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Q.
One of my team members quit, and management won't be replacing her. How do I motivate staff to take up her duties without extra compensation?

A.
Businesses today often slash budgets and staffing without regard to the effect their decisions have on the people doing the work. This results in skeleton teams whose paychecks don't increase while their workloads mount.

According to a McKinsey Quarterly survey, there are three nonmonetary motivators that can work as well as financial incentives. The first is direct praise, where you focus on, for example, a staffer's quality of work or specific achievements. Second is leadership attention, where you engage in private conversations with staffers, asking for their opinions on work-related matters. Last is leadership opportunity, where you give staffers a chance to spearhead projects that can provide interesting challenges and increased status.

I would also add to these the findings of Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics and psychology. His research concluded that showing employees the concrete results of their work – e.g., customers helped, revenues increased, widgets sold – can exercise an elevating effect on motivation, because when workers know they're contributing to a group effort, they feel a sense of purpose. Used together or separately, these methods engender recognition and respect, which, when it comes to compensation, can be as good as gold. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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