Article Date: 9/1/2005

staffing solutions
Get Them Motivated
Identify employees' job-related needs and watch their performance improve.

In order to put employees' motivation in high gear (and keep it there) you must first identify their job-related needs. Then make their jobs so satisfying, they'll want, really want, to do their very best. Or as Bob Townsend, former C.E.O. of Avis said, "Create the kind of environment that pays people to bring their brains to work."

The following is a "Motivation Inventory" I have given to seminar groups to help them focus on their employees' job-related needs.

The Motivation Inventory

Place an X next to the five job-related needs listed below that you believe are most important in motivating the one employee in your office you would most like to motivate.

1. Assurance of regular employment

2. Satisfactory working conditions

3. Suitable rest periods and coffee breaks

4. Adequate vacation arrangements and holidays

5. Good pay

6. Having the goals and objectives of the practice spelled out so employee knows where we're headed

7. A written job description so employees know what's expected of them

8. A good performance review

9. Health insurance and other fringe benefits

10. Avoiding criticism for doing an inadequate job

12. Positive reinforcement from the doctor on employee's performance

13. Getting along with coworkers

14. Participation in management activities

15. Involvement in decisions affecting work

16. Feeling the employee's job is important

17. Respect as a person and/or a professional on the job

18. More autonomy on the job

19. More job responsibilities

20. Interesting work

21. Opportunities to do work that is challenging

22. Chance for self-development and improvement.

Reality check: No two people have the same motivational needs or have them in the same order of importance. A single parent with two school-age children, for example, may have very different job-related needs than a person from a two wage-earner household with grown children.

Seminar audiences typically struggle with this motivation inventory because it's difficult for them to know their employees' job-related needs unless they've discussed the subject with them.

Getting to know them

There are several ways to learn such needs:

Ideally, the initial job interview will uncover an applicant's job-related needs. Use questions such as: What about your last job did you like most? Least? They will help you ascertain whether you have the right person for the right job.

Consider asking current employees similar questions to identify their job-related needs. In this case, put them in writing. Give them time to think about their answers, perhaps discuss them with someone else. Explain also that if they would like, you'll schedule a one-on-one conference to discuss the results. Such questions might include:

Are there additional things you would like to be doing?

What, if anything, frustrates you about your job?

The Motivation Inventory, although not intended for this purpose, can be used to identify employees' job-related needs.

Performance reviews, though more formal, will do so as well.

It's worthwhile

How well you identify and address the job-related needs of your employees will determine how likely they are to engage in what psychologists call "motivated behavior."



Optometric Management, Issue: September 2005