Mid-Market CEOs: A Key to Motivating Employees

Behavior science solutions can increase the engagement and retention of talent at mid-market.

Behavior science solutions can increase the engagement and retention of talent at mid-market.

As a mid-market CEO, you have your hands full trying to attract and retain top talent, especially in today’s competitive landscape.¬†Research¬†from the Harvard Business Review shows that companies often struggle to create an environment where employees are motivated, engaged, and fulfilled. But a greater understanding of behavioral science can be a crucial tool for ensuring that midsize businesses maintain high levels of employee engagement and morale to drive company performance over the long term.

Behavioral science is a field of study that focuses on understanding human behavior and decision-making processes. It is an interdisciplinary field that integrates knowledge from neuroscience, sociology, psychology, and economics to create a thorough explanation of human behavior. In the context of employee retention, behavioral science may assist mid-market CEOs in determining the elements that motivate their workers.

Ownership builds commitment

Invite your employees to become co-creators of their jobs and workflow to the extent possible. Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, calls this the IKEA effect. The more work you put into something, the more ownership you begin to feel for it. Remember, people value something they own more than they value something they have yet to possess.

Simple things can significantly impact creating a sense of belonging to a company. For example, publicly announcing the staff’s contributions to a product or making their names visible to others. Providing bonding experiences outside of the office where employees can connect with each other will further leverage this effect. People that spend time together will bond and stick together longer.

Add Urgency and Exclusitivty to Your Messaging

When you have development opportunities available to your talent that would benefit them, but they are not engaging with these opportunities, add urgency to the messaging. For example, you could state there are limited seats, and time is running out for them to register for this training  

You can also let them know they have been selected for this offering as part of an exclusive group because they are one of the company’s high potentials. Make them feel special and explain how this opportunity could benefit them. After completing, send them a certificate or acknowledgment they can display.

Reward Your People

Rewards can be tangible or virtual, but make sure they confer status, provide access to something exclusive or provide recognition to that person. You don’t want your employees to start expecting something when they exhibit good behavior. But a well-used, occasional gift or reward can go a long way to strengthening relationships and motivating the kind of loyalty companies seek.

By applying these behavioral science concepts, mid-market organizations can create a competitive advantage. As we’ve discussed, the endowment effect, urgency and exclusivity principles, and reciprocity principles can, when used properly, significantly impact employee motivation and retention. Mid-market companies must stay abreast of the latest research and consult experienced specialists in organizational behavior to ensure success against larger corporations. Ultimately, using behavioral science principles in managing human resources is invaluable. Establishing standard policies today can ensure continued success tomorrow.

Charles Good 
President, Institute for Management Studies
775-322-8222  |  ims-online.com  |  charles@ims-online.com

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