It turns out that the formula for making your clients happy is pretty simple: First, make your employees happy. As the video below from Harvard Business Review reports, there is a correlation between customer satisfaction, on the one hand, and engaged and motivated employees, on the other hand. Businesses with strong company cultures and positively motivated employees tend to have the highest customer satisfaction ratings.
So how do you make employees happy? Use positive rather than negative means to improve their motivation. It turns out that the traditional quantitative factors such as compensation and performance reviews don’t help improve employee motivation as much as we thought. Factors that have a much greater positive impact on employee motivation are well-designed roles, the mission and impact of the organization, clear career ladders, and a sense of community.
Why people work is actually central to how motivated they are. In “How Company Culture Shapes Motivation,” Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi report that there are six main reasons why people work: “play, purpose, potential, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia.” Of these, the first three have a positive effect that tends to improve performance, and the last three have a negative effect that tends to diminish performance.
- Play — you work because you enjoy it
- Purpose — you work because you value the impact of your work
- Potential — you work because it increases your potential
- Emotional pressure — you work because some external force threatens your identity (e.g., guilt, shame, fear, etc.)
- Economic pressure — you work to gain a reward or avoid a punishment
- Inertia — you work because that is what you always do, even if you do not know why
Company cultures that emphasize play, purpose and potential yield better employee motivation and performance. Company cultures that use emotional pressure, economic pressure or inertia to spur employees on do not create happy, engaged, and positively motivated employees.
The takeaway from this research is that it is worth investing in an inspirational company culture. But, as you are pursuing that grand goal, be sure that you pay attention to the practical things that make your employees glad to get out of bed and come to work.
[Photo Credit: RSunset]