More from Tedx, this time in Philadelphia, where Adam Grant discusses the most effective method for motivating employees, and it’s free.

Adam Grant spent some time in a call centre in the Midwest. He arranged for a group of trainees to meet an “internal customer” or an employee from another department whose job depends on the sales brought in by these trainees. The result was a 20% increase in revenue per shift. Of course, the meetings were combines with inspirational talks from the CEO; but nevertheless, Grant was convinced that these kinds of interactions were the key to increased motivation. So he tried the experiment another half a dozen times.

He applied the same method to another call centre; this time the centre was trying to raise funds for local universities. With these teams, he arranged for a scholarship student to give a short talk to employees about how receiving this scholarship funding had changed his life.

This small act of showing the employees exactly what happens to the money they raise lead to similar successful results. In one month, the average employee spent two and a half times longer on the phone per week than in previous months. Plus, the number of calls they made per hour doubled and their work became more effective, they brought in five times more money. The nature of the work had not changed, it was still unpleasant and stressful, yet employees were significantly more engaged.

Why? Because the workers were brought face to face with the value of the work they are doing.

So, how does this apply to other businesses? Well, not every business can tug on employees heart strings with a scholarship students or grateful internal employees. But fortunately, gratitude in any form has the same effect. The only task is to find the value of the work and present it to the employees in a way that resonates.

Mark is the General Manager of Power2Motivate APAC, delivering world class employee recognition and B2B loyalty programs to a wide range of clients.

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