5 Tips to Use the Power of ‘Why’ to Boost Employee Performance By Susan Gunelius


What motivates you to work? While many leadership teams think the secret to boosting employee performance and job satisfaction is based solely on monetary rewards, team building events, training, awards, and a long list of other recognition tools, for most people, motivation lies in just one word — why.


Think of it this way. How many things do you do just because? You have no reason for your actions, and you don’t know why you do them. Now, think about how many things you do for a specific reason. You know exactly why you take action and either expect or hope for a specific result.


As human beings, we’re programmed to respond to the power of why from a very young age. Ask your child to clean his or her room, and they’ll most likely ask you why (before they learn that asking why they need to clean their room is a very bad idea). Brush your teeth! Why? Eat your peas! Why? Look both ways before you cross the street! Why?


You get the idea.


The power of why doesn’t disappear when you reach adulthood, and it’s just as important in the workplace as it is anywhere else in a person’s life. In other words, employees are motivated by why, and it’s up to the leadership team to communicate why to them.


You have to work late on Tuesday. Why? We’re launching a new product that failed in the past but we need you to develop the software/advertising/pricing/etc. for it. Why? We need you to start following this process instead of the one you’ve been using for years. Why?


Again, you get the idea.


Few people are motivated to dive into a new project or complete a task if they have no idea how their actions will impact the company, and even fewer are motivated if they have no idea how their actions will benefit themselves. Again, this is human nature, and you can’t really fault people for it. If you don’t look out for yourself, no one else will, right?


The key to improve employee engagement, performance, and job satisfaction in your company is to learn how to leverage the power of why. If you follow the five tips below to tap into the “why” at your organization, you’ll increase employee happiness, which naturally leads to happier customers, more sales, and business growth. After all, happy employees are your company’s most powerful brand advocates and source of word-of-mouth marketing!

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