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The Two Simplest Powerful Workplace Motivators

January 9, 2014

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As a teenager I took a holiday job cleaning offices with a friend’s father.

Whilst I was soon bored by the repetitive nature of the work, I noticed my friend’s father was clearly pleased with it. He paid attention to each aspect of the work, making sure difficult corners were cleaned properly, and carefully cleaning the cleaning tools at the end of the job.

I asked him how come he enjoyed such repetitive, seemingly non-challenging work.

His answer has stayed with me forever.

“Firstly David, I actually like cleaning. To me it feels good to watch something dirty become clean again through my efforts.

Secondly and most importantly, what do you think would happen if these offices weren’t cleaned properly?”

I shrugged.

“How long do you think people would be allowed to work in unclean offices?” he asked. “What would happen if people became sick through working in an unhygienic workplace?”

I nodded.

Later and now I see that enjoying one’s work and being clear about the value of it to others is crucial to obtaining full engagement of employees, no matter what the work is.

As a leader it is crucial that you ensure people are chosen because they actually like the work and then ensure that they are always present to the value that their work brings to others. That normally means you must remind them effectively and personally.

How are you going with that?

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