Do You Know The 5 Types Of Employees And How To Motivate Them?

As a leader of an organization or team, it’s common to struggle to get your employees to be more driven. If you are an entrepreneur or CEO you are more flexible in ideas you can attempt. If you are an executive or manager, you probably have company and HR guidelines you have to follow but in most cases, the mistake I see leaders make is thinking that there is a single solution for everyone in the team. Is diversity and inclusion not the goal? So why would a diverse team fit into a single box when it comes to getting them to be more driven and productive? You might be saying “Artin, I have a team of 350. I don’t have time to understand each person at an individual level.” The good news is that you don't have to. There are five types of employees most people fall under.


Today I want to describe to you the five types and what can get them motivated, which not only is good for your business but good for the growth of the individual.


5 Types of Employees


Type 1

These employees are extremely content where they are and they can come across as lazy. Doing the bare minimum to get by and rarely stepping up to help other team members or volunteering for a large assignment. Unfortunately for these types of employees, the only motivating factor is a major life event and usually a negative one. A bad breakup, a health scare, loss of a loved one. All you can do is keep your eyes and ears open so you are aware that this type of employee is going through a life-changing event and if it results in their productiveness to go up, to feed their drive with assignments and challenges.


Type 2

These employees say the right things to come across as driven and motivated but usually lack follow-through and action. They also tend to be jealous of others who are getting promoted and recognized, not realizing that the lack of action is what is holding them back. To motivate this type of employee you need to create a sense of urgency and incentivize them to take action. The urgency can be created by assigning them a project with a hard deadline and the incentive can be the potential positive personal brand image they will acquire, which you have to sell them on.


Type 3

These employees are extremely hard working but seem very content. They are not very vocal about their career growth but show up each day, are extremely dependable, and get the job done without too much direction. You often wonder why they are working so hard and what their end goal is. The reality is that this type of employee just needs to be exposed to bigger things and bigger thinking people so they can see what is possible. Finding them a mentor who can expose them to books and be a sounding board is an effective way to get this type of employee to be more competitive and produce even more than they do today.


Type 4

This type of employee is considered “talent” in most organizations. They are hardworking but also competitive. They are focused on career growth which results in them going above and beyond to prove to others what they are capable of and driving significant business value. To keep this type of employee you need to recognize them and feed them with challenges or they will quickly become bored and unsatisfied with their job and eventually leave. Without making goals and setting ambitious new milestones in their life and business, they can very easily switch types.


Type 5

The final type is junior or mid-level executives that are super ambitious. They have already proven themselves to reach this level but they are not content. They are laser-focused on career and personal growth and are confident in what they bring to the table and the business value they can add. Being privileged with more information and surrounded by other executives, they know what the possibilities are and will not be shy about voicing their desires. Financial recognition is what keeps them going and winning for their family and leaving a legacy is very important for this elite group. This is a very small group in every organization. To keep these A-listers in your organization you need to challenge them in new ways. A most common approach is a re-org that puts them in charge of a completely new team or function, which fuels their drive and ego to show everyone they are going to be successful.


Now that you know the five most common types of employees, come up with a simple approach to categorize them. If you have a team of six, you can do this in 10 minutes. If you have a team of three hundred, you need to engage leaders in your team to help you with the process. Once you have categorized them, dedicate time to develop programs and strategies that are unique to each type and for type 5, the strategy might be at an individual level since there will only be a handful of people in this category. If you are a leader, don’t forget that you did not start out as one. You had to be challenged and guided as well, which I believe is one of the top responsibilities of a leader. You can also be honest with yourself regarding which type you are right now and come up with a plan for how to get where you want.


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