What motivates your employees?  (And while we’re on the subject, if you’re in a volunteer driven organization like ours, you need to rethink what an employee is.  For us, an employee might be even the volunteers who are playing a part in reaching your next wave of customers.)  But back to the subject at hand.  What motivates your employees?  Is it money?  Do you think it is some kind of extrinsic incentive like cash?

One of the more interesting books in 2006 has been Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense .  The book features a chapter on each of some of the more dangerous half-truths and total nonsense in organizational thinking.  In the chapter that exposes the problem thinking in the incentive area, there is an interesting quote from researcher Chip Heath on what he calls an extrinsic incentives bias.  What’s the idea?  Here it is:

"The tendency to overestimate how much employees care about extrinsic job features such as pay and underestimate how much employees are motivated by instrinsic job features like being able to make decisions or having meaningful work."

I have to say, that is totally the idea found in The Service-Profit Chain.  If you haven’t checked out this great article and you’re working the "retaining customers" angle, you’re missing out.  You can check out an idea or two from the article in my earlier post: The connection between success and loyalty.

Key takeaway?  When you’re building a volunteer intensive organization you’ve got to do more to retain key volunteers…and that’s the key to building a customer-centered approach.


What Motivates Your Employees?