How do you keep employees motivated and engaged? The answer just might lie in a concept developed some 30 years ago by a Sloan Fellows Professor of Management at MIT. Anne Field writes in "Getting a Handle on Employee Motivation," on HBS' Working Knowledge today that Edgar Schein's career anchor concept, which states that people are motivated primarily by priorities that define how they see themselves and their work, is especially relevant in today's uncertain business climate.

According to Schein, employees are motivated by one of eight anchors, including:

Technical/functional competence People interested in consistently honing their crafts.

General managerial competence People interested in gaining the skills and opportunities to "climb the ladder."

Entrepreneurial creativity People eager to create something of their own and run it. (Frequently, they also leave to start their own businesses or run one on the side.)

Field's article goes on to explain more anchors and how to employ them in assessing your employees' motivations and how to formally recognize them in the workplace.

Have you ever used these anchors to help motivate your employees? What are your secrets to motivating your workforce in uncertain economic times?