Turn ‘Em On (Part 2)

Today’s post is from guest blogger Heather Kinzie.

Heather KinzieHeather has been a Human Resources professional for nearly 20 years.  She likes to make things better so she develops/presents training courses and facilitates team/process/strategy improvement events.  Her clients benefit from her expertise and her insight but moreover, they appreciate her pragmatic and often brutally honest thoughts, concerns and suggestions.  Heather comes with tons of energy and laughter, but she also comes with quirks, truth and the occasional storm of swear words. :)

Yesterday, I introduced the five buckets of “motivational keys” from Tom Terez’s book, “22 Keys to a Meaningful Workplace.”  Mr. Terez’s book, read early in my career as an HR Professional, is one of my favorites because to date, I have yet to find an employee that I can’t place in one of these buckets.  That being said, I am rarely stumped when it comes to figuring out how to turn them on!

In addition to introducing the five buckets of “motivational keys”, I also covered Mission Driven and Development Driven employees in yesterday’s post.  Today, I’ll offer you my thoughts on the remaining three: People Driven, Community Driven and Self Driven employees.

People Driven Employees

These employees believe they and their colleagues are valuable resources.  They like to see equality in how employees are treated and depend upon respect being given to everyone.  Likewise, they enjoy when an individual’s needs are put ahead of the employer’s needs and appreciate when flexibility and/or adaptations of long-standing rules are possible.  While not the only ones who enjoy working with others, these employees thrive in a collaborative team environment.

Motivating these employees requires the supervisor to take a more democratic approach to his/her leadership style.  Two-way communication is essential, and empowering team members goes a long way in ensuring the work gets done.  The supervisor who can make an exception when the circumstances and employee’s service warrants the exception will find his/her “favor” is returned in productivity and engagement.  The supervisor who recognizes that the employees “doing the work” have valuable opinions in “how the work gets done” will enjoy efficiencies, productivity and cost savings with their People Driven employees.

Community Driven Employees

These employees thrive when there is a sense of “community” or “oneness” with their colleagues.   “We’re all in this together” means a lot and, therefore, stepping in to helpCommunity Driven Employees and/or expecting someone to do likewise is common with these employees.  A sense of “service” to others is important, as is a sense of “appreciation.”  These employees thrive when the relationships are healthy, supportive and sincere.

Motivating these employees requires the supervisor to give a darn.  If the relationship isn’t sincere, if the recognition isn’t meaningful, if the encouragement is just a ploy, a lack of motivation will certainly follow.  The supervisor who develops and maintains an honest and trusting relationship with his/her employees, and encourages the team members to treat each other with respect and dignity will find increased motivation and engagement will follow.  The supervisor who models and encourages “community” by volunteering to help, and by giving thanks when it is due will find Community Driven employees will move mountains.

Self Driven Employees

These employees find value in “being themselves” – using their unique skills, expressing their originality and personality, etc.  While they like to know they ARE a part of something bigger, they find it worthwhile in knowing HOW they fit into the big picture.  Moreover, they like to know how their “uniqueness” adds value and/or worth to the program, customer, organization, etc.  These employees believe they are not simply an “accountant” or “project manager” and instead, are defined by many other things.  That being said, they thrive when they are not forced to trade off their “life” for work.

Motivating these employees requires active communication showing an appreciation of their talents and expertise.  One-on-one discussions about performance, expectations, development, etc. will be more valued than “buck shot” staff meetings or generalized discussions.  The constant demand for work and/or the lack of flexibility for work-life balance may result in lack of engagement or decreased productivity.  The supervisor who strikes the right balance in allowing “personalization” of things such as work station and dress/personal appearance, or by appreciating and approving requests to accommodate hobbies, volunteerism, family events, etc. may find that Self Driven employees rise up and give more of themselves accordingly.

  •  Which one of the five types of employees discussed this and last week best describe you?
  • Moreover, which one best describes your employees?


I believe that only when you know what keys fit your employees can you effectively turn them on at work.


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