Rob Ellerman

How to keep your wolf pack motivated with an adequate reward system


Not that too big a word, not too ambiguous in definition, often used nonchalantly as hashtag suffixes on every relevant social media platform. It’s essentially what keeps a person doing something that he does. It’s a process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors and involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior.

People who comprise your organization, the employees, the salespeople, the customer service people on the processors who come to work everyday to be happy and productive. These are examples of people who have proper motivation. They are more than just the cogs that keep the wheel turning, and they thrive in a culture that cares for their own individual successes.

Far from just a Pavlovian response, an effective rewards system within a thriving company culture fuels your people from being a mere spoke on the wheel. It keeps your wolf pack active and ready for the hunt, always. A rewards system in place enforces a stronger drive for members of the pack to think, feel, and act like the born champions they are.

It’s more than just that prized square on the wall of fame where the prestige that comes with being a member of the Employee of the Month is on full display. It’s more of just having their sights on a goal, it’s about how they get there that often counts the most. And most of the time, the lack of a rewards system counts as one of the biggest motivation killers.

Does this sound familiar? Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever worked your butt off for something that should’ve merited more than just “kudos” from the higher ups?

What a bummer, indeed

The proverbial pot of gold at the end of every person’s rainbow is there not just as a beautiful placeholder for something that’s not actually there. It’s meant to be life’s great reward to someone who has done his job the right way, in the most perfect manner, and who truly deserves it more than that damn leprechaun who sits beside it 24/7.

So, let’s keep the pot burning with questions and answers as we tread along the list of proper motivation builders and rewards club perks. Let’s go!

The Inadequate Reward System

What is the corporate culture of your organization, is it one where people are consistently happy? Is it one where people are kind of scared, afraid and not really rallying behind each other or operating in a functional way, emotionally?

Companies, whatever size or scale, are very much like families, and like so, can be both functional and dysfunctional. On both sides of the equation, there are times that motivation issues abound. It can easily spring from trivial pursuits but one of the biggest things that can affect people’s mood and their attitude is the presence of an inadequate reward system.

When there’s an inadequate compensation system or an irrelevant and unaligned compensation system, and people are not being rewarded adequately as they should, they don’t feel like they have a seat at the table. They do not belong.

Setting up a company culture where the rewards are set up in such a way that they’re not relevant to what should be compensated will often turn your workforce into sluggish humanoid beings that seem transient, oblivious to whatever goal you place in front of them. This is not an ideal scenario. Only people that have very aggressive bone structures like that set in place. Complete with the bonuses that come in the weirdest times, or specifically, bonuses that don’t come at times that are associated with team goals. This is never ok and in doing so, you mislead your pack and disassociate them with the particular goals you set.

People need emotional calibration. Every time you offer a reward to someone, you’re basically talking carrots and sticks, which is pretty much the cliche. But whenever you offer a reward and somebody actually gets rewarded, that actually creates an emotional response and those people are going to do more of that behavior.

If you don’t have alignment in your compensation strategy or compensation modes that are both useful for the individual and useful for the team as a whole, your people will feel that there’s an inequity among the workforce. They’ll lose motivation and begin to feel unappreciated, not being taken care of, and worst case scenario, they’ll begin to blame each other for everything that’s not working as planned.

That’s motivation killer number one in this list.

A Lesson from Dwight Schrute, Office Ninja

It’s pretty obvious that your overall work environment, or your office setting sits as the second best motivation killer in this list. It is often said that sunshine makes people feel really happy. I believe that for a fact, when I moved to Florida with my wife, one of the things that she talked about all the time is the fact that because she doesn’t have so many overcast days, and things like, that she’s able to get lots of sun and she feels really good about that. My point being that the physical environment directly affects her and impacts her mood, her overall disposition. Whether in an office setting or in a corporate setting, an office space that is dilapidated, unorganized or unsafe isn’t conducive toward productivity. It never is and never will be. Physical organization of different things can actually affect productivity, creativity, and you’ll be surprised at how color schemes and locational arrangements affect mood, in general. There is a science behind it and it has been proven time and again.

Take Google HQ for example. It’s all bubbly and happy, lots of color slides and stuff like that. It serves to motivate the people within the company, and just look at how far Google has reaped the rewards in full. I’m not saying that your company needs to have ping-pong tables and video games and everything else, but you do need to be cognizant of the fact that the environment that people work in actually affects their mood and their disposition.

Here’s a thought: A-players will always want to come to a place where they’re going to look good and feel good about being there. Unlike Dwight Schrute of The Office, who thrives in an otherwise humdrum physical setting, and fashions his name as “D.W.I.G.H.T.” Determined. Worker. Intense. Good worker. Hard worker. Terrific, and in his own words, always a padawan, but never a jedi. This comes as a lesson well-served.

You deserve better. Your wolf pack deserves better. Physical environment comes at number two on this list of motivation killers.

Arrested Development

More than a sitcom title, the term “arrested development” connotes or defines something or someone that has ceased to grow, or in this case, develop. Over the years, it has been studied that people begin to worry about their chosen careers when it begins to feel like a dead end. A black hole of sorts.

Number three on this list of motivation killers is lack of development.

When you have very naturally motivated people in your organization, those people are going to want to develop and grow in an environment that promotes the same. A company culture that supports career and personal development is a company that finds strength in its people because believe it or not, there was a time when companies could care less about growth and development in the office ranks.

When you don’t have a process for continual development for your salesforce, workforce, or the people in your company, what’s bound to happen is those people who are particularly ambitious are going to feel left behind. They’re going to feel like if they’re not learning, they’re not growing, and eventually, they’re going to feel that the organization actually doesn’t care much about them.

Monotony has nothing to offer other than the same old dish you had yesterday and that says a lot for a company or a startup that cares for the continuing development of their people. You see, people worry about their careers and the direction that the company is headed. Call it ambition but on the flip side of that, it’s actually really good for your company to take advantage of the fact you have people fueled by nothing less.

Invest in your people. Keep them growing, every time, all the time.

The Runner Ups

Inefficient collaboration.
Where there is an absence of a reliable decision-making structure in an organization, oftentimes what you’ll have is collaboration. When this happens, an ideal collaboration is where the parties involved are clear of their distinctive roles and abide by the rules set forth in pursuit of creative productivity.

Inefficient collaboration breaks down that decision making process and evidently, the effect is nothing short of a disaster. Even in the absence of a figurehead, the organization must respect hierarchy and in the presence of a fruitful collaboration, decisions matter the most.

The presence of super charged negativity in the workplace or the workforce is a strong motivation killer. It directly affects the organization in a bad way, and negatronic people make it always seem like it’s a worst case scenario, pessimistic as they are. They are the fault finders, blame mongers, and they usually hide in plain sight, slowly deterring the growth of your organization.

These are the types of people who find themselves wallowing in problems other than working towards finding solutions. They are perpetual cellar dwellers who love nothing but the dank sweetness of every underlying issue they can find. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of these negatrons.

The Fear of Failure.
There’s nothing more likely to stop a person dead on its tracks but to strike fear in that person’s heart. But the fear of failure, there is nothing more deadly. And in an organization where there has to be a certain level of organic things going on, or an established biosystem happening in a work environment, ideas are allowed to come to the forefront and vetted. Ideas are allowed to fail, crazy as it might sound, because if you’re not willing to do that and if you think that there’s only one way to do things, that’s when you’re going to lose.

To fear failure in itself is to allow failure to eat you up where you stand. A great company will not look down on an individual’s miscalculation, instead, it builds on the residual impact of that certain mishap and hopes to learn more from the experience, collectively.

Goal setting with clear and concise objectives help you and your company achieve targets as a whole. It helps promote a healthy culture and keeps your wolf pack agile all throughout the hunt.
Motivational keys are ideally kept in place within the company’s heart, and allowing it to freely stem out from the early days of training towards developing continued growth within the company will not only help you and your company achieve great lengths.

It also gives out the best rewards for your workforce.

Learn more about setting up an adequate reward system for your organization in this webinar from Rob Ellerman, only here at Mirku.