Every organization dreams about its employees feeling good about themselves, being able to work together smoothly and to achieve good results.
Not a realistic ambition you think? But it is!
To contribute to the well-being, collaboration and results of employees, we need to look at the driving force behind each of them: motivation.
Employees with the right motivation function better mentally and perform better. For example, employees who put in the effort into their tasks out of personal meaningfulness or out of interest and curiosity, rather than because they must do so, feel better about themselves and are more committed, but they also show more perseverance, work more efficiently and are more productive. This high-quality motivation (or want-ivation) also enables them to take more spontaneous initiative and responsibility and to work together more constructively.
We recognize the engine of this high-quality motivation in three universal basic psychological needs, namely the need for Autonomy, Belongingness and Competence (ABC). When employees feel that they can be themselves at work, that they can build good relationships with others, and that they can continue to develop, then they are fully empowered. Frustration of these basic needs, on the other hand, fosters feelings of discouragement and makes employees more susceptible to stress, symptoms of burn-out and physical strain.
This is the core of a motivating organization!
By focusing on a company culture that puts the ABC needs of employees first, your organization can make a daily difference to their motivation and growth. This can be evident in the values you prioritize, the processes and procedures you use, the way you communicate and the approach to implementing change. Leadership also plays a crucial role in nurturing the needs of employees.
Motivating managers adopt a curious and open attitude, which allows them to better empathize with employees' point of view. By paying attention to employees' learning process, they can provide direction and offer appropriate help and guidance.
Instead of asking ‘how can I motivate people’, we should be asking ‘how can I create the conditions in which people will motivate themselves?’
- Edward Deci, 1995
Although the ABC needs are universal and every employee benefits from their fulfillment, tailoring remains necessary. The way in which the needs are optimally met differs from person to person and from situation to situation. As an organization, you do well to look for an approach that best suits what employees need, taking into account their personal characteristics and the specific circumstances.