“SHOW ME THE MONEY!“
Cuba Gooding Jr. says that line many times in the movie Jerry McGuire. As a professional football player, Gooding’s character knows what other players earn and he wants to be similarly paid for his contribution to his team. As you watch the movie it becomes evident that the line, “Show me the money,” wasn’t really just about the money; it was about recognition and respect for the character’s abilities.
In a recent survey by Gallup, people were asked if they would continue to work if they won a $10 million dollar lottery. You may be surprised to find that even among those actively disengaged, only 40% would stop working, and 20% would stay in their current job. At the other end if the spectrum in terms of job satisfaction is those who are engaged. For this group only 25% would stop working and 63% would stay in their current job.
These hypothetical lottery winners now have at least a comfortable $5 Million after taxes, yet the majority of them will still keep working. Why? Because job satisfaction is not just about being shown the money. Certainly employees want and deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. However like Maslow’s hierarchy, once the need for food, shelter, personal and financial security are met, people seek relationships, respect, and opportunities to do their best.
The great Zig Ziglar put it like this, “Employees have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.”
For work to be interesting it must provide an opportunity for employees to use their strengths, grow personally and make a difference. Without these three opportunities work is a drudgery, boring and meaningless. Here’s why:
Using strengths. According to Marcus Buckingham, former Global Practice Leader with Gallup, and coauthor of Gallup’s best-selling management books First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths, “A strength is an activity that before you’re doing it you look forward to doing it; while you’re doing it, time goes by quickly and you can concentrate; after you’ve done it, it seems to fulfill a need of yours.” Working in your area of strength is fun because you are good at it. No one wants to be in a job where you struggle all day.
Growing personally. People are genuinely pleased when the company they work for is successful; this brings job security and pride in their association with the company. Sustained good feelings though, come from also having personal success which only comes through personal growth. Leadership expert John Maxwell said, “Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.”
Making a difference. True fulfillment comes from helping others achieve success. One of my favorite phrases is, “We don’t use people to complete projects; we use projects to complete people.” Successful projects really aren’t that hard to accomplish. Focusing on developing successful people isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth the effort. As Tom Brokaw said, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”
Recognition for doing a good job
Everyone wants and needs to hear “Good Job.” It is one of the easiest rewards to give, and one of the best to receive. It’s good to hear in private, and great to hear in public. Sometimes we put too much emphasis on “Producing a Moment,” instead of just telling your employees that you appreciate what they did. Certainly there are recognition ceremonies for special events and those are worthwhile, but don’t forget the quick email, phone call, or comment in a meeting as well. As a leader you should also realize that this is not only good for the employee but great for the team and the company.
Tom Rath, Bestselling Author & Senior Scientist at Gallup has studied the effect of recognition in depth. His findings show that, “Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They’re just more engaged at work.”
Being let in on things going on in the company
This one has nothing to do with gossip. It’s not water cooler talk. Employees feel empowered and will do a better job if they are involved in decision making that impacts their job. Involve them from the beginning to the end. Ask for their opinion when writing your mission statement, ask them what the most important projects are, and ask them what they think is the best way to accomplish the important projects. Not only will you motivate your employees, you will get better ideas and better results in your company.
“Effective Communication creates Engaged Employees who create Loyal Customers who in turn create Bigger Profits.” – Andy Parsley