[2-minute insight]

It’s too easy to assume that the main employee needs are for money and career development. This is only partly true.

This article from Forbes discusses the long-term benefits of meeting employee needs and motivation. Afterall, a motivated team is a productive team!

The article references popular ways to motivate people such as, higher salaries, learning and development and opportunities for growth and leadership. What’s fundamentally missing from this piece are two overlooked, yet important, human motivators:

The need for socialisation and its polar opposite…the need for autonomy.

The Employee Need for Socialisation

There’s no question that the pandemic has changed the way we work. Back then, remote working was fairly well received by people who prefer their own space because they were free from micromanagement and workplace interruptions. However, those who enjoy going into work every day struggled. This was due to the lack of human interaction and the social fulfilment they need from others. Some people will do a job they don’t enjoy just because they like the people around them.

Consistent remote working clamped down the energy that socially driven people thrive on. This lead, and is still leading to, demotivation and decreasing performance levels.

Video conferencing is deemed inefficient to nurture relationship bonds due to the way social people read body language and energy. A computer screen, like a phone, acts as a barrier to the human senses we use to communicate. Human relationships in the workplace tap into our psychological need for a social sense of ‘love and belonging’ (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs

The Employee Need for Autonomy

Contrarily, people motivated by autonomy relished the opportunity to get their workload done, their way. As a result, they became MORE productive than they were before the pandemic hit. People who enjoy working alone flourish because there’s less workplace ‘constraint‘. People who favour independence over socialisation were given the opportunity to think more creatively for themselves. This lead to new ideas and, for some, more lateral ways to approach tasks and solve problems. Autonomous people are now the ones struggling to adjust to the ‘back to the office’ command, many looking for a new role to fulfil their intrinsic need for freedom.

The key takeaway here is, that when it comes to human motivation and its subsequence, employee retention, one-size-does-not-fit-all. You need to challenge any assumptions surrounding the commonly known people motivators of money, security and learning and start encompassing the overlooked, yet equally important factors, of socialisation, connection and independence. Overall, this will create a more rounded and productive team for the long-term.

Want to know if your candidates and people are motivated by relationships or autonomy?

Using Motivational Maps as part of your hiring and team development processes will reveal all! You can also access your FREE sample of a Motivational Map using the form below.

Samantha Lynne
I help business owners & hiring managers streamline candidate interviews to make right-first-time hires for the long-term.