leaving, only 8 of those people were at the top of their earning potential in the position the held.

The temptation of moving on and changing companies (or going into business, wink, wink, CL) which people would see as the opportunity to earn more money is all boiled down into the Money catagory. The challenge of earning money, advancing in a career and making a tangible result in a company for me go into a catgory I would call Recogniton. If employees have the impression of working in a vacuum, or if they worked or fell asleep at their desks the result would be the same, the motivation factor is zero and they will look for a reason to leave. I’m not saying if you get cheerleaders in every time someone does something in the office they will stay motivated if you pay them peanuts. The two things go together.

The other three reasons listed were Unchallenged, Too Challenged, and Dead Company. In all of the cases including the unchallenged there were issues related to the lack of recognition of the employee. The employee who felt unchallenged needed the heirachy to recognise his position:

One of the forms was completed by an employee that had the exact same job function for 3 years. He is a great example of this point. This employee was in the 20% tier because he had mastered his position and was viewed by many as someone literally doing the work of 2 people. His performance reviews were flawless. BUT – and here is the killer, he didn’t feel that way. He thrived on pressure and having a huge workload was natural to him. Although his manager didn’t see it, this guy was bored out of his skull and wanted more. Year after year he exceeded every expectation on his review and he was compensated for it but that was it. In this case, it wasn’t a matter of compensation, it was strictly responsibility.

Management is to motivate and serve your employees. If you are not doing these two things then you must prepare yourself for resignation letters. Being aware of empoyee wants and needs then meeting (or serving) them and motivating employees to want to work for you are the two aspects which may save and may have saved Jay’s company from losing it’s workers.

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