While more money is usually better, more money doesn’t lead to better performance and results. More money is a motivator, but it’s not the motivator.
As employees, we often want three things from our employers:
- The freedom to create VALUE
- The feeling of being VALUED
- The fulfillment of doing work that aligns with our VALUES.
Employers never promise these things explicitly, but we can look for them in our current organizations or in new organizations when we make career choices--and as entrepreneurs, we can seek to create them for our own employees:
- The freedom to create VALUE: We want to use our passions to solve meaningful problems that have a positive impact on the company. Paper pushing, meetings, and spreadsheets don’t do it. While those things are necessary for business communication, we want to deliver real results, not documents. We want the autonomy to choose how we spend our time to solve the problems our job was created to solve. Micro-managers, irrelevant policies and protocols, and old thinking don’t allow us to be and make our highest contribution. We know what this company needs to succeed, but the lines of communication are one way so we can’t share our wisdom from being in the trenches day-to-day.
- The feeling of being VALUED: Recognize us. Money is nice, but it’s not enough. Money isn’t the only currency we value. we need words of affirmation, trust, responsibility, support, learning opportunities, mentorship, sponsorship, new challenges, choice, and community. Let us know that you care. Let us know that we are not easily replaceable like machine parts. Let us know that you feel lucky to have us and that it’s not just that we’re lucky to have you. The feeling is mutual. Know who we are—interview us throughout our careers, not just at the beginning. Allow us to shape the future of the company and our careers rather than force us to fit into a static shape. We give more time and energy to you than we give to our families. Treat us like family.
- The fulfillment of doing work that aligns with our VALUES: Allow us to exercise our values at work and we will access the greatest energy of all, our spiritual energy. Help us understand who and what we’re fighting for and why it’s important to the world. Give us something to believe in. Why is our company here? What’s the company’s vision for the world? How does our company change the world to realize that vision? What would happen if our company didn’t exist? Would the world notice? What has happened in the lives of real people because we exist? What’s possible because of us that’s impossible without us here?
Let us tell you why we choose to be here Monday through Friday, so that you know what intrinsically motivates us. Help us find our life work right here, rather than settle for work-life balance.
Jullien “PurposeFinder” Gordon is a high performance coach and consultant for corporations and non-profits. His work as a Founding Partner at New Higher helps increase employee performance, motivation, engagement, and retention. He was trained at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the author of 4 books on personal and professional development.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.