Money can buy you happiness—but only to a certain amount. Experts reckon the correlation peaks at around $75,000 per year, and employees whose salaries rise above this cutoff are not reporting any major boost to their happiness levels. They're not even feeling less sad. And that might throw a major monkey wrench into how we think about motivating people at work.
For sure, money is important. If you stopped paying your staff, you'd get no work done, and you'd be filing for bankruptcy pretty quickly. But relying only on cash to motivate is missing a trick. For most personalities, money is the result of hard work, not the motivator that gets them working hard in the first place.
Here's what matters more than money, based on personality type.
Mastery Or, "I Need to Be the Best"
Some people enjoy the challenge of getting better at what they do. Staying in the same job role is fine as long as they are learning but at some point they'll get frustrated. Once they lose the sense of progress, the job will become frustrating, their interest will wane and in the end, they'll just give up.
Personalities that are motivated by mastery: INTJ, ENTJ, INTP, ISTJ, ESTJ
How to motivate them: These personalities respond well to challenges so keep pushing them out of their comfort zones! If the day job is too routine or too simple, they'll get bored. Stretch goals, training sessions, the opportunity to train and mentor others-these strategies will give them the space they need to reach a little higher, get a little better, and continue to master skills and grow.
The one word of caution here is that some personalities will feel out of their depth if you push them too far out of their comfort zone. While an INTJ will romp off and master anything he is interested in, an XSTJ will be nervous about flying too close to the sun. These types are more comfortable becoming masters of what they know rather than experts in, well, everything. It's harder to push the Sensors out of their comfort zones, so take care to find the Goldilocks tasks—challenges that are not too hard and not too simple.
Creativity, Or "Show Me the Ideas Money"
A good chunk of your employees are ideas people. Give them the ability to act on their own initiative and imagination, and they will take charge and spread their reach. The motivation here is the idea itself, and not the process that comes after it or the resulting salary payment.
Personalities that are motivated by creativity: ENTP, INTP, ENTJ, INTJ, INFJ, ENFJ, ENFP
How to motivate them: Have you thought about rewarding your people with an "ideas" bonus? Creativity is hard to quantify, but this is a good way of giving it some tangibility. Have your staff propose a creative idea (complete with implementation steps and processes so you can see whether the idea is achievable ) that would help improve the business in some way. If it's implemented, the employee gets a cash bonus!
Purpose, Or "I'm Working Towards Something Bigger"
Some people need to know they are working towards something bigger before they'll put in the maximum effort. They need a goal that is larger and more important than themselves to be properly productive and engaged. Purpose is what gets them out of bed in the morning; why bother putting any effort in if your heart isn't in it?
Personalities that are motivated by purpose: INFJ, INFP, ENFP, ENFJ, ISFJ
How to motivate them: To motivate these folk, you have to get them caring about the outcome of their labor. That's easy if you're a value or ethics-led business, but not so easy for everyone else. One option is to expand your employees' reach. Could they use their skills to benefit local non-profits? Can you provide case studies and photos, or put your people in touch with your customers, so they can see how your products and services are helping to improve people's lives?
Duty, Or "My Word if My Honor"
For some personalities, simply carrying out the organization's goals counts as doing something bigger. These personalities are motivated by duty: if they say they'll do something, they do it and hold nothing back. These personalities will always strive to meet their obligations, irrespective of the external reward.
Personalities that are motivated by duty: ISTJ, ESTJ, ISFJ, ESFJ
How to motivate them: You don't have to do very much at all since for these folks, motivation comes from within. Be sure to give them discrete projects with plenty of opportunities for closure, and offer lots of praise and recognition for a job well done. These types tend to be quite traditional and respond well to promotions and job titles.
Leadership, Or "I Need the View From the Top"
When it comes to earning power in the workplace, ENTJ, ESTJ and ENFJ personalities repeatedly hit the jackpot. All three types are practical people, and, at the same time, very go-getting. ENTJs in particular are a walking hostile takeover; they like to run the show. These traits are highly valued in the workplace so there's no surprise that ENTJs top the poll in terms of salary, rank and promotion prospects.
Personalities that are motivated by leadership: ENTJ, ESTJ, ENFJ, ESFJ, INTJ
How to motivate them: These types tend to be mercenary about their careers; when it's time to move on, they move on and nothing, not even a thick wad of cash will encourage them to stay. At the same time, if you don't pay them enough, your leaders will be moving on faster than you might expect. This is less to do with a desire for money for money's sake, and more that these types have a keen idea of what they're worth. Lowball salaries insult them because it means you haven't valued them enough.
The best motivator though, is leadership.These types project authority like no other, so give them plenty of opportunities to lead.
Flexibility, Or "Let Me Do It My Way"
For some personalities, trust and flexibility is the greatest gift you can offer. These freewheelers find procedures dull and routines stifling. They'd much rather have an agenda of tasks to accomplish in a certain window, than be clock punching.
Personalities that are motivated by flexibility: ENTJ, ENFJ, INTP, ENTP, INFJ, INTJ, ISTP, ESTP, ISFP
How to motivate them: If tasks can be done outside core hours or away from the office, then let them be done that way. These types won't be boxed in and need as much wriggle room as possible to push boundaries. Support their need for autonomy by giving people real control over various aspects of their work—whether it's deciding what to work on or when to do it. Flexibility shows that you trust your people to do things their way.
Belonging, Or "I Want to be a Member of Something"
Some people want desperately to be a member of something, whether that's a close-knit customer service team or a major symphony orchestra. They need to have a sense of belonging and connection, and get a lot of confidence from "being accepted" as a member of the group.
Personalities that are motivated by belonging: ESFJ, INFP, ENFJ, ENFP, ISFJ, ESFJ
How to motivate them: When the need to belong outweighs any other motivation, money included, you must place the person in a team. Having them work alone in the print room is a one-way ticket to misery. These folks need to be part of a gang, period. Pats on the back from the team leader, sending cards on birthdays, extracurricular bonding sessions and pizza lunches all play into their sense of belonging. You show the employee: we care about and value you.
Excitement, Or "I Want to Ring the Changes"
Excitement is the drug of choice for some personalities: for these folks, spontaneity is everything and so much more important than the safety net of money.
Personalities that are motivated by excitement: ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, ISFP
How to motivate them: Sports courses? Spa services? The ability to work from any place, any time, with anyone? These people want to be treated with minimal routine and loose boundaries: they're motivated by novel activites that break up the day. Breaking the rules is par for the course of these personalities, so keep a loose reign. In the end though, these types need to know that their efforts are appreciated. A well placed "great job!" goes a long way.