Posted from http://www.jobsighter.com/2008/08/a-trusted-formu.html

There’s an old organizational formula that firms seem to have forgotten. It goes like this:

Performance = Ability * Motivation

The formula is simple. And it works.

The Piece We’ve Forgotten

Firms seem to remember the ability part to the formula, but not the motivation. Consider your screening process for a moment. If you’re like most organizations, you’ll notice that the majority of interview questions focus on the abilities of a candidate. Interviewers are good at screening for intelligence, experience, and skill set. But in the process hey’ve forgotten about motivation. They’ve forgotten that an average employee with high motivation will always outperform the gifted employee with low motivation.

Or if they haven’t forgotten, perhaps they’ve chosen to ignore motivation in the screening process. Assumptions have been made:

1. Motivation is difficult to determine
2. Everyone is motivated by the same things

I believe that these assumptions are fallacies. Further, I believe that not screening for motivators in the hiring process is one of the most common mistakes interviewers make.

How Do We Screen for Motivation?

Every position offers candidates a unique value proposition. A screener must determine whether the value proposition of the position matches the primary motivators of the candidate.

In order to do this, a screener must:

1. Determine the unique motivators of the candidate
2. Determine the unique value propositions of the position
3. Select the candidate that matches

Employees are highly motivated when the position’s goals match the employee’s unique motivators. A match will always correspond with a performance increase.

Note: Motivators Are Not (Usually) Monetary

Remember, motivators are much broader than monetary compensation. The majority of people are just like you. That is, they’re incentivized by intangibles. Things like, who they work with, the nature of the work, the company culture, the product they’re creating likely matter more than bonuses. When determining candidate motivators, you’ve got to dig deep. Listen to passions and values. Find out what excites a candidate about his work and you’ll find out what motivates him.

Views: 41

Comment by Ryan S Adams on August 13, 2008 at 8:12am
Not directly, though I believe anyone in a leadership position must learn about incentives. Top talent is strictly a volunteer workforce these days--they have plenty of alternate options. We must hit their motivation points in order to attract and retain them.

Thanks for the comment!

www.jobsighter.com
Comment by Vijay Rajappa on August 13, 2008 at 11:38am
A few questions regarding your post:
1) How does it apply to a fresh graduate - lack of experience will skew the motivating factors. As a fresh graduate (not too long ago) I was willing to accept any job with the same enthusiasm as long as it is in my area of interest.
2) How applicable is, checking motivation with respect to recruitment as against retention/performance appraisal. My understanding from the post is that despite motivation being a crucial criterion, interviewing managers ignore the line of questioning. Just adding a scenario or two to see how applicable it is:
Situation 1: What if the applicant was someone who sought the position out rather than you sourcing the applicant? In this situation, the applicant has the motivation and the enthusiasm to apply and appear for an interview - How do we quantify/ add weight to motivation here. In accordance with your post: Should they be given greater priority over people that were sourced by the HR? Since they have greater motivation?
Situation 2: What is the probability that motivation shown during an interview will transform to superior performance? - Motivation in layman's terms is "A carrot on the stick". The moment the employee decides that the carrot is no longer appealing - he/she leaves. Depending on when that occurs, it will affect your retention ratio.

It would be interesting to do some basic research on this subject. Also device a motivation questionnaire.

Just trying to understand your post better. It is a very interesting post and opens up new avenues for interviewing techniques.
Comment by Ryan S Adams on August 13, 2008 at 2:36pm
> 1) How does it apply to a fresh graduate - lack of experience will skew the motivating factors. As a fresh graduate (not too long ago) I was willing to accept any job with the same enthusiasm as long as it is in my area of interest.

The motivators may differ, but formula applies the same. In most cases a fresh graduate has less specific motivators. For example, many do not have well-defined career paths. General motivators such as: learning opportunities / growth potential.

> 2) How applicable is, checking motivation with respect to recruitment as against retention/performance appraisal. My understanding from the post is that despite motivation being a crucial criterion, interviewing managers ignore the line of questioning. Just adding a scenario or two to see how applicable it is:

> Situation 1:

How the candidate finds the job may relate to ability; it depends upon the job. If the position requires tenacity and ambition (ie. Sales) perhaps how they find the job could be an indicator of sales ability. Usually, at that early stage in the interview process it would be difficult to determine true motivators. Early on the candidates have perceptions about the job that prove accurate.

> Situation 2:

Your question could also take the form of, "What if motivators changes?". It's true. They can and they do change, but not as often as you'd suppose. When we're looking at motivators, we should be looking at a candidate's core values, their passions, the things that make them tick. These values are foundational and difficult to change. More often, the values of the company change and its candidate who feels alienated. The carrot on the stick changes to a piece of celery.

Great questions! I'm sure I've only scratched the surface with my answers, but it may be helpful. Keep thinking about these things and stay connected.

www.jobsighter.com

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