Can’t crack your apathetic coworker? Money might not motivate him, finds a new workplace survey from PsychTests.com.
Per the survey, only 18 percent of employees feel their bosses are “on the right track” when it comes to inspiring them, and a full 25 percent responded “not at all” when asked if their managers or colleagues understood what drives them.
While everyone appreciates a fatter paycheck, the motivating effects of a bonus or raise are short-lived, says Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D., the president of PsychTests.com. In fact, thinking about money is more likely to de-motivate people, because most workers don’t believe they’re being paid what they deserve, she says.
So if dollars don’t work, then what’s the secret to supercharging your colleagues? Using the survey data, Jerabek and her team isolated the five most common employee types, and determined the incentives that are most likely to optimize each type’s productivity. Here’s how to motivate any kind of coworker:
1. The Trailblazer
He tends to focus on others, like your customers or whoever benefits from the work you do. If he’s going to pump his blood, sweat, and tears into a job, he wants to improve people’s lives—or at least leave behind a legacy that will inspire his colleagues or clients.
Motivate him: Emphasize your company’s values and ethics. Explain exactly how his work makes a difference, and how his role contributes to the larger company goals. He’ll thrive in team-oriented environments.
2. The Workhorse
You ask for 100-percent effort, and he gives you 150. He’s dependable, consistent, and loyal, but he has a tendency to turtle when you throw him curveballs. Why? Because he craves security at work and in life. He wants to believe that if he does what he’s told, he’s got nothing to worry about.
Motivate him: Provide him with a stable work environment—no last-second project changes or role shifts. Focus on retirement plans and realistic career paths, and lay out for him exactly what he needs to do to keep you and the company happy.
3. The Heavyweight
He wants to be challenged. He’s constantly asking to take on new responsibilities or clients, and he doesn’t give a thought to work-life balance. He’s all about pushing himself and proving his ability.
Motivate him: Give him what he wants. Throw down individual goals or targets—a sales quota, a deadline, or a pesky negotiation—and offer him sole control and accountability. The more daunting the task, the more he’s likely to respond.
4. The Generation Y-er
He’s confident, social, and probably in his 20s. He’s more likely to be tech-y, is interested in new methods of doing business, and appreciates unconventional work environments. He’s a quick learner, but he becomes bored just as quickly.
Motivate him: Put him on a team and give him projects that require outside-the-box thinking. Above all, make him feel like he’s part of something pioneering, ahead of the curve, and one of a kind. And make sure he has ample free time to live life outside of the office, because he needs that to be content.
5. The Explorer
In many ways the opposite of a workhorse, he craves variety and new experiences. The idea of doing the same thing until retirement repels him, and he relishes the opportunity to show off his creativity and to try new roles.
Motivate him: Give him variety. Change up his responsibilities and tasks every few months, or at least offer him a handful of different objectives to work on. Focus on how each aspect of his job is unique and challenging, and emphasize the different skills he’ll develop.