Communication: The #1 Motivator

bob's Blog Dr. Bob Nelson

In my research as to what most motivates today’s employees, the #1 response that employees report is open, honest and direct communication from one’s manager.  Ninety-five percent of today’s employees report that getting information they need from their manager is either very or extremely important to them and, in fact, it’s the highest rated variable of some 50 explicit behaviors I’ve tracked in the workplace over 15 years.

What kind of information?  Certainly information an employee needs to do his or her job and answers to an employee’s questions that arise in doing their work.  But this is just the starting point.  They want to be part of a steady stream of ideas and conversations that make their time as work more interesting and fun.  Employees want to know how they can help make a difference in their success and that of their colleagues, manager and the company overall. They want to know what opportunities they have to learn and grow and where those opportunities can take them in their careers. 

Employees also what to know what’s going on in different parts of the organization, what the organization’s plans and strategies for the future are, new products and services, marketing strategies and even what the competition is doing.  They want to know how the organization is making its community and the world a better place.

In short, employees want to feel “in on things” and giving them that information is the starting point for empowering them to act in a way that goes beyond just being an employee, beyond just doing a job. Ample communication sets employees up to want to do their best job in striving to make a difference and a contribution at work that goes beyond their job description.  To be a member of a community that is tied to a purpose and mission that brings meaning to their lives as well as the lives of others who benefit from the community.  Communication ties them to something that is bigger than themselves that provides a sense of purpose for their lives for which they can be proud.

Communication:  It’s more than what meets the eye for today’s employees.

—Bob Nelson

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