Motivating Employees: Numbers vs. Impact

Organisations typically set ambitious financial goals and then try to motivate their employees to reach them. For instance, a large utilities company may decide to double their market cap in 5 years. That’s an ambitious goal but honestly, why would employees care?

Sure, there’s an opportunity for career progression but they’d get the same opportunity by moving jobs. Maybe there’s a potential bonus? Most of us don’t care enough for maybes.

What we know is that we’re motivated by meaningful work. (Dan Ariely talks about this and so does Dan Pink). Each of us wants to do work that gives us purpose.

What if, instead of focusing on the numbers we focused on the impact of our corporate expansion? Doubling our market cap may also mean more jobs created and more customers served. Impact (when it’s genuine and communicated properly) is a lot more inspiring than financial targets.