I read a statistic from the US Department of Labor that says 64% of Americans leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated. That under appreciation goes from the lowest levels of the organization to the office of the CEO. The more diverse your organization is the more important it is to understand what is motivating each employee.

Too Much Change, So Much Resistance

In my corporate career, I was the lead on change projects for my division. There was no enthusiasm for this great initiative that management asked me to lead. Resistance and complacency created obstacles to every change. I had been with the company for just over a year, so I went to some of the employees who had been with the company for at least five years and some for 20+ years. I asked them why the resistance. Their response was “This is just the flavor of the month.”

I asked them to explain. I learned there were nearly 200 change initiatives underway! No wonder no one was engaged or willing to consider this change.

I had to go to management and ask them about all the other projects. The more conversations I had, the more I realized that while this new project I was to lead was meaningful. It sure did look like the latest fad, trend, hot topic that was a result of someone in management attending a retreat, workshop, or offsite.

If you want to change, to be meaningful, and to happen, you have to be selective about what changes you implement. Furthermore, you have to complete the change or have a darn good reason for why you stop.

Too Many Change Projects

Change is something we resist. If a person is asked to make too many changes or too drastic, then failure is almost inevitable unless they have sufficient motivation. People naturally seek stability. People are comfortable with what they know, even if it includes pain. So, to successfully change your organization, you must understand the dynamics of change.

Improved performance through real change is an outcome that results when the new state is more valuable than the current comfort level. The motivation for change thus is about creating a vision, a pathway, and a willingness to go through short-term challenges even pain to get to a new state. The change must either improve your status, increase income, reduce the time you spend, saves you money, or in some other way that is meaningful to the individual fundamental way of living or working.

Five Languages of Appreciation At Work

Dr. Gary Chapman is well known for his book on the five love languages. He has a book called the Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.  These languages include:

  • words of affirmation
  • quality time
  • tangible gifts
  • acts of service
  • in physical touch.

Each person has something different that they value. These five love languages the languages of appreciation allow us to categorize what will motivate a person to change.

Show Me the Money! Eh, Not So Fast

I have heard many times that money alone isn’t sufficient to motivate a millennial. Well, that may be a broad statement, it does hold true for a large percentage of the millennial generation. Money is a tool of exchange for them. It doesn’t connect with how they are motivated.

The more diverse your team, the more critical it is to understand what motivates performance in general. Because under the pressure of change, those motivators become even more important to get results.

The ability to align rewards performance acknowledgment to widen employee values is an important even critical aspect of making change happen. Productivity increases motivation increases when what we’re getting out of our efforts is something we value.

Align the Goal with the Motivators

For example, if I’m a person that likes quality time then hearing words of appreciation doesn’t do it for me.  I want time spent working with someone I respect and whose time is valuable.

On the other hand, if I am a person that’s motivated by words of appreciation, and I receive a gift card, I don’t feel valued. I need to hear the words if you want me to change. I need to hear from you that you appreciate who I am, my effort, what I’m doing, and the results I’m getting.

What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)?

We may not like to admit it, but we all ask: “What’s in it for me?”  Outcomes, personal outcomes, motivate humanity.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Customization of rewards is one element of a successful change campaign. Those rewards don’t have to be costly. The rewards have to have value in the eyes of your team.

Copyright ©2018 Lea A. Strickland/F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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