Motivation the lazy way?

One of the most asked interview questions is:

“What motivates you?”

If we were to look at what many companies give their staff as incentives we may be lead to believe that the most popular answer is:

“Alcohol!”

So are we to believe that staff will be delivering their best possible performance in the hope of getting some alcohol as a reward? I suspect not, but why is it the case that alcohol is often the first choice when acknowledging effort or recognising an exceptional contribution to the business?

Money can be a useful motivator, but it is often used as a parameter by which people will measure themselves against each other. The clumsy use of money as a motivator can result in resentment as you may unwittingly imply that you value one staff member above another.

People are individuals and we are all unique. As a result different people will be motivated by different things and there is no ‘one size fits all’. Sometimes the people responsible for providing the motivation have little or no idea where their own motivation comes from!

There are walls up and down the country adorned with treasured photographs of people taking part in memorable events. It could be a special concert, taking the wheel of a supercar, participating in a joust; the possibilities are too numerous to list and go way beyond ‘experience days’. If an employer has taken the trouble to establish what works for an employee and provides something relevant, it will be remembered and associated with the employer in the longer term.

I would suggest that there are not that many photographs taken of people drinking alcohol, standing by the bottle given to them by their employer. Alcohol affects our ability to remember and can be considered as a depressant and as a result the memory of your motivational gesture may well be discarded with the bottle.

Equally hazardous is the quality of the message that you send to your customers by giving them alcohol, as a gesture of thanks. Will you be thanking them for a year of exceptional business by giving them the same sort of alcohol that you presented the previous year but just increase the quantity?

People, whether employees are usually motivated by a sense of importance, being recognised and valued. It’s about acknowledging the persons significance and contribution to your world.

Does just giving them a bottle of alcohol really achieve that? Does it work for you?

4 comments for “Motivation the lazy way?

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  2. 2 September, 2011 at 21:00

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  3. 29 August, 2011 at 10:23

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  4. 17 July, 2011 at 20:00

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