What motivates your employees?

How do you make anyone feel engaged enough to go the extra mile? Or perhaps more importantly; how do you get an employee to go the extra mile? The emotional commitment required is easy to get if you own a company, or have ownership of a project, but it’s a much tougher thing to impart to salaried employees.

Well, research conducted by TINYpulse in 2014 produced some interesting insights in to how to do exactly thins. You can find more detail from them, here. They surveyed over 200,000 employees from more than 500 organisations.

“What motivates you to excel and go the extra mile at your organization?”

When employees are surveyed, chosen from a 10 point scale, the results suggest that there needs to be well rounded culture of support and growth. Here are the ranked results:

  1. Camaraderie, peer motivation (20%)
  2. Intrinsic desire to a good job (17%)
  3. Feeling encouraged and recognized (13%)
  4. Having a real impact (10%)
  5. Growing professionally (8%)
  6. Meeting client/customer needs (8%)
  7. Money and benefits (7%)
  8. Positive supervisor/senior management (4%)
  9. Believe in the company/product (4%)
  10. Other (9%)

I’d suggest that three subcategories jump out from this:


From this list, questions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 are all culturally infused factors. These account for 67% of the total. If we break this down we can split these between “support within the your team” and “unified purpose”. This isn’t really a surprising thing to emerge as we all know people want to feel included and supported while feeling pride in doing something worth while with their time. If you can ensure that your team feel both of these then you’ve covered 2/3 of the problems already.

Personalities in the team

Questions 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9 are all describing the motivations and, environment needed to support, the mentality of a conscientiousness person. The most productive members of any team are likely to be highly conscientiousness, though this trait is present in any person disciplined enough to maintain good quality work. Productive members of the team will need to have mentality supported and feel their efforts are being given appropriate recognition. This is related to the larger culture but this also needs be considered in the hiring process. People without that drive to do a good job or drive help customers are going to build up resentment within the team and will likely perform less well than more driven competitors.

Personal incentives

Despite the first assumption of many being that high pay would increase drive, this actually only came in at number 7. In fact, the feeling of purpose and wanting to do something well seem far more important incentives. We’ll write more about this in another article but, in our opinion, the reason for this is because a normal pay increase has a disproportionately small effect on quality of life.


They Conclude with the following recommendations:

  • Showing employee appreciation and recognition
  • Fostering a positive work culture
  • Mapping professional growth plans
  • Recruiting collegial, hard-working colleagues
  • Hiring managers that are truly leaders
  • Empowering employees with tools to succeed
  • Enabling peer recognition

In my view, the most important insight in the report is this: “…organizations must start intentionally finding high performing and high culture fit employees. Further, organizations must be ruthless when it comes to rejecting individuals who aren’t a great fit. Even if they come across as a high performer, they can wreak havoc on the positive, collaborative culture you need to create.” . This is backed up be recently research which found that negative moods are contagious within social networks (to read more go to https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-01-20-teenagers-catch-moods-and-negative-moods-are-more-contagious). This is central to the way Paranimo views wellness within a corporate culture; your company is a network, a “cultural network”, and negative emotions will spread like a virus through that network and shape the nature of interactions within the network.

More resources

Signs someone might be about to leave

This isn’t so much focused on the wellbeing side. This is about the natural progression through a role in the broader career context. People will eventually want new challenges and opportunities and there is real value in the accumulate experience staff collect over time. It could be a good idea to keep an eye out

What issues to address between co-workers

By this we mean what problems can arise between peers that can have a toxic effect on the culture. It’s not just the management that set the cultural tone, the interaction between staff will shape the perception of the company environment. These are things the “easy wins” that you, as a manager, can try to

Red flags for staff and warning signs for managers

These are things I’ve heard consistently recommended to listen out for in employers and, as such, are things to avoid as managers and leaders. If you get the impression staff are viewed as replaceableIt’s fallacious reasoning on the part of the employer most of time. Either someone did a poor job selecting the new hire