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A different approach to employee motivation

A different approach to employee motivation

The hunger for quality staff is becoming more and more tangible, which makes us all more inventive in finding them, and once we find the right employee we try to keep them, so the issue of employee motivation is essential.


How do we motivate and retain the people we want to be part of our team, organization, company?

Undoubtedly, there are many methods such as benefits, promotions, company culture, job diversification, training, flexible working hours and more.

Which of these motivational techniques works?

The answer is simple – everyone, that’s why they are so popular. But although all these methods of motivation work and have proven themselves over time, we notice that the same technique applied to different people gives different results, which is perfectly normal and natural.

Why does one method of motivation work for some employees and not others?

As we have already said, people are different. We all know that everyone has their own motivation which depends on their values, what they are looking for, what they need at the moment, their stage of professional, social and individual development. We are all aware of this and that’s why we conduct employee surveys, talk to employees, talk to their managers to be more effective.

One such tool that in my opinion is rarely used but is effective are career anchors. They are a combination of our perceived area of competence, motives and values that we would not give up. They represent our essence. Each of us has a career anchor that is stable and does not change over time, but it takes work experience to discover what is really important to you.

How can these career anchors help us with motivation?

People usually cover a large volume of needs in their careers, but they are not equally important. At times when we cannot meet all needs, it is important to know which ones are most important. Accordingly, in the moments when we choose how to motivate someone, it is important to find the need that is most important to them at the moment in order to address it appropriately. Edgar Schein initially outlines 5 main career anchors (I’ll briefly discuss below), to which he later adds 3 more – commitment to a cause, pure challenge and lifestyle.

Technical and functional competence

Anchoring technical and functional competence are people who find that they have both great talent and strong motivation for a particular type of work. What is important to them is the satisfaction of what they have achieved and that they are experts in a particular field. They identify with their work and develop their specific area skills. They are committed to developing their abilities. A key characteristic for people working with such an anchor is for it to be challenging. People with this anchor who are part of the organization are committed to its goals as once set they require autonomy in their execution.

General managerial competence

The anchor general management competency is related to people for whom it is important to climb the organizational ladder. These types of people don’t want to be narrowly specialized in a particular area. The more experience they gain, the more important it becomes for them to have a combination of skills in the following three key areas – analytical competence, interpersonal and intergroup competence and emotional competence.

Autonomy and independence

Employees with anchor autonomy and independence do not want to be constrained by other people’s rules, working hours, dress code and other norms associated with organizations. They prefer to do things their way and their standards. They prefer time-limited and clearly defined work in their field. If they are in an organization, they will get involved in setting and clarifying goals for them, but then they will want to be left alone.

Security and stability

For people with the anchor of security and stability, it is important that their career is so arranged that they feel secure and that future events are predictable. They often look for jobs in organizations that offer long-term commitment, with good pension policies, social policies, ones that have an image of being strong and trustworthy.

Entrepreneurship and creativity

Individuals with the anchor of entrepreneurship and creativity usually discover in their early years that they want to create their own business, build a new organization, take an existing business and transform it to their requirements. Creativity in this case is related to the desire to create a new organization, product or service that can ideally only happen with the efforts of the entrepreneur and be economically successful.

Literature used:

Schein, E. H (1990) Career Anchors, Discovering your real values