I have been reading a great book by Chip Conley called Peak. Chip is one of the key players in a group of San Francisco based boutique hotels operating under the name Joie de Vivre Hospitality. The company’s name comes from a French term meaning a delight in being alive. Conley has tapped into the intrinsic human need to self- actualize as outlined by Abraham Maslow in his famous hierarchy of needs. Each hotel in the group has a unique personality that allows patrons to experience something beyond the basics of sleep and comfort. That extra something is consistently delivered by employees that are motivated on three distinct levels.

Do you want to have highly motivated employees? Then make sure you cover all three of these bases. The most basic of these is wages and benefits. If people are not making what they perceive to be a reasonable wage compared to others working in similarly situated positions, they will become unmotivated. The same is true for general working conditions. Wages, benefits, and working conditions can prove to be dissatisfiers if they don't reach certain minimums but they rarely produce high levels of worker satisfaction when they are above that threshold. As a manager in your organization, you need to make sure that you are paying competitive wages. Paying above competitive wages can actually be detrimental to your organization. People who need to go hang on way past their time because they don't want to give up the great wages and benefits.

The next level of motivation comes from a sense of belonging and teamwork. When people's basic needs are met they look to the next level in the hierarchy to receive satisfaction. Being part of a winning team is motivating. We all want to belong and if you belong in the workplace your chances of being productive and staying motivated grow exponentially. A popular phrase from Marcus Buckingham is “employees don't leave companies, they leave managers.” What are you doing to help employees have a sense of belonging? Are they part of the team? Have you institutionalized the recognition process? One of my clients created a “fun team” that was commissioned with the responsibility of regularly coming up with fun and enjoyable out-of-the-box activities on the company's dime. When this company had to recently lay off a couple employees due to the extreme economic downturn in their industry, the parting employees asked if they could come back and work for free to wrap up some of the loose ends. That is a sense of belonging!

The next level of motivation, and it's really only possible if the first two are in place, revolves around purpose and meaning. As humans we are wired for purpose and meaning. If your organization or company has a clear and compelling mission or purpose, the highest levels of motivation are possible. We are all looking for something that transcends the ordinary drudgery of everyday life. People want to be part of something that's bigger than themselves. Does your company offer that? At its core every company or organization exists for a reason or a purpose. As a leader one of your primary responsibilities is to tap into that cause or purpose and articulate it both internally inside the organization and externally to the world around you. When the self-actualization and the organization’s mission become natural compliments to each other, people grow and so does the company. Think back about those times when you felt most alive and I think you will find that it was because you were connected with something that was bigger than yourself. While this third level of motivation is the most compelling, it is not realistically possible without providing the first two.

Author's Bio: 

From teaching people how to clean toilets to running a cleaning supply company generating millions of dollars in sales, Randy has always been focused on training and developing people. After graduating with a degree in psychology, he spent the next several years managing high-turnover, labor intensive industries – food service and contract cleaning. Working with thousands of employees and clients, he quickly honed his training skills and ability to maximize human potential.

People are the difference. In 1986, Randy started Springfield Janitor Supply in Springfield, Missouri. He took the company from an upstart business operating out of a garage to a regional company generating millions of dollars in sales and employing fourteen full-time employees. For the most part, the cleaning supply business is a commodity business driven by price. Randy was able to set his company apart and generate exceptional margins by providing effective, world-class training programs for his clients and employees.

Randy works full time as an Executive Coach, consultant, and trainer. He is also is an adjunct professor for William Woods University’s MBA program teaching classes in entrepreneurship, management, and marketing.

His latest project is called Leadership Book of the Month, which was recently profiled in the Springfield Business Journal. Leadership Book of the Month is a quick and easy way for business owners and busy professionals to keep up with the latest trends and developments in business and leadership without having to spend hours and hours reading. Learn more about the project at www.LeadershipBookOfTheMonth.com

Randy Mayes