Inspiration from business folklore

R. Shekar | Updated on April 03, 2011


The results of the ‘climate' survey were hard to comprehend for many of the directors on the board of the company. It appeared that each could walk away drawing any conclusion that suited his fancy.

There was, however, a near unanimity around one aspect: while all the hygiene needs were fulfilled, motivation was lacking. What more, the management wondered, can it do to improve the levels of employee motivation?

One of the research associates made a startling discovery between the level of satisfaction expressed and the four questions that correlated positively with the overall scores. (Graph)

All the four questions that correlated positively had one thing in common: they originated from the employee, and not from the company.

The four aspects related entirely to the aspects of intrinsic value to the employee such as personal growth, significance of the self to the company's results and industry rank. Most importantly, it related to how favourably the environment was perceived to be for self expression.

When new recruits were asked “what prompted them to join the company,” they corroborated the findings of the climate survey.

It was the inspirational stories about the successful efforts of the company, as featured on the Web sites and the press that fascinated them most.

They drew inspiration from the challenges overcome successfully by the employees of the company; that generated a sense of wanting to belong to the company. Such was the power of the folklore!

Interestingly enough, at the exit interviews of employees the company wanted to retain, further evidence came to the fore.

There was always a perception that the company they were about to join was rated high on the same four parameters of prospects for accelerated growth, perception of ability to make a more tangible contribution to the new employer and the freedom to demonstrate one's innate potential.

Question for the Directors

How could the board encourage more employees to post their accomplishments and institutionalise business folklore as a motivational aid for the company?


Published on April 03, 2011

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