Passion, not compensation, is the top driver of employee performance, CEOs say.
“Money is important, no doubt about it,” said Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison in a recent speech. “I’m not going to kid anybody. It’s in the top five for sure, but it’s no No. 1. It’s not No. 1. What’s No. 1 is making people feel loved.”
There’s a huge correlation between excitement about a job and performance, he added. That’s why leaders must create excitement around why someone wakes up every day to sludge through rush-hour traffic or crazy work schedules to build a winning team. “That’s how you get people to wake up before 4:30, before the alarm clock goes off,” Burnison said. “That’s what turns people on.”
“People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. That’s what we’ve found in all of our research,” Burnison said
At the Globe and Mail’s 3rd Annual Small Business Summit in Toronto earlier this month, entrepreneurs shared specific approaches to motivating employees. For instance, restaurateur Grant Van Gameren said in a Globe and Mail article about the event that making employees feel they are part of the business’ success is crucial.
“You can throw around a salary, but that keeps them around only so long,” Van Gameren said.
Hiring the right people for the job at the get-go is another strategy. One way Isvar Prashad of the Carter Benette Group janitorial and maintenance company vets job applicants is by getting them to open up about their personal lives. One interviewee talked about being up late drinking the night before—a bad sign as the job requires an early start, according to the article.
A third strategy is to communicate well, so employees know what’s expected of them, which relates to another: listening to employees. “Don’t jump to conclusions about an employee’s behavior," Melissa Nightingale, founding partner of Raw Signal, a management consulting firm, said in the article. “If someone is coming into work and showing up and is grouchy, it could be because they’re trying to tell you something and you’re not listening.”
Also important is providing challenging work, according to a Business News Daily article. “The key point is for leaders to set goals that are within reach, and to recognize the victory before rushing into the next challenge,” said Don Rheem, CEO of E3 Solutions, an executive coaching firm.
Lastly, give employees authority, Rheem said. Empowering workers to take reasonable risks can breed confidence and loyalty. “One of the key ways leaders know when they have an engaged employee on their team is when the employee looks beyond their job description to invest themselves in bettering the company in innovative ways,” he said.