Purpose has become incredibly important to them. What we learned is that young people want to do good as well as do well. They really do want to come to work thinking that they’re going to do something that matters. So our purpose is “EY, building a better working world”—I wear a shirt that says that right on it. And this has to be authentic and has to be built into the business, not just your charity work or your corporate social responsibility work. But if you have a team that
respects flexibility and you’re very transparent about when you’re available and when you’re not, all of a sudden you can meet the needs of the client. That’s unlike in the past, where everyone had to be there, or where it was one or two people and not a team who was responsible. So that’s really an enlightenment from realizing the millennials are going to do this anyway and feeding into it, as opposed to trying to stop them from leaving. Businessweek, Aug 8, 2016, Mark Weinberger CEO EY.
Wow. You mean there is a motivation for working other than making money? That would be heresy to many people.
Motivating my teams, especially in the military but also in the corporate world, by emphasizing what we were doing for people rather than on what we would be personally getting out of it always seemed to motivate the most people. This was with both fellow baby boomers when we were still young and with millennials today. As a young person just out of college I recall a Harvard Business Review article that basically said that when we paid people more, they then did a better job. The conclusion was, if I recall correctly, that it was because they felt appreciated and responded by doing a better job and not because of the money.
I recall the stories of so many people who directly or indirectly worked on the Apollo moon landing program. Many if not most were well paid engineers but the prospect of being part of the effort to place a person on the moon is what excited and motivated them.
For more see Finding A Noble Purpose
So many profound insights are nothing more than taking a clear look at our current situation instead of accepting that the current common wisdom must be true (e. g. motivating by fame or fortune). When we do, we relearn past wisdom about people that had always been true but we had ultimately forgotten based upon the more negative or cynical view that has temporarily prevailed.
Periodically assuming the best from people often brings surprising results. The results are a highly motivated and well functioning team. We just have to realize that doing a good job for a good reason didn’t just become important to them but that it was always important to them.
Do you know what really motivates your team?