Do you know what makes your employees tick? Maybe you should find out. Discover the link between motivation and company culture.

Do you know what makes your employees tick? Have you found the secret ingredient to get your team members excited to come to work and reach their potential?

If you think that you need a stroke of luck to lead a team of people who consistently perform at a high level, think again. What sets great teams apart from the rest boils down to a synergy between a company’s culture and what ultimately motivates its employees. Not convinced? Let me explain.

Motivation in the context of work

There are several theories that aim to explain why people do something — in this case, why they go to work. Is it purely to make money? Is it to feel a sense of achievement after having completed a day’s work? Have a think about what motivates you to go to work each day. Do your team members have the same motivating factors, or are they different to you and others they work with?

Intrinsic vs. external factors

If you’re intrinsically motivated, you enjoy doing something for the fun of it or believe it is the right thing to do. This is why some people have hobbies or take on voluntary positions. They want to do it for their own sense of satisfaction and to feel good in themselves.

Being extrinsically motivated means you do something for external reward, the big one being money. Many people are adamant that they only go to work because they’re being paid, but research says otherwise.

Take a look at Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory and you’ll see that all of the factors leading to satisfaction are intrinsic in nature:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • The work itself
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • Growth

See? No mention of money there. This doesn’t mean that financial reward isn’t important. It just means that payment is a given for going to work, and intrinsic factors are key to motivating employees while they’re in the workplace.

What this means for you

Taking Herzberg’s research into account, you can motivate team members by:

1. Allocating roles in which employees can excel

You need to ensure that each team member’s job is challenging enough to utilize their full capabilities. Otherwise, they are likely to get bored easily, become demotivated and fail to reach their potential.

2. Providing opportunities for advancement

If you want to attract and retain top-performing employees, you need to recognize their achievements by giving them the chance to stretch themselves and demonstrate a range of skills. Knowing that there is a clear career path within an organization can be a powerful motivating factor for employees.

3. Investing in employees’ learning and development

Personal and professional advancement and growth is possible with a robust employee training program. If team members feel valued and are given customized learning and development plans, they are more likely to want to repay this investment through excellent work performance.

4. Giving team members autonomy

Allowing workers to take responsibility for tasks and not taking a micromanagement approach will enable employees to take pride in their own work and see projects through to completion.

How this links to company culture

Company culture is notoriously difficult to define due to its intangible nature, but it can be described as a shared set of beliefs and values that influences — and can be influenced by employee behavior. Research tells us that companies whose culture is based upon intrinsic motivating factors have higher employee satisfaction and produce better customer outcomes.

Take HubSpot as a prime example. The highly successful marketing and sales software company has developed its own Culture Code, a document that has been made publicly available. This document clearly outlines the value that the company places on autonomy, self-motivation and dedication to lifelong learning. Sound familiar?

They also reward their employees based on these values.

Company values + intrinsic factors = increased productivity

If you want to get the best out of your team members, it is important to achieve culture fit. This means hiring employees that share the same values as those of the organization. Just as other successful companies have set out to do, strive to understand what drives employees to succeed, and build a culture that supports and rewards these motivating factors.