Motivation: How to bring your team together

When organisations are about to engage in operational transformation programmes, managers often expect their teams will suddenly shift from their “old ways of working” into a change mindset. Managers, in general, see that communicating changes in the current processes and systems, will do the job and demand fast and positive results, without acknowledging what actually motivates their teams.

So, how can we actually change behaviours? How do we bring a team together, embedding the mindset of change? What’s behind each and every person’s character that will influence a particular change management project? The answer is motivation. More and more companies are focusing on staff happiness, and addressing their needs is key before setting any action in motion. Taking a step back, and spending time understanding what is at stake for each person can heavily influence the performance of an individual or a team, with better results in the long run.

There are many factors that motivate employees, and these are changing following new world trends. According to KPMG, back in the day, employee’s motivations were based mainly on position and salary. Nowadays, a number of talented workers balance their expectations with additional aspects such as a desire for new skills and experiences, rather than by the traditional definitions of success based on salary and position.

However, there are a few traditional motivation theories available that can support managers in understanding theirs team expectations:

  1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: It states that people will be motivated when all his needs are satisfied. The model is comprised of five needs, where each individual needs to fulfil a level below, before moving up to the next.


2. McClelland’s Three Needs Theory: This theory suggests that every individual has three basic needs. Identifying the particular need of a person, will enable you to have a bigger impact on their behaviour.

    • Need for achievement: Someone motivated by success or achievement of results. They are focused to excel and take on difficult situations.
    • Need for power: Someone motivated by having higher power in their position, controlling their own work and the work of others.
    • Need for affiliation: A person that seeks social interactions and working in a collaborative environment. Someone that needs belonging and social acceptance.

So, what is the key message? Regardless of the theory, understanding what motivates your team, creates a better, more satisfying, and positive workplace that will improve both morale and productivity. Failing to address what is at stake for colleagues, will jeopardise any transformation programme, or culture change within an organisation.

Motivating employees is a challenging, but an important part of a manager’s job. In the early twentieth century, pay was considered a key motivator in the workplace, but we now know there’s more to motivating staff than money. The first step is to understand what drives your staff members and then work towards developing relevant programmes or opportunities. Doing this is a critical part of ensuring successful transformational change.