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Motivation and Your Career

A spot-on career choice can be judged to be so because it results in certain outcomes. Among these is that a happy worker feels stimulated and continually interested in what they’re doing, enjoys the compensation and recognition they receive, is contented with a well calibrated work/life balance, and that they thrive on being productive. Satisfied workers don’t have to be told to get busy. They are internally motivated to do so. It’s no secret that employers want motivated employees. Companies get high productivity without the intrusive burden of having to implement excessive oversight and punitive incentives. Having inspired employees can make it easier for management to retain talent and maximize performance. With these potential advantages and benefits it would be expected that recruiting and keeping these intrinsically motivated workers would be a high priority for company management. So, why does it seem that front offices miss the mark so often as evidenced by too many workers being largely unhappy with their jobs and who are just going through the motions to get a paycheck? The conventional attitude has been and continues to be among the general workforce that work stinks and is done only because it needs to be and not because people love their jobs. It’s in the interests of employers and employees alike to reverse this state of affairs. To do so, it may be worth examining characteristics of the motivated employee at the workplace.  To be fair, it’s not simply a matter of employers alone creating a magical set of conditions which result in a motivated and positive workforce. Motivation and its close cousin engagement are the co-responsibility of employer and employee and should be delivered in equal parts from both. Regarding the individual worker, successful ones bring to the workforce an innate and compelling belief to be independently conscientious, dependable, and efficient. They want to do fascinating and highly interesting things and are energized by a sense of accomplishment. Driven by values and vision the motivated working person strives to produce quality products and services that are desired by managers and customers alike — both to satisfy stakeholders and themselves. Fulfillment with career choice and direction comes largely from within and not principally from what others can consequentially provide for them. These are the kinds of employees or contracted independents who add value beyond implementation of an organization’s stated business. They are keepers for sure.  The obvious objective for companies is to figure out how to populate their workforce with as many motivated and engaged employees as possible. It should begin with management recognizing that motivation is at the core of performance and that they share in the responsibility of fostering it among their employees. In practice, this means partly  devising the right mix of meaningful rewards or extrinsic motivators. Competitive monetary compensation, attractive so-called fringe benefits, generous vacation time, family care and leave flexibility, job security to the extent that’s possible these days, and internal and public recognition all significantly contribute to workforce motivation. But employer facilitation doesn’t end there anymore. There is an intangible consideration that more workers are expecting from their employer and it involves sharing an emotional and purposeful connection that what is collectively being done at work matters. It’s easier for everyone to feel as if they are being treated right when there exists a shared belief that the organizational mission and vision holds great value for others, the community, the planet. For employers to actively express appreciation in as many ways possible to their workers for participating in a common ambition will enhance employee involvement. Reducing or eliminating any discrepant gaps between an employer’s business and their individual employee’s career goals and intrinsic motivators will necessarily result in a high engagement and more productive work environment.  When employers can begin moving away from thinking that the traditional carrot and stick, if-then, extrinsic only approach to incentivizing is their only responsibility in creating motivated workforces and instead accept and embrace the internal drive, values, and career intent of their workers, then companies and organizations will yield more gain from colleagues who are only too glad to contribute.