You Run a Business! You Hire People! Now Motivate Them!

by Kacey Larsen
Motivating Employees


Editor’s Note: Dave Yoho’s hiring and training techniques have been utilized by Fortune 500 companies as well as entrepreneurs. Qualified Remodeler asked for his response to this current industry challenge: Find, hire and motivate people.

In management jargon, one of the most sought after yet overused and least understood concepts is that of motivation. To improve understanding of how best to accomplish this goal, examine the current prevailing wisdom. Call them rules of motivation, if you like.

You cannot motivate people to do what you’d like them to do, or to fulfill management’s goals, or often to do what is in their own best interest.

Exhorting someone to fulfill a goal and offering compensation as an incentive does not necessarily compute as a successful model. If it did, why is it that many people succeed for a period of time in their job role, yet ultimately fail in fulfilling the requisites for which they were hired?

An example: A salesperson sells a specific amount (dollar volume) of business and is compensated on an incentive basis. In an effort to increase sales performance, management raises the amount of the incentive, frequently including a share of the perceived profitability, believing this constitutes motivation. Frequently, the salesperson sells less business, yet at a higher incentive the salesperson makes as much or more than they had previously. The outcome: The salesperson perceived their increased incentive as a means to do less and earn the same amount or more.

Organizations can create an environment in which people often motivate themselves; this is defined as creating a motivational environment.

When people understand their potential and limitations, they can utilize their prevailing awareness to accomplish tasks and complete goals that might otherwise be unattainable. Creating a motivational environment is not just in the hands of upper management. A primary responsibility is that of the first (immediate) line of supervision.

Managers do not manage production, sales or budgets. They manage people—who are hired to perform tasks, which will create improved efficiency, produce more sales, increase production, maintain or improve customer satisfaction, and sustain or increase profitability.

A major requirement of improved management methods starts by having an understanding of the perception and the value system of the person being recruited, originally during an interview—then if hired, while in training, and also later in “day-to-day” management.

Research indicates there are three major components to (attempt to) uncover during the interviewing process:
1) Can they do the job?
2) Will they do the job?
3) Do they fit the organization and its model of operation?

The concept of “can they do the job” is often muddled by the false perception of both the interviewer and the applicant. It is often further contaminated by résumés, which portray the applicant in a favorable light but often have little relevance to the applicant’s ability to perform tasks for the hiring company. In addition, many companies do not have written job descriptions, which clearly define what is expected of a hiree.

As to “will they do the job,” this has more to do with the applicant’s past history, which in today’s world is difficult to receive from past employers. We recommend the use of assessments, which enable management to determine the behavior the applicant will normally utilize in the performance of assigned duties, how they function with increased stress, and where they mask their behavior to accommodate the environment in which they are expected to perform their tasks.

The issue of “do they fit the organization and its model of operation” often depends on whether they can be managed, by whom and how compatible will they be with those with whom they interact (including customers).

Our response to these three components is to utilize a behavioral profile. The goal is to provide the interviewer with a road map to better define the behavior of an applicant in terms of “can and will they do the job” being offered.

I have been personally involved with the use of behavioral profiling since my graduate studies in human behavior many years ago. Our company developed a unique system for using profiles. In 2016, we introduced a newly designed, more informative DISC instrument.

Its purpose is to aid management in better understanding the behavioral implications of those they interview and those within their organization. It has enabled management to understand the causes of costly turnover, while enabling them to correct unwise communication processes among employees, customers and management.

Utilizing this newly created behavioral profile, we detect issues that might not be apparent in a conventional interview, while reducing costly “mis-hires.” The proper use of a behavioral profile creates insights into the applicant’s perception and opens the door to better understanding of the individual’s value system and what their motivational drives are.

  • Some of the potential outcomes with the appropriate use of a profile:
  • Utilizing information provided in the profile to uncover behavior of someone who might succeed in the specific role.
  • Avoid selecting someone purely on early perception, whose behavior might not fit the role requirements and may fail.
  • Placing an individual in a positive environment that creates a potential for success.
  • Avoiding unwarranted judgments regarding the capabilities, skill level and adaptability of those being interviewed or selected.

Returning to the issue of motivation, the next statement may seem contradictory to some of what has already been stated:

All people are motivated to do what they do at all times—whether the actions are in their own best interest or not—and most people do things for their reason, not yours.

The tardy employee, those who rebel against authority, those who are disruptive at meetings and/or training sessions, and even those who break policy and rules despite the consequences for such actions are motivated to do what they do. While we might not be in a position to define what motivates someone to do any of the latter, there is a payoff; otherwise the behavior would not be repeated.

If behavioral profiling unearths a perception or a style of behavior that is inconsistent with the needs of the interviewing company, it is better to determine this earlier than later. Without the use of valid instruments, which most often determines these otherwise hidden factors, hiring frequently becomes “mis-hiring.”

Beyond meeting the needs in the recruiting process, the profile has to be part of a simplified administration process. This enables recruiters to perform their task more efficiently.

Behavioral profiling works best:

  • If it is self-administered electronically with simple instructions and is adaptable to both large and small recruiting programs.
  • If it can be utilized in developmental training for team building or internal promotions by retaking it at measured intervals.
  • If the profile has the capability of immediate and simplified interpretation.
  • If, with support and interpretative information provided, it does not require extensive educational development of management personnel.
  • If it is an evaluation tool that is easy to understand and simplifies management’s comprehension of the complexity of human behavior as it applies to the environment in which an applicant will be expected to function.

An individual’s completed profile can provide information, which can determine their usefulness for interacting with  customers/prospects and vendors.

The next step is to define “how can John Doe be managed within the organization and who will be his manager?” Again, the instrument can define the “who” by assessing the behavioral style of his direct manager, who has taken the profile.

Ultimately, the success of an individual within a company often depends on how they are managed, how their skills are evaluated, and how their strengths and weaknesses are utilized as an employee/associate. Once these issues are recognized, you are on your way to creating a motivational environment. |QR

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear and see Dave Yoho and top experts at a live conference on Hiring the Right People and Avoiding the Wrong Ones, October 25 through 27. The program is industry supported. For more information, visit: or call (703) 591-2490.

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