Do we know ourselves?
It’s not too big a leap to appreciate that the priority we each place on motivational factors such as money, status, home life, and competiveness, to name but a few, will have a major impact on the objectives we set ourselves and on the way in which we behave, including the way in which we relate to and treat others. From this, we can see that understanding what motivates a job applicant will be essential if we are to recruit talent that will make a real contribution towards the success of the organization.
Yet, the fact is that most of us don’t even really know ourselves that well. Why we each end up doing the things we do often seems more like a matter of pure chance than self-determination. We know we have wants and needs but we don’t know why these are important to us. The best we can say is that this is the way we feel. Underpinning this are our motivations and it turns out that in terms of job-related success and success in life in general there are a number of motivational factors that play a key role in determining whether we will succeed or fail. We know this because through the deployment of evidence-based recruitment processes, we have been able to ascertain the relationship between these factors and job-related achievement.
In turns out that to a greater or lesser extent, similar matters are important to all of us and influence what motivates us. We all like money for example. Some people have a sufficiency and therefore while money motivates them, they experience no frustration over this. Others, lacking in this sufficiency may experience significant frustration. It’s not difficult to see that our motivation / frustration as regards money could have quite an impact on the targets we set ourselves and the way we go about reaching those targets.
What this tells us is that one of the keys to understanding how an individual will behave is to gain an appreciation of their Motivational Priorities. It turns out that it’s the difference between the ways in which we each prioritize our motivations that explains why we behave the way in which we do.
During the twelve-year program when we developed the concept of evidence-based recruitment, we worked with a number of well-known participating organizations who used our online Performance Appraisal Moduleto appraise their staff every quarter. Our approach to appraisal requires managers to rate their direct reports in terms of a series of job-specific performance factors and the way in which they undertake task action plans delegated to them as part of the appraisal process.
As a result of the in-depth nature of this approach, we gained an appreciation of the relationship between the way in which employees behave and how they perform when it comes to meeting the objectives of their jobs. Additionally, we learnt how to figure out the link between employees’ underlying motivational priorities and the way in which they perform. What we found was that, when it comes to identifying high performers, motivations are much more important than personality.
Learning about an individual’s personality will tell you something about how they behave. Learning about their motivational priorities will tell you why they behave the way they do. Personality goes to what is on the surface, motivational priorities go to character.