The Secret Sauce to Motivating Your Team

The Secret Sauce to Motivating Your Team

We treat our employees like they are rats in a maze, writes noted behavioral economist Dan Ariely.  “We really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labor market looks like,” Ariely said. Based on numerous experiments on workplace motivation.  Ariely found that people need to earn a living for food, shelter, security and other basics at the bottom rung of Maslov’s hierarchy of needs.  However, compensation plays a less significant role in productivity and satisfaction.  What matters, according to Ariely, is the meaningfulness of the work performed, by recognition and the difficulty of the task.  The following are lessons that BKBG showroom owners can benefit from Ariely’s and others’ experiments.

Seeing the fruits of one’s labor makes employees more productive. 

Lessons for BKBG showrooms:  Develop online and in showroom portfolios of projects each designer has created.  Have pictures of completed projects in team members’ work areas and around the showroom with acknowledgments identifying the designer responsible for the design.  Ariely found that when employees see the fruits of their labor performance improves dramatically.

When team members feel underappreciated, they make up for it by requesting more money.  

Lessons for BKBG showrooms:  Lack of appreciation and recognition is the leading reason why top-producing team members seek greener pastures.  In Ariely’s experiment, those whose work was not recognized requested twice as much money as those whose work was acknowledged.  An easy button for recognizing your team members is to encourage them to participate in the BKBG Designer Alliance and Design Competition.

Anyone who has won an award or has been honored by their industry or peers knows what an incredible feeling that recognition brings.  Does not your staff members deserve to have similar experiences and feelings?  

The more difficult the task, the more professional satisfaction is derived from completing it.

Lessons for showrooms:  The value placed on work your team performs is directly tied to the effort expended and difficulty.  Ariely calls this the IKEA effect. If you ever put together a piece of IKEA furniture, it takes a lot longer and is much harder than the instructions lead you to believe.  However, most people who assemble IKEA furniture relate that the IKEA pieces are their favorite and the ones they enjoy the most.  

The more difficult the project, the more value your team will assign to it. Additionally, your team members will believe that others will view their most difficult projects as more valuable and satisfying as well. 


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