The biggest returns are generated by the most dynamic businesses, and the most dynamic businesses are built by the most highly motivated staff. Highly motivated staff are driven by working towards something they want.
The key to this puzzle is finding out exactly what it is that employees want. The answer, according to former IKEA chief Anders Dahlvig, is recognition.
In his book, The IKEA Edge: Building Global Growth and Social Good at the World’s Most Iconic Home Store, Dahlvig writes that his decade in the top job at IKEA taught him that recognition is “the greatest motivator of all”.
Dahlvig says that if you want your employees to be energised and work their hardest, you have to recognise their work.
"I would even go so far as to say that recognition is the most important driver of mankind — so important to get, but so difficult to satisfy," writes Dahlvig. "The need for recognition is endless. The more you get, the more you want."
It might come in the form of a congratulatory beer after work, a slap on the back in front of colleagues or a cash bonus.
For Dahlvig it means to be given responsibility and independence, and to be seen, heard and respected. Simple things to offer an employee that’s on track.
The tough bit is identifying what sort of recognition each employee values. A feeling for this comes through trying different things and simply getting to know the people you work with. However, on the most basic level, a simple ‘well done on the Pelican Project’ goes a long way.
One company that has recognised the value of recognition is doing something about it is Wooboard, an online startup that’s created an application for appreciation.
Wooboard is a forum for team members to recognise the work of one another by sending each other ‘Woos’, or short messages of appreciation. It boosts recognition, allows you to see what your team members are good at and what others appreciate them for, and simply thank those around you for a job well done.
As Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, says, “Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it to yourself.”
And that’s exactly what Wooboard facilitates. It overcomes the problem of one off 'well-done's, which don't provide the regular, reinforced recognition that Dahlvig's identified employees crave.
It really is an easy and interactive way to motivate your employees by harnessing the greatest motivator of all, recognition.
And according to a guy who ran a global department store 522 million people visited last year, this is something every that every aspiring business should be looking to facilitate more of.
1. A staff engagement consultation.
2. Web based program to kickstart staff engagement.
3. A copy of - "How Full is your Bucket" - a bestseller book on the power of workplace engagement.
4. Unlimited user accounts.
5. The ability for your staff to send and receive daily recognition.
6. Over 1,000 moments of engagement.
7. An in depth engagement report on your company, your staff and an industry benchmark report.