Do You Know What Motivates Your Employees?

Do You Know What Motivates Your Employees?

Employee happiness and productivity at work have been the focus of HR experts worldwide for several years now. The term Employee Engagement is used to identify what motivates your employees to work, their level of commitment to your company, and whether they are putting in their best efforts at work.

The Engagement Crisis

The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis by Gallup reports that only 13% of the worldwide workforce is engaged at work! In the US, that number is 32%. In other words, employees aren’t motivated to give their best efforts at work and therefore companies are losing out on a lot of productivity.

The lack of employee motivation usually translates to underperformance, a conscious effort to suppress performance, and employee turnover among other things. Traditionally, employers have thrown money at the problem thinking that a salary increase will do the trick, but it rarely does.

So what’s the problem?

The 7 Dimensions of Motivation

The key to unlocking the engagement puzzle is to understand what truly motivates your employees. Based on the research of Dr. Gordon Allport (Harvard University) and Dr. Eduard Spranger, two of the leading minds in psychology, there are seven universal dimensions of motivation that exist within each of us:

  1. Aesthetic: A strong desire and need to achieve equilibrium and work/life balance. Individuals with a high aesthetic motivator tend to be creative, imaginative, and unconventional in how they think and work. Work environments that are very formal, include micro-management, strict working rules, and rigid structures are turn-offs. Such individuals value comfortable office layouts that look “nice” and tend to be advocates of environmentally friendly initiatives.
  2. Economic: This motivation examines the need for security, economic gain, and to achieve real-world returns on personal ventures. Such individuals are highly motivated by activities that increase personal wealth and are very practical in their working style. They have a competitive nature and want to be incentivized for their achievements at work. Tasks that are not practical and jobs that offer little to no economic incentive lead to demotivation.
  3. Individualistic: This deals with one’s need to be seen as autonomous, unique, independent, and to stand apart from the crowd. Such individuals want freedom of personal expression and want to have a say in the type of work they do and how they do it. Taking orders and having no say in how to do their work doesn’t sit well with them.
  4. Political: This is about being seen as a leader and to have influence and control over one’s environment or success. Individuals with a high political motivator seek leadership positions and strive for authority. They are competitive and want control over their environment. Such employees want an opportunity to grow into positions where they have authority and influence over the department/company direction.
  5. Altruistic: This motivation is an expression of the need to benefit others, sometimes at the expense of oneself. Individuals with a high altruistic motivation value helping others and assisting their colleagues. They get personal satisfaction from helping people and want the opportunity to positively affect the lives of others. Such individuals are perfect for jobs that relate to humanitarian causes, human resources, education, and so forth.
  6. Regulatory: This indicates a need to establish order, routine, and structure. Individuals with a high regulatory motivation are not comfortable working in laissez-faire environments. Ambiguity and uncertainty are their enemies; they approach work traditionally through standards, rules, and protocols.
  7. Theoretical: The desire and motivation to learn and gain knowledge. Individuals with a high theoretical motivator want a job that will help them increase their knowledge and skills. Such individuals also have an internal drive for continuous learning and development. They are rational thinkers and want the ability to use their reasoning and problem-solving skills at work.

Every person is motivated by these seven universal motivators to some extent, yet most people will value one or two motivators above all the others. Uncovering this information allows companies to understand their employees and dig deeper into the low levels of motivation.

What Motivates Your Employees?

Understanding what the seven motivators are is the first step, but you need a way to measure what motivates your employees.

For that, Dynamic Recruit provides the Values & Motivators Index, an assessment that will help you identify what motivates your employees on an individual and group level.

Snippet from the Values & Motivators assessment.

How Can I Use the Values & Motivators Index?

Drop us a line using our inquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch to give you a demo of the assessment. You can download a sample report for a detailed view of the assessment results.


Nahed Khairallah

Nahed is an IT Management Master's graduate from The University of Texas at Dallas and holds a Bachelor's degree in International Business from Notre Dame University. He is a SHRM-SCP certified professional, which is the highest international HR credential issued by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the US. In 2016, Nahed was selected by SHRM to be one of twenty five test item writers for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications worldwide. With more than 10 years of experience in business, higher education, corporate training and HR consulting, Nahed is the lead consultant for all our HR projects throughout the region. Nahed was previously an Instructor at Notre Dame University from October 2009 until July 2012 teaching undergraduate and graduate level business courses. He is also a regular speaker at HR conferences and summits in the MENA region.