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How Do You Motivate Employees? Ask Them.

Michael Bertrand
by Michael Bertrand on January 25, 2013

employeeFor the second year running Google landed in the number one spot on Fortune's Best Places to Work list. What makes the search giant so popular with employees? This week Slate Magazine gave us a peek at what drives Google's engagement engines - the employees.

Google uses a team of sociologists in their People & Innovation Lab to look into the well-being of their employees and “listen” to what motivates them. Consistent with Google's culture, the company vacuums up and crunches enormous amounts of data on their way to getting a better understanding of what worker's want. Data-mining the workforce, while it works for a search and analytics company, might not be the best way for every organization to take the pulse of workers. But the point is that Google listens to employees.

Somewhere between walking the halls and taking repeated surveys is a way that every organization can dialogue with the workforce.  A company’s intranet is a good place to start. Posing the question “what motivates you to give your best” in a prominent article can get the ball rolling. Employees can give their answers in comments right on the portal. I guarantee you the answers will be a lot more useful than a pile of surveys.

But one word of caution. If you’re not going to take the answers seriously, don’t ask the question.

Michael Bertrand
Written by Michael Bertrand

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