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How to Motivate Minds

October 13, 2023

This last summer, we covered the scarcity of talent in back-to-back e-blasts. Talent continues to be a big issue out there. UHY recently hosted a summit for finance leaders at which an insightful speaker, Suzie Price, explored the question of what motivates us in the workplace. She asserted that understanding motivators can help us attract and retain talent for our teams.

Survey says…!

First, some context. Every year, Gallup Inc. issues a “State of the Global Workplace” report which surveys employee engagement (defined, in part, as “involvement and enthusiasm”). While employees globally report rising engagement (from 21% in 2021 to 23% in 2022), employees in the U.S. report declining engagement (from 36% in 2020, and 34% in 2021, to 32% in 2022). This drop-off is notable, given a steady rise in U.S. engagement over the prior decade. What might we learn from this trend?

Suzie Price, founder of Priceless Professional Development, suggests that one answer may lie with motivation. Maybe leaders are misreading what drives employees to invest in their workplaces. Price outlines six types of motivation: theoretical (driven by facts and research), utilitarian (prizing efficiency and results), individualistic (seeking power and influence), aesthetic (pleased with balance and expression), social (striving to be of service), and traditional (aligned with rules and codes). Price’s assessment tool suggests that we have tendencies toward one or two motivators that energize us in the workplace. Conversely, at least one category would de-motivate or exhaust us.

Imagine a world where leaders were clear-eyed about team member motivators, where HR could hire with motivators in mind, where managers could up-skill employees with a better understanding of motivators, and where trainers could harness motivators with learning modules. Imagine a place where our “energizers” outnumbered our “exhausters,” and incentivizing was better aligned with what drives us towards engagement and results.

That’s an organization to which we’d want to belong.

“Workplace motivators, in a practical way, provide a common language for understanding and discussing differences. They help us understand and benefit from the value of different opinions, and the value of every relationship.”
– Suzie Price, Founder, Priceless Professional Development

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