Are These The 3 Key Drivers of Employee Engagement and Employee Motivation?

Last week I was having a discussion with a client on how to communicate to his employees to begin creating a more motivated workforce.

I asked him what he felt was most important for him to communicate to achieve that outcome. He became frustrated with the question saying, “all they care about is money. I don’t think anything will motivate them unless I offer them all a raise.”

Although this may be the informal impression projected by employees it has been my experience that pay is just one of about a half-dozen key factors in employee motivation. And, its not at the top of the list, either.

In 29 years in business, including 20 years of leading small businesses in five different communities, I’ve learned there are other motivating factors in a work environment that too many leaders ignore. I encourage my client to invest more time in nurturing the non-monetary factors so they can leverage their salary and benefits package much more effectively and achieve greater bottom line results.

I’d like to propose that the top three things employees come to work for are what I call “The 3 Ps of Employee Performance and Motivation:”

  • Pride
  • Purpose
  • Paycheck

For time sake I’m not going to elaborate here on the first two and how and why I’ve found them to be important motivational factors, but I will in future blog posts next week. Additionally, I have to admit this is not based on any official workplace research, its just from my anecdotal experience of leading others for 20 years and coaching business leaders over the last 10 years to communicate to motivate.

All 3 P’s must be present in the work environment and in the right mix for each individual employee. Business leaders have more control over all three then they realize and sadly usually just focus on the most expensive, which leads to much of their frustration.

I was reading a blog post in Compensation Cafe yesterday by my friend and colleague Derek Irvine of Globoforce, a global strategic employee recognition firm, who confirmed my belief with some C-Suite research in which he proclaims that employees today are seeking “meaning over money.”

Although the research Derek points to comes from an ExecuNet survey of C Level executives, I believe the results would be similar for employees below the C-suite and would include even the most frontline workers. Obviously money does become more of a factor based on being able to fulfill a particular lifestyle desire and have basic needs met. But we all know people earning significant money who are unhappy in their careers, and those earning below average salaries who are happy and engaged because they are passionate about the work they do.

If you’d like to improve your leadership approach to be able to create a more inspiring and motivating work environment you are going to want to learn more about my “Confident Leaders Virtual Training Camp” that kicks off very soon.

Please feel free to leave a comment to add to the discussion I’d love to learn your experience regarding the “3 P’s of Employee Performance and Motivation.”

‘Til next time, have a great weekend!


14 thoughts on “Are These The 3 Key Drivers of Employee Engagement and Employee Motivation?

  1. Sylvie Stanley says:

    Thanks for the post, I fully agree that employees are looking to be part of something bigger than them. Experience tells me that money is only important if they don’t feel inspired in their job.
    Looking forward to further posts.

  2. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Glad you found value in this article, feel free to Tweet it and like it on Facebook so others can join the discussion. My best ideas for future posts often come from comments from readers like you. You know, the point you make about money being important only if employees don’t feel inspired is important because even money will not improve employee motivation and self-initiative over a long period of time. It may get a boost for 30-90 days but if the work environment is not inspiring and motivating and does not offer individuals an opportunity to contribute in positive ways, all you end up with is a higher paid, unmotivated team member. Thanks for your contribution here and adding value to my blog.

  3. Derek Irvine, Globoforce says:

    Thanks for the reference, Skip. I’m honored. You’re right. Too often pride and purpose are sublimated by paycheck — usually by management who insist pay is most important to employees. If they insist long enough — ignoring employee needs for pride and purpose in their work — then employees will soon agree with them. Far better for all involved if, yes, employers pay a fair and appropriate wage for the work completed, but also help employees see and experience the pride and purpose in their daily work.

  4. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your original article inspired me to write this and your work with employee recognition is a great compliment to the work I’m doing. I’m value our mutual complimentary relationship and appreciate you stopping by. Keep up the good work.

  5. Atul says:

    Dear Skip,

    What you have mentioned is a good guideline. However I have seen the priorities of 3Ps changes in a person’s life based on his numbers of years of experience and personal life. Mostly what you say is right but for a new joinee paycheck is a priority, but for senior person pride is the priority.

    I would like to add ” Aspiration ” in 3Ps. I have observed it is also one of the important motive for people to come to work.

  6. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Yes, I agree with your contribution here and appreciate your thoughts adding to the discussion. At different stages of our lives we have to value different things for different reasons. I would also argue, though, at least in America from the feedback I’m getting from executives and hiring professionals, they are finding more younger generation folks coming into the workforce who are also putting more emphasis on pride and purpose than the paycheck in many instances. And, we can have ‘aspirations’ as part of the 3 P’s unless you change the word to begin with the letter “P,” if doesn’t fit, sorry (LOL).

    Just kidding. Aspiration is HUGE, in my book. Which is why it is a significant part of my Employee Motivation Equation, which you and others can read about here: I will also be working with participants in the Confident Leaders Training Camp for four weeks learning how to apply the Employee Motivation Equation to specifically in Lesson #2 & #3. You can learn more about the Confident Leaders Training Camp at this link.

  7. Steve Hunter says:

    There is a common thread with the management that is first to mention money as a driver:
    1. They don’t have a clue regarding pride and purpose.
    2. They pay the bare minimum.

    “We could get more motivated workers if we could just afford to pay them more.”

  8. Sharmila says:

    Thanks for this post. Nice article. I agree that money is not the most important parameter for an employee… What i have noticed is that each person wants to feel a sense of belonging in the team he/she is in. This brings confidence (pride) in the person. This brings in passion in the work and improves productivity.

  9. Donna says:

    Hi Skip,

    I agree with you however, there is one factor missing from the 3 P’s and that is RESPECT. Pride can be cut down without respect. Purpose doesn’t matter if you have no pride in what you are doing. Paycheck is the end result of pride and purpose, which as you mention isn’t the biggest driver.

    Employee Performance and Motivation are driven by the respect received from ones direct leader. Respect leads to pride and purpose.

    That has been my experience.

    Thank you,

  10. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation. I agree, “Respect” is very important in order to maintain the engagement and motivation. I’ve also experienced a number of leaders who suck the air out of a room or the motivation out of an individual who wants to show pride in their work with a simple disrespectful comment.

    In my experience few leaders do this maliciously. I believe it is done out of ignorance and/or their own insecurities and if they are open to a little coaching it can help turn around their approach.

    Can we come up with a synonym for “Respect” that begins with “P?”

    Thanks, again! I encourage you to come back and comment anytime!

  11. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion. Often times organizational leaders develop the belief that money being a driver of motivation because they have ignored the pride and the purpose for so long that their people resort to asking for more money because they have no other place to turn to get satisfaction. I think more research is starting to show this to be true.

    Thanks, again for your comments.

  12. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Yes, a sense of belonging, and that comes from feeling valued by the team and its leaders. When someone feels valued, their pride will show through and they can thrive. Leaders need to invest in their team members to reinforce the value to engage that sense of belonging.

    Great point! Thanks for making me feel valued by investing time in leaving a comment. Please return!

  13. Gary Stein says:

    1. Pride
    2. Passion
    3. Praise
    4. Prize
    5. Position
    6. Purpose
    If you do not have the above, then you workforce will be de-motivated

  14. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for stopping by and adding to my 3 P’s – great additions to the list.

Comments are closed.