Why A Paycheck Falls Short As A Motivator

Your employees work for more than a paycheck.There is nothing more frustrating than having an employee who is given a task and completely fails to execute.  You told them what to do.  You told them how to do it and they just failed to make it happen.  Your employees fail to execute despite the fact that you give them a paycheck on a weekly or bi-weekly.   Your first instinct maybe that your team is just lazy, stupid or apathetic but this actually isn’t typically the case.  The failure comes from not selling your team on what they need to be doing.

This brings me back to the paycheck effect.   Have you ever just assumed that your employees should just do something because you pay them?  Me too.  Then they don’t do what we ask.  Knowing that you can’t/shouldn’t kill them, what should you do?

Fire them.

Just kidding.  Don’t do that either… at least not yet.  Instead, look at how your requests are positioned with your team.  There are three key areas to ensuring that you are selling your requests to your team in a manner that will ensure they actually get done.

1. Paint The Big Picture:  When requests are made to employees, the first place you should go to paint the picture is to reinforce the mission, vision and values of the business.  From there, the task should be tied back into the objectives of what the business is trying to accomplish for the year. I saw a stat recently that said that only 1 in 5 employees actually know how the work that they do supports the business goals.  1 in5!

2. Get A Consensus:  I see a lot of business owners get this one wrong.  They tell employees what to do, how to do it and when it should be done and then they say “go!” This may sound reasonable enough to you.  Getting buy- in is about getting everyone on the same page.   If you are going to do that, the conversation can’t be one sided.  You need to give the opportunity for your employees to engage in the conversation.

To do this, ask  questions like:

Does this time frame seem reasonable?

Does this fit in your schedule?

What obstacles do you see getting in the way of making this happen?

How do you think we should handle this?

This may sound counter-intuitive but your employees don’t want to let you down so if you don’t give them the space to talk about obstacles, they will just take the role of people pleasure and say yes to whatever you ask them to do. 

3. Follow Up and Follow Through:  If your team is going to buy in, they need to trust you and you need to be someone that they can rely on.  I see a lot of business owners with poor follow through who kill their credibility as a result.  I like to follow through with my team for 2 main reasons:

  • The first is because I want them to know that I am serious about accomplishing the task.
  • The second is to ensure that there are no unforeseen obstacles that have gotten in the way of the task or project.  They may try and save face and not tell me about it so I want to ensure that they have the support they need to get the job done. 

How do you position projects and tasks to your team?  Do you sell them on it and get them excited or do you merely assume that their paycheck will be enough motivation.  In Daniel Pink’s book Drive, he talks about the primary motivators for people and money is not in the top 5.  Giving people a sense of autonomy and purpose are.

How can you sell to your team more effectively?

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