By Jared Weitz, Founder & CEO of United Capital Source Inc.
You've probably had the feeling that some of your employees don't share your passion for your work. The odd thing is, they don't seem to mind. Apparently, these employees are completely fine with working for a company that is in no way connected to their own beliefs or goals. You'd think that having no personal investment in their employer would hinder their work ethic. But much to your surprise, they work very hard, even if they are being paid an average salary at best.
You might wonder how anyone could work for a company they don't believe in. After all, you wouldn't have started your business without passion. But passion is far from the only effective source of sustainable motivation. Here are four things that can be just as motivating as genuine passion:
Knowing Your Work Matters
The startup boom suggests that a highly important position can be more fulfilling than a highly lucrative position. It's rare to know that your input and productivity are having a significant and direct impact on your company's success. Such opportunities are therefore not taken for granted.
In these cases, the company's goals become your employee's goals. Instead of working hard for the company, they're working hard to prove just how good they can be. Let's say you've taken a high position in a young company. You might not share the CEO's vision, but when that company doubles in size, it's largely because of you.
As the CEO of an alternative business financing company, I am well-aware that some of my team members have things they're more passionate about than small business loans. But unlike our biggest competitors, my team members can rightfully say: "That client's business is growing to unprecedented heights because of my skills." When speaking to new clients, we get to know their businesses inside out and develop payment systems that suit their unique circumstances. So when a client succeeds, it's often because someone from my team was able to provide the right solution, one that client likely could not find anywhere else.
Knowing You Are Trusted
People who are struggling to find a decent job often say, "I wish someone would just give me a chance." You can't blame them. Gaining the trust of someone who previously had no reason to believe in you is extremely motivating.
Trust is a major motivational tool at my company. My team members make a conscious effort to get to know our clients on a personal level. We assure them that we are looking after their finances as if they were our own. No, my team members might not be passionate about every client's industry. But knowing the client is putting his or her business's future in our hands is an honor that deserves to be taken very seriously.
Knowing You Are Helping Good People
A high salary isn't so satisfying when you don't like being at work. When you do like being at work, however, a subpar salary or a disagreement with the company's vision don't seem that bad. So, why would someone like being at work despite these conditions? Fun, kind and inspiring co-workers. You work hard to make your friends happy. When your boss and co-workers are your friends, tasks are more like favors. You might not share their passion but you'd never refuse to help a friend in need.
Knowing You Aren't Helping the Wrong People
Your employees might not all love what your company does, but their work can still be satisfying if they personally dislike your competition. This is particularly relevant for employees of small businesses, which frequently compete with big box industry giants. For these employees, their greatest source of motivation might be knowing they are thwarting the dominance of their widely despised competitors.
My company's biggest competitors are banks. You don't have to be a business financing enthusiast to share a distaste for the way banks treat people in general. They are notoriously cold to potential borrowers and don't seem to care whether their businesses exist or not. I try my best to create a win-win culture in which my team can feel good about where they work and know they are a part of their clients' success.
As I said before, many believe that in order to be your best self, your work must reflect your personal passions. I believe that these four things can be effective when it comes to motivation.
Jared Weitz is Founder & CEO of United Capital Source Inc.