On Rallying the Troops: 3 Biggest Myths About Employee Motivation

Employee MotivationA good job is hard to find—but every boss knows that excellent employees are even harder to keep. You need to make sure that your people look forward to coming to work every single day for more than just the paycheck.

As time goes by and the economy remains on a plateau, many managers and business owners are probably finding it more difficult to continue motivating employees—especially with many perks (sometimes salaries) being cut down to lower the costs.

No, employee motivation is not just about the money. This is one of the most common myths many business owners and managers believe in. Here are some of the misconceptions about employee motivation this article aims to dispel:

Myth 1: Money is the Best Employee Motivator

Money in the form of salaries and bonuses has always been the staple of motivation during the good times, simply because from a management standpoint, it’s such an easy fix.

Studies, however, find that this form of “happiness” is very short-lived. It is recognition and status that will really motivate them—not just in the first few weeks or months of receiving it.

Myth 2: If You Want to Motivate Them, Don’t Announce the Bad News

Remember that bad news will always get out to employees. They hate it when you hide it from them. After all, they are part of the company, and they want a chance to contribute and make a difference.

Brad Montgomery says empowerment equals motivation, and is a good way to get even through the tough times.

Myth 3: The “Carrot and Stick” is the Best Motivation System

We use a model to illustrate the “old view” of motivation: you suspend a carrot in front of a donkey and use a stick to flick it when it moves too slowly. People call it the Carrot and Stick approach, and it’s a horrifying model. It’s essentially telling your people one of these things: “Do this and I’ll pay you or maybe give you a bonus”, or, “Don’t do this, and you’ll get demoted or fired”.

You hire brilliant and talented people—not donkeys. They have their own motivation. All you need to do is remove the barriers that make it hard to move forward.

It’s time to reexamine your beliefs about employee motivation—especially if you want to retain some of the best talent.

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