If you haven’t noticed yet, today’s employees aren’t motivated by just a paycheck. In a study, nine out of 10 employees were willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings to find greater meaning in their work. People are willing to quit their jobs and make considerably less just to find purpose at work. Gone are the days when the incentive to do better was a bonus or salary increase — aka “the carrot and stick” motivation approach.

Don’t get me wrong, money is still a good motivator, but compensation alone doesn’t have that much of a long-term impact on performance. Today, employees want more than just a paycheck. They want to feel a sense of purpose and like their contributions provide value to the business. They want job satisfaction in addition to good compensation. Employees who feel connected to the business are more likely to perform better.

While there is no magic solution to creating an engaged and motivated workforce, there are steps learning and development (L&D) professionals can take to help move the needle. And that starts with supporting and working together with their organization’s managers.

Drive Performance With Manager Support

Managers are ultimately the main source of motivation for their teams and can either drive it or diminish it. Managers account for 70% of the variance in team engagement, which means they hold the key to motivating employees to perform at their best. Providing managers the tools and skills to lead their teams effectively can help them influence better business outcomes.

However, just like their employees, managers need support. L&D professionals can offer powerful tools to managers to help them motivate team members and improve performance. By working together, management and L&D can make a positive impact.

Let’s evaluate a few ways L&D can work with managers to improve the performance of their teams:

  1. Increase job satisfaction: When team members have opportunities to learn new skills and develop their expertise, they tend to feel happier in their roles. This can increase job satisfaction, leading to improved performance.
  2. Improve confidence: Learning new skills and knowledge can help team members feel more confident in their abilities. This confidence can translate into higher performance as team members are more likely to take on challenging tasks and work to their full potential.
  3. Encourage better communication: L&D initiatives can help team members improve their communication skills, both with each other and with external stakeholders. This can lead to better collaboration, more effective problem solving and ultimately, increased performance.
  4. Increase innovation: L&D can help team members stay up to date with the latest industry trends and technologies, which can spark new ideas and innovations. Encouraging team members to experiment with new approaches can lead to breakthroughs that improve overall performance.
  5. Clear career paths: Providing team members with clear career paths and opportunities for growth and development can help motivate them to perform at a higher level. Knowing that their efforts are leading to personal and professional development can be a powerful motivator.

By working with managers to address these keys (i.e., ensuring employees are learning new skills, have access to resources and support, and have clear career pathways inside the organization) L&D leaders can create an environment that motivates its people to succeed. And increased motivation and engagement are known to improve business outcomes. This can help managers tremendously.

Looking Ahead

L&D leaders are more than order takers or facilitators of training. They’re the backbone to the organization’s continuous development and success. To ensure the business continues to prosper, L&D must help their managers enable performance.

Partnering with managers can help create a positive and supportive work environment that motivates team members to perform at their best. By giving your managers the tools they need to succeed in their leadership roles, the organization can foster a culture of growth and excellence that benefits everyone.