The carrot before the horse in traditional management thought is money. If the salary is right, the employees will be happy, productive and loyal to the management and business. What if money is not the only carrot and may, in fact, be a less productive carrot?
In earlier posts, I wrote about how employees entering the workforce require incentives beyond salary to maintain interest in their work and allegiance to their employer. According to studies, today’s employees are more likely to place personal growth above financial growth. McKinsey Quarterly’s survey of 1,047 executives, managers and employees across a range of sectors found that financial incentives such as bonuses, raises and stocks were high motivators for only 35%-60% of employees, depending on the type of incentive. Personal non-financial incentives such as commendations from managers, attention from leaders and opportunities for project leadership produced an effectiveness rate between 62%-67%. While non-financial incentives may be off the radar for many US managers, forty-five percent of the respondents in developing markets cited employee motivation as a key reason for modifying incentives, compared with only 19 percent in the United States and Western Europe.
Creating avenues for personal growth, though, is not a well-developed habit for most managers. Traditional business wisdom is that motivation is intangible compensation. For example, in the McKinsey Survey, only half of the corporations used opportunities for leading projects as an incentive, even though 62% of respondents clearly viewed leading projects as very effective motivation compared to the 52% that saw increase in base pay as the most effective motivation. Additionally, 63% of respondents said attention from leaders is very effective and 67% said that commendation from management is highly effective.
As we see, most managers are trying to survive in the old school of management, commonly referred to as “command and control,” the system that large corporations have used for years. Some add on top of it “divide and conquer” and encourage internal competition. What could be worse than that? No wonder the term “corporate games” has gained such popularity.
John D. Rockefeller once said, “The success of each is dependent upon the success of the other” – the simple concept most managers have hard time internalizing. I believe the primary reason for this is a vast gap in our education. Every leader must go through what I call Integral Education and become aware of what is it being an integral part of a system, a valuable part of one coherent body. This awareness creates genuine leaders out of “managers” and aligns them with today’s integrated reality. Once the alignment is established the workforce becomes a place of care and responsibility with unlimited opportunities for personal growth where the success of one is the success of all.
The carrot that motivates the horse the most? – A harmonious and caring workplace with unlimited opportunities for personal growth inspired by a humble leader.