From the first time you review a candidate’s resume to preparing a desk with company goodies for your new employee, the hiring process can be a very long, drawn out process. Many times, the first week at a new job is packed with information, meeting new people, and hopefully some company swag. But what happens after that first week? So many times, onboarding efforts stop after the new hire’s first few weeks. Before gaining your “sea legs”, first few months to a year at a new job or position can be incredibly stressful. According to a 2016 Compensation Force study, the average total turnover for all industries is 17.8 percent – yikes.
So, how do you combat turnover? Some companies go the way of providing endless treats, office kegs, foosball tables in the conference room, and (of course) doughnuts to keep their team engaged. But, those fun, extrinsic motivators only offer short-term gratification. However, incorporating intrinsic motivators can increase employee engagement and retention, which is your ultimate goal.
First, what are intrinsic motivators? Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards rather than external rewards, like gifts and prizes. Intrinsic motivators are also specific to an individual.
Here’s what we are talking about:
Autonomy. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Your employees want to feel they have some control over their work, behavior, and their environment. As long as there are clearly defined goals/deadlines and means to measure progress along the way, the important part is that the work gets done. Remember, you likely hired this person because of their experience and skills – now is time to trust them.
Progress and Achievement. Getting good at your job is a real boost to your confidence and self-esteem. Winning just plain feels good – and it’s contagious. What’s even better is when your boss or manager acknowledges your progress and achievements. Employees need regular feedback to know where they stand in order to measure their performance. This creates an environment that supports a person’s autonomy and where employees can continually improve. And, a little bit of praise from your boss goes a long way! Additionally, recognizing the accomplishments of your team helps create a culture where everyone is celebrating their coworkers’ wins.
Knowledge. You can’t discuss progress and achievement without recognizing people are on a continuous cycle of learning and, ideally, implementing what they have learned. One of the easiest ways to improve your team is to allow and encourage opportunities to expand your employees’ knowledge base. Offer your team opportunities to develop their skills and interests by encouraging them to attend seminars or provide additional training, even if it’s for a new expertise.
Sense of purpose. When employees know the “why” behind the company’s mission, it makes them more engaged and dedicated to the bigger picture. People are intrinsically motivated when they see the positive effects of their actions and recognize they are part of something bigger than themselves. There are several ways to strengthen everyone’s sense of purpose. For example, you can pinpoint the individual strengths and encourage the team to use those strengths to help others. Another idea is to make volunteering a priority in order to foster a better relationship and understanding of the communities in which they live and serve.
Community. We are social beings and need the human interactions in order to form bonds with the people we spend the most time – our coworkers. We have a desire to belong and feel satisfied sharing goals with others. Create opportunities for meaningful socialization and collaboration, like inviting your team to a fun offsite activity or encouraging teams to take walking breaks throughout the day.
Ultimately, your goal should be to get your employees to want to stay rather than see your company as another stepping stone. So, while it can be fun to supply the office with endless snacks and other rewards which feed extrinsic motivation, incorporating intrinsic motivators can spark employees’ creativity and passion for the work they do while providing them the fulfillment of a job well-done.