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Money doesn’t motivate me!  Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a lie.  I like to make money, but it isn’t the only thing pushing me forward.  I like money for what it represents.  For me, money says, “Hey, you did a great job!”  And it follows that the more money I make, the better the job, right?  Well, it turns out that’s not necessarily true.  My last year working for a major corporation was my best earning year ever!  It was also my most miserable.

This last year, working in the beauty business from a completely different angle, has been one of the best years of my life!  Not as much money, but the happiness factor far outweighs having a little less cash.  All of us have those motivating factors that drive us to work each day, and it is different for each one of us.  After all, if money was the only motivating factor then we would all work in the money markets!

As an employer or an employee it is important to understand what motivates those around us.   When employers and managers understand the motivating factors of EACH employee they will also have a better understanding of how to move that employee forward.  As an employee, understanding your own motivators and those of your fellow employees, means that interpersonal relations are enhanced and misunderstandings are minimized.

Here are a few of the most common motivators for people in the workforce:

  • Creativity and the desire to build, engineer, develop, and design. Very evident in our industry!  What greater reward is there than creating something new and wonderful!
  • Recognition; you want to BE someone; you want to be noticed and perhaps admired as someone who stands out in the crowd.
  • You want to make a difference. The work you do and your attitude affects people around you.  You want your work to count and to have an impact!
  • Flexibility and the ability to be able to make your own schedule and go where you wanna, wanna go!
  • Knowledge and the desire to research, learn, and develop skills.
  • MONEY! Not necessarily the root of all evil, it can be the underlying driver to another motivating factor, like freedom to learn or travel.

Stylist cutting hair of a female client at the beauty salon

Research shows that the happiness factor is the leading edge in developing successful people. An employer who is invested in finding the drivers of the people in their business and takes the time to develop those keys, will have a happier, more contented staff.  All things are not created equal and neither are people.  Perhaps the expectation that we are all made from the same cloth and moved by the same things is one of the reasons we are seeing so many service providers heading for chair and booth renters.  They get to dance to their own drummer.

The big question is how do we create a comprehensive system of management for our businesses and still take into consideration the needs and wants of the individual?  The answer is exactly the same as the question!  If we understand the main motivators, then we base the systems around the motivators rather than trying to make all the square pegs fit into round holes.  Otherwise we are creating an unworkable set of rules and precedents that breed misunderstanding and resentment.

You already know that the Two Blondes are big fans of order and systemization.  It makes it easier for owners and managers to step away from their businesses if everyone knows what is expected of them and how to carry out the day-to-day operations.  And you probably already know that each different motivator will interpret a policy in a different manner.  For example, a “creator” will interpret a dress code differently from a “money” motivator. Still, you want a dress code in your space.  Therefore you have to create a policy that allows creativity as well as balance.

Tricky, yes, but worth the time and consideration you put into your policies. The happiness factor is the number one reason your people will stay with you, and employee happiness is often determined by how well the boss interprets their needs and wants.

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