It’s NOT only About Money! (Part 2)

It’s a fact that most people work for money. It cannot be denied that salary and financial compensation are important factors when choosing a job, and when choosing to stay or to leave.


In Part 1 of “It’s NOT only About Money !” we discussed the difference between “Basic Factors” and “Motivational Factors” and concluded that for people to be motivated in their job, just having Basic Factors are not enough. There must be Motivational Factors. In Part 1, we described how to use Rewards to motivate our staff. We also described that just having rewards is not enough. The rewards must be presented in the correct way so that the employee who is rewarded feels honoured, appreciated and recognized.

In Part 2 of  “It’s NOT only About Money !” we shall discuss what makes people stay and want to do a good job and what will cause them to leave.

Employees stay, leave, become motivated, become de-motivated for a combination of many, many different reasons and different people have different reasons at different stages of their lives So how do you find out what motivates your employees and what makes them want to continue to stay to do their job happily ? The answer may seem obvious and silly. But the simplest and most accurate way is to ASK THEM DIRECTLY !

What Questions To Ask Your Employees ?

To help you to get started, here are some simple but useful questions to ask your employees :
§ Apa yang buat anda pertahan di sini ?
§ Apa yang mungkin memikat anda pergi ?
§ Apa yang paling menarik dari pekerjaan anda ?
§ Apakah kami sepenuhnya mendayagunakan bakat anda ?
§ Apa yang bias saya lakukan untuk membantu anda sebaik-baiknya ?

The above are just a sample of some questions that you may want to ask your employees. Obviously there are many more questions that you can ask them. It really depends on what you want to find out about them and about yourselves.

Here are some obvious benefits of asking these questions :
1.  Just by asking these questions, your employee will know that you care, you are concerned with their well-being, they are important members of your team, they have an important role to play in the success of your team and that you want to give them as best as you can.

2.  Your employees’ answers to these questions will give you very valuable insight about :
* What is really in their hearts and minds
* What is really important to them
* What really motivates them and what turns them off
* Whether or not you are making maximum use of their talent and potential
* How committed they are to the team
* Your management style
* Your people skills
* Your strengths and weaknesses as a manager

3.  They are such simple and straight-forward questions, but how many of us actually ask our employees these questions ? Why don’t we ask them ?
* No need to ask because we assume we know the answer ? Are we paranormals ? Can we read people’s minds ?
* No time to ask these questions ?

§ Can’t be bothered to ask because you really don’t care how they feel and think ? Yet you want them to perform their best ?

The Right Way To Ask The Questions

It is one thing to ask those questions. But it is another thing altogether to be able to get honest answers from our employees ! If we do not get honest answers from our employees, then the whole purpose of asking these questions is lost !

Different managers have different styles and different employees require different approaches. You choose which approach best suits you and your employees. Here are some ideas :

1.  The Interview

You may want to invite your employee into your office for an informal chat. But make sure that your timing is right. Here are some examples of poor timing :
§ When he is busy with his work
§ When has other important things to think about/do
§ When he is chasing a dateline
§ He has to settle a problem with an angry customer, etc

The important thing is that you want to ensure that your employee is relaxed and is in the mood to have a conversation with you.

2.  A “Chance” Conversation
Another way to ask these questions would be to invite your employee for lunch/diner/a drink , or just happen to meet him at the canteen. Then you can casually ask SOME of the above questions as part of an informal conversation. If your employee responds, then you may want to extend the conversation to include some of the other questions. If he seems uneasy, then you may change the subject and talk about less “sensitive” topics.

Here are some points to consider when you want to ask these questions :

§  The reality is that you may not want to ask so many questions at one go. Asking so many direct questions may sometimes “frighten” your employee.
§  You may have to re-phrase these questions so that they do not sound so direct
§ You may want to slip these questions subtly in between your conversation so that they do not realize you are asking these questions
§  If you and your employees are not used to talk at this “intimate” level, such questions may cause some easiness. They may be thinking :
* Why are you suddenly asking such questions ?
* Have they done something wrong ?
* Are you planning to transfer them away ?
* Are you asking these questions to decide the size of their bonus ?
* Are you asking them these questions to decide whether they are qualified for the next promotion ?
* Are you trying to dig some information from them about their other colleagues ?

So be aware of the sensitivities of your employees. Before you can expect them to open up, you have to directly or indirectly answer these questions in their head.

Whatever the considerations, if you want to know how to motivate your employee, what keeps him motivated, the reasons why he is staying on the job, what factors will cause him to leave, etc, one way or another you will have to ask him these questions.

You do not need to ask them these weekly – once every quarter is more than enough. Knowing what makes your employee tick will have a significant impact on your effectiveness as a manager and to enhance the overall performance of your team.  Good luck !

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