Allen Baler: The Top 3 Employee Motivators

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As an entrepreneur with a growing business, you already know your most precious resource is your company’s human capital. The team you acquire is in the trenches with you, helping to build your enterprise and realize your vision. Without the right people, you’re pretty much sunk.


So, after you’ve attracted top talent, how do you make them stay?


There are a thousand different theories on what make people tick, and how to keep great employees happy. However, there are some universal principles that show up again and again, and prove to be true for a majority of companies, large or small.


To illustrate this, Entrepreneur featured an awesome article and infographic that shows exactly what motivates already motivated professionals, and how to keep them feeling fulfilled at work (and the top three have zero to do with money):


Praise. There are different terms for it, but well-deserved and genuine recognition for a job well done will do more to keep your key players feeling needed and satisfied than just about anything else. My advice? Keep it specific and let them know exactly what impressed you about their effort, rather than offering generic phrases like “Great job.”


Attention from Leadership. Every business needs structure, but individual attention from leadership is essential for cohesion and growth. See and be seen. Let your teams know you are watching and listening, and for the right reasons.


Opportunities to Lead. Your best employees will be leaders, movers and shakers. They will thrive on challenges and if you continually tap them for more (without overburdening them), they’ll deliver in spades. Your best people will eschew stagnation and become process improvement engineers all on their own, provided you give them the green light of empowerment. Doing so helps delegate and take other burdens off your plate, as well.


Old school thinking used to be that the more money you threw at employees, the happier they were. Some of these mantras included: “Just give them a raise!” “Stock options, definitely stock options!”


Not true today. It’s the intangible, human elements of fulfillment and satisfaction attained from meeting appropriate challenges that drives your best people to be even better. And by mastering those principles, you’re setting the stage for your business to thrive.

Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.