Meeting Key Motivators Beats Job Burnout
by Mel Kleiman, CSP

Want to know a foolproof formula for keeping your best employees on board? It's simple. Find and meet your employees' key motivators. Employers who meet their employees' key motivators boost profits and keep their best people on board for less money. You can no longer just hand people a paycheck and expect them to be grateful.

When some of the nation's largest employers spent millions on exhaustive research into the link between people, profits, and motivation, here's what they found:

* Sears discovered every 5% rise in motivation pushed profits half a point higher - that adds up to tens of millions for the retail giant.
* At Nortel, customer satisfaction rose in lock step with employee motivation.
* MCI knew seasoned workers were 40% more productive than rookie hires. When they focused on increasing motivation - and thus retention - they saved a fortune.

The good news is that filling most employee "needs" is not a costly proposition. It will take some of your time, to be sure, but there's no better place to invest it. The most common career motivators are recognition, challenging work and financial rewards.

Never assume that the things that get you out of bed in the morning also motivate your employees. The only way to find out what other people want is to ask them, so talk regularly with your employees about their jobs. Ask them what they like most and least about their work and look for ways to improve the parts they find difficult. Encourage employees to let you know what's on their minds. Make time for it. You don't have to approve, endorse, or even react-just listen and learn.

People motivated by recognition don't go elsewhere for "more money" when they feel appreciated right where they are. Fulfill their key motivator by announcing their latest accomplishments at the next office meeting or in your company newsletter. Don't restrict your kudos to business goals-community involvement, educational accomplishments and even winning a sporting event are good occasions for public congratulations and praise.

Give employees motivated by growth or challenging work want new mountains to climb. Make it a point to ask them regularly what they'd like to do next and let them do it whenever possible. Set them on promising career paths and give them plenty of opportunities to prove themselves.

Your company needs to be wage competitive for everyone, but those motivated by reward need more than just a paycheck-they need additional financial incentives as well. Offer them monetary bonuses (or perks with monetary value) for achieving specific goals.

Whether you're responsible for one convenience store with a staff of five or a regional chain with 500 - the people you hire and retain are the key to increasing profitability. Identify the behaviors you want to encourage and reward them appropriately and you'll retain your good employees. Reward every valuable member of your team at least once every three months. An afternoon off with pay, lunch, or a gift certificate accompanied by a thank you note will net you the kind of loyalty that builds great organizations.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally recognized consultant, author, and speaker on strategies for hiring and retaining the best hourly employees. He is the President of Humetrics, a leading developer of systems, training, processes, and tools for recruiting, selecting, and retaining the best hourly workforce. Mel is also the author of four books, including the best selling "Hire Tough Manage Easy." You can reach Mel at (800) 218-0930 or (713)