I had a chance to support someone this week who wrote an article called What’s the Best Way to Keep Employees Motivated? It’s a decent article, filled with advice from all kinds of industries and businesses.  I’m quoted there.

It’s a common problem.  And the more the economy improves, the more employees will be looking to switch jobs and advance their careers.

What struck me about this article was that most ideas were around treating employees as actual, living, breathing humans.  Every person is an individual and every team has its unique character.

I find this encouraging, because from my previous life in Corporate America, it was all about trying to develop a solution which would work for thousands of people.  That removes the opportunity for individuals to get excited, motivated, and develop loyalty.

That may be one reason why I never wanted to work my way very far up the executive ranks.  I love working with individuals and small teams, and when you’re heading up an organization of a thousand people, your perspective has to shift.  Your employees become more and more generic workers, with whom you have no particular deep relationship.  It’s no wonder that employees don’t exercise much loyalty in large companies.

For a small business, this is much more fixable.  But I’m shocked at how many business owners don’t spend much attention on it.  They wring their hands over how they’re not able to pay more than the competitors, but then don’t work on the other things which are more important than pay.

A 2005 study by Career Systems International, of 7500 employees, showed that the most important factors are:


You’ll notice that pay, while on the list, isn’t at the top.  More important are the challenge of the work itself, opportunities to grow, and relationships with peers.

And this makes sense.  Think of volunteer groups that you might be involved with.  In that case, you have no pay at all, and are even contributing money and time to be part of the group.  Why do you do that?  Because of these kinds of other factors.  You enjoy what you’re doing.  You’re learning stuff.  You love the people you get to hang out with.

I gave a webinar this week on exactly this topic, so feel free to go check it out.  It’s the one dated 18 August 2014.

Are you worried about employee turnover?  Check out these resources!