Money can be a strong motivator. But it is not the ultimate determinant of job satisfaction, says Casey Miller, president of Six and a Half Consulting in Vancouver.
Miller, who runs team workshops for financial advisory practices, says a culture of engagement is crucial to a healthy work environment. When you invest time and energy in rallying your team members around a common purpose, he says, they will be more inclined to embrace what your practice stands for.
"What ends up happening," Miller says, "is people become accountable for their own success."
Miller shares the following tips on how to create a high-performing team culture:
> Express your purpose
Team members function as a cohesive unit when they know where they fit into the entire operation and how they contribute to the larger goal. This is not about selling them "fluff" or hollow platitudes, Miller says, but reminding them why your practice exists.
For example, if your niche is working with owners of startup businesses, express to your team members how their work plays a part in helping those organizations stay lean and thrive.
"Each individual needs to know how their specific work accomplishes that goal, as small as it may be," Miller says. "Many [advisors] think it's assumed, but [often] they simply don't communicate it well."
> Embrace transparency
Make transparency in all your processes a core value of your practice. One way to keep things out in the open is to give employees the chance to recognize the work of others, which can lead to a better understanding of the way incentives are awarded.
Monetary rewards, for example, engender internal competition, and are not conducive to collaboration. "It doesn't create a corporate culture that promotes the values," Miller says.
Instead, he suggests creating incentives tailored to each individual's needs. For example, if one staff member wants to work from home on alternate Fridays, give him or her that option.
> Create "intrinsic motivation"
How do you foster a work environment that motivates employees to come to work? Dangling perks to ensure the job gets done isn't necessarily the answer. Rather, the key is to develop "intrinsic motivation" — non-tangible benefits — so they can derive satisfaction and meaning from the work they do.
One example is giving them a degree of autonomy to shape their daily schedule, Miller says. You can define the parameters, such as deadlines and measurable targets, Miller says. But give the employees some control over how they manage their workload. It demonstrates that you trust them to meet your expectations.
For example, you might determine how many prospects a team member needs to contact each week, but leave it up to him or her to determine how to accomplish that goal.
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