Better Hiring, Team Building and Employee Retention

Are you doing HR Consulting?
Make MRA a profit center with our
Value Partner Program

From The MRA Newsletter
Motivating Termites

By John Loven, MRA
"Part of a manager's job is to motivate everyone, at all times, and using every possible technique or approach available...Because of all the different and varying elements in motivation, this is not a simple or easy task. The main reason for this difficulty is that all people are different, hence what might motivate one person does not necessarily work for another person."

- Pam Phelps, UEC

The idea of using a stick and a carrot as motivators is an ancient one. It dates back to the days of donkey carts when the stubborn beast might go for the carrot or away from the prod. It was a regular gag in the earliest animated cartoon technique all the time".

But let's ask a question: What if you need to motivate termites? Then you've got it all backwards! The hungry little bugs will swarm toward the stick for a wooden munch. I don't know how termites feel about carrots, but the stick would be the main attraction. Sure, it's a silly example, but the problem is a serious one. What motivates people? Do you know what constitutes a genuinely desired reward for another person? "Money" someone says, but this is a practical article about the real world. Hardly anybody has money to throw at every employee. So you've got to find out what a carrot looks like to every Tom, Dick and Harriet if you want to gain the maximum motivation. Beyond the unaffordable raise, the next most popular carrot is personal recognition: the gold watch, the speech, the certificate.

It is a costly mistake to get lost in the false theory that more money equals happy employees.

- Dave Worman, "Dr. Motivation"

Let's look at two of the four behavioral traits which MRA profiling measures and see what "valued recognition" might look like to different people.
Group Identity
High Sociability
Some individuals like to take the social initiative with strangers. They like to talk with others and experience personal success through the success of the group. They have many acquaintances and bond quickly with others. When a challenge arises they want to circle the wagons, get the group together, and work out a solution.
Low Sociability
Other people form close relationships with others one at a time, and generally work best with others in one-on-one situations. They are not comfortable taking the initiative with strangers and, when a challenge arises, they would prefer to go off alone, close the door, and think it through.
MRA profiling objectively measures this trait: the individual's relationship to groups and individuals. Part of an MRA profile is a rating for "Sociability". Persons with a high Sociability fall into the first category and those with a low Sociability rating are found in the second group.
Competitive Drive
High Ascendancy
When a challenge arises some people rush out to meet it. They like to have - and use - authority. They want to be the first to the finish line and they will take risks to win the race.
Low Ascendancy
Others generally look for non-confrontational solutions, manage risk thoughtfully, and would prefer to have someone else set the goals.
This trait, Ascendancy, is measured in an MRA Profile. The first group, the competition-driven people, rank high in Ascendancy and the second group ranks low.

What does all this mean to a manager?

Suppose you want to reward Jane for making the new sales initiative a success. Do you do it in front of the whole department or in your office? Do you laud Jane's participation in the departmental success or do you focus on Jane's individual skills and contribution? Do you praise her at the staff meeting or do you ask individuals to stop by her cube and thank her individually? If you've got $300 in the budget for perks, do you spend it to take Jane's department out for lunch in her honor, or do you give Jane a $300 gift certificate?

The question really is, "What does Jane want?" On just the two scales discussed above, Ascendancy (A) and Sociability(S), Jane may fall into one of four brackets;

High A, High S

Jane is goal driven, a leader, and wants the team to win. Presenting the gift certificate in front of the office crowd would be a winner. Jane also wants more challenges and a chance to innovate and lead the way for everyone. If possible, give her those opportunities.

High A, Low S

Jane is goal driven, and wants individual achievement though personal skill. The gift certificate presented by the highest ranking manager available signals that individual worth. Challenge her to do more and better and give her as much individual control over circumstances as you can.

Low A, High S

Jane is team driven. Taking the department out to lunch to honor her lets her experience her value in the group and share her reward with the team. Personal expressions of appreciation should be maximized. Give Jane more opportunity to influence others and put her "on stage" whenever you can.

Low A, Low S

Jane is methodical, accurate and likes to specialize in a defined discipline. Combine individual recognition and group recognition. Urging individuals to express their thanks as well as kind words in front of the department will motivate her. The gift certificate signals that her loyalty and dependability has paid off. Provide her with job situations where her drive to cover all the bases systematically can succeed.

Nuance is Nice

These are all nuanced deliveries of appreciation using the same resources. But to Jane, the value of the recognition is very much magnified if the reward is modeled after her particular vision of a motivational carrot. MRA Profiling gives managers the insight to be better motivators.

When all four behavioral Traits measured by MRA Profiling are combined, an even better picture of how to motivate each employee appears. The Management Report on an individual profile explicitly lists the factors that drive, stimulate and motivate each person based on highly individual analysis. The reports are written in plain business terms, without psychobabble or HR jargon. They are designed strictly as decision support recommendations to managers or team leaders.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email.

Mra Enterprises, Inc. © 2013  Hosting by Arvixe |  Privacy Policy