Sustaining Team Commitment: Part 1

Sustain team

It’s often said that HR has three primary responsibilities, the “three Rs”: recruitment, retention, and redundancy (or Removal!). Of these three, most HR departments seem to focus predominantly on the first and last of these. Indeed, this is understandable, as the middle one, retention, is by far the hardest to master.

Frankly incredible financial resources are going into recruitment, including payments to agencies and generous packages to secure top talent. Similarly, employee turnover rates in the UK are at a record high of 57.3% according to ApolloTechnical, which means more redundancy and more requirement to fill those empty seats. Some of that is to do with cost-saving in our era of uncertainty, aka organisations making employees redundant at a rate not seen since the economic crash, but even if we strictly limit it to voluntary turnover, the rate is a solid 25%. TeamStage figures are even bleaker, suggesting 81% of employees are “considering quitting their jobs”.

But why are so many people leaving or considering leaving their jobs? And why are so many employees deemed so unproductive as to be worth getting rid of? Surely, if money is an issue for organisations, then more bodies is a good thing as it theoretically means more productivity, even if some of those bodies are not performing at the very top level?

The answer to all these problems lies in motivation. Motivated employees not only pull their weight (studies reveal they can be up to 16x more productive—let that staggering statistic sink in), but they also tend to stick around because they are energised and fulfilled by what they do. There is, therefor, no question that the key to cracking employee retention is in motivation.

This seems simple. “All I need to do, then, is motivate my employees!” I hear you say. But sadly, if motivation were simple, then we would not have had a century or more of literature, research, and “experts” trying to pin down exactly what motivation is and how it works. In addition, organisations would not be in such a dire state. Recent research by TeamStage in their “Motivation Statistics: Numbers In 2022” paper reports only 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged! How, with all our research and knowledge and the growing awareness of things like EQ and mental health, could we have gotten it so wrong?

The answer is that motivation is still not fully understood, principally due to several popular-culture ideas that have arisen around motivation. For example, if we look at the common motivational strategies (or in other words: employee retention strategies), they are usually centered around one of two things: one-off events or lifestyle improvements.

The first of these approaches generally take the form of motivational speeches (they get in a guru to talk to employees about a relevant topic and “pump up” the staff), activity days (paintballing seems to be a common choice), or parties! Whoopee!

While none of these are bad in and of themselves, the problem is that their impact doesn’t last. After a week or two of being fired up, things go back to normal. I have heard stories, that would be funny if they weren’t distressing, of bosses taking their employees out on these fantastic activity days only, the very next morning, to grill them based on some performance issue. Not very motivational, as I’m sure you can imagine, and it totally undermines the benefits of putting on such an event in the first place!

To use a perhaps controversial metaphor, if you want to fix your company, to motivate your staff, you have to approach the organisation like you would a recovering addict. It’s very easy for an addict to remain clean—to behave differently—when they are whisked off to a facility and have no contact with their former world. But as soon as you drop that person back into their old world, the old habits come back and re-form. The change has to happen in the office environment. You can go on as many away days as you like, but the hard work is building this change into the fabric of every-day reality.

The second of these approaches is when the office is updated with various glamorous features: gaming consoles, for example, or special food cooked by an in-house chef, or gym facilities employees can use any time. The problem, here, is that the joys of luxury and extravagance—as anyone who has ever enjoyed a degree of wealth will know—wear off. If you only drink champagne and eat caviar even that becomes boring after a while! In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “The mind rebels against stagnation”. The one possible exception to this rule are those strongly motivated by The Defender, which values security and predictability, but even The Defender will leave their job if they feel that it’s all top-show and there is no deep, underlying security.

Sure, having foosball tables and gaming consoles is nice. But they’re just things. People will enjoy them for a while, but then move on. Even the Builder motivator, who likes to see material manifestations of success (the house, the car, the cash), will tire of glamour if there’s nothing in the organisation stretching them or appealing to their competitive spirit. Long ago, GK Chesterton observed: “The typical modern man is the insane millionaire, who has drudged to get money, and then finds he cannot enjoy even money, but only drudgery”. Material glamour may distract for a while, but eventually the deeper currents of human motivation will pull people towards something that rewards them at a deeper level.

If you want commitment from your employees, and have tried the former two strategies without success, it’s time to embrace the power of motivation; real motivation, not just “motivational speeches” (what in my younger day used to be called “Ra Ra motivation”) or one-off jolts of electricity to try and galvanise the corpse of your de-motivated workforce.

To do this, you have to touch on each of the nine motivators. In other words, you have to provide incentives that correlate to each of the nine drivers informing human behaviour. Whilst this may sound like a lot to do, the truth is it’s easy because with Motivational Maps we now have clear insight into what these nine drivers or motivators are. And it is probably going to be a lot cheaper than taking all your employees on an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai or hiring Tony Robbins to give a talk!

What, then, are these 9 motivators and how do they link with sustaining team commitment? In part 2 of this article we’ll look at them in a lot more detail.

Find out more about the nine-motivators, and how you can discover what specifically motivates your employees, by going to or contact one of our expert Motivational Maps Practitioners and also consider reading Mapping Motivation.




9 connecting threads

It’s all very well having a brilliant product or service, but no matter how good that product or service is, if you can’t position it with potential clients, you’ll never get buy in. Likewise, if you’re a business leader and you want your employees to complete Motivational Maps, you have to position it correctly with them, otherwise, no matter how insightful and useful the Maps are, the body politic will reject it!

So, how do we recommend organisations position the Maps to their staff? Here are 9 crucial steps! 

1) Be frank and open

Okay, this one is fairly obvious, yet it’s amazing how easy it is to get wrong. Many organisations forget to tell their staff not only why they are undertaking certain initiatives but when and what too! I distinctly remember one morning walking into an office where I had worked for a year, only to find the entire place in chaos and all the desks re-arranged. Management had decided it was time to refresh the work-spaces and optimise synergies between departments. However, I only found this out long after the fact! No one had had any idea what they were planning except the COO (Chief Operations Officer). Management expected people to just turn up, find their computer, and carry on without asking a single question!

Therefore, if you are going to use Maps with a team, department, or even your whole organisation, make sure you clearly communicate what is happening to everyone involved via multiple channels (email, announcements during face-to-face meetings, bulletins on the pinboard, etc!).

2) Reassure staff that this is ABSOLUTELY not going to be used for evaluation purposes (or linked to pay reviews) but for developmental reasons instead

Many employees can—justifiably—feel suspicious about any form of assessment in the workplace as there are many tools used to evaluate staff productivity, and this frequently result in layoffs and pay-freezes (even when this was not the original and intended use of the tool!).

Sadly, many employees feel they are already being excessively monitored at work, and if you do not correctly communicate what Maps is and what you’re trying to achieve with it, you run the risk of the Map being viewed as another form of control and needless data-gathering.

Reassure your staff, therefore, that the Maps is not linked pay-reviews, is not an evaluation tool, and that the aim is to develop your people and empower the employee by revealing what really drives them.

3) Be crystal clear about, and stick to, a well-defined process

In your communications, you should clearly outline what the process is going to be. When will the Maps be sent out, when do people have to complete it by, what will happen next (likely, they will have a session with a licensed Maps practitioner either in a group or one-to-one depending on the number of people involved)? The next challenge is of course to stick to this process as closely as possible so no surprises are in store for your teams!

4) Discuss how motivation and performance are linked and how traditionally training is always about skills, and motivation tends to be ‘assumed’ or overlooked

Firstly, many employers mistakenly tend to assume that money means motivation, but our research reveals that less than 10% of the population are actually motivated by financial incentives! We only need to look at the sheer number of people working for organisations such as the NHS to realise the truth of this! By acknowledging it, you will curry favour with your employees, because rather than patronising them with the idea that they are “only in it for the money”, you will instead be inviting them to reveal their true motivations, which are likely to be more complex. Having said this, some people genuinely are motivated by financial gain, and this is okay—all motivators are equal. The only “bad” situation from a Maps’ point of view is when our motivators are not being met!

Secondly, motivation is not competency. For example, if you have Creator as your lowest motivator, that does not mean you’re “not creative”. What it means is that creativity is not real a priority for you. Therefore, measuring motivation is not about measuring the skills of your employees, but about measuring their inner drivers.

Having said this, when we are highly motivated, we perform at a much higher level (studies recently conducted by TeamStage have shown a 20% increase in productivity as a result of being motivated at work; older studies show much higher figures!).

Explaining this nuance clearly to your employees, who may be more used to traditional modes of training and skills acquisition, will help them understanding the importance of motivation and the Maps.

5) Talk about the benefits and insist on positive expectations, refusing to accept any opt-in/opt-out scenarios, while simultaneously respecting confidentiality and consulting on how Map results are to be shared and disseminated

If you give people a choice as to whether to complete a Map or not, the battle is already lost! Your employees will be busy people, working hard, and even if they are intrigued by the idea of discovering their inner motivators, they are ultimately likely to decide that it is a distraction from their “real work” and that they need to prioritise X or Y client, or X or Y task. Therefore, you have to insist that completing a Map is part of their job, part of their development, in the same way as a meeting or an annual review. Reassure your staff by continually emphasising the positive benefits of Maps: “Maps will help you (a) discover what is really driving you, (b) open up clear channels of communication between people and departments, and (c) create a non-judgemental language with which critical issues can be discussed.”

In addition, and this correlates with point number 3 on this list, make sure your employees know how their Maps results will be shared, disseminated, or fed back on. Are you using Team Maps? If so, will that mean everyone in their team will eventually see their Maps profile? Or will only the licensed practitioner and upper management be able to see the results? Neither answer is right or wrong, but making sure this process is transparent is essential to get your staff on board with Mapping!

One other key aspect of the above is to set an example by completing your own Motivational Map! Employees are infinitely more likely to trust the process if you have taken the plunge first! We have noticed time and time again that the failure of the No 1 to do act, share a Map, or otherwise participate in the process proves extremely demoralising for most staff.

6) Especially emphasise the personal benefits of self-awareness and relationship building that staff will gain from the process and not only for work

The benefits of motivation go far beyond the realm of work, although work is where we predominantly tend to focus on the issue. The “shared language” Maps creates around motivation will allow employees to have real conversations around their behaviours without creating conflict.

This works due to the classic psychological principle of “distancing”. By talking about our “motivators”, they become almost separate from us. This means that if we want to give someone critical feedback we are no longer criticising themdirectly, we’re instead talking about these disembodied concepts.

For example, if Jane is a high Spirit motivator (so she values independence, autonomy, and freedom), and her boss, Mark, is a high Director motivator (so he values control of resources and people), then Jane can explain to Mark that his Director motivator is impinging upon her Spirit motivator—the Spirit does not like to be controlled! Or, vice-versa, Mark could explain to Jane that her Spirit motivator is causing him problems, as he likes to be certain about where people are at. This is much preferable to Jane calling Mark a “control freak” or Mark calling Jane a “loose cannon”, which is perhaps what would happen without the lucidity of Maps!

7) Explain that Maps are not a one-off hit but an ongoing programme

Unlike psychometrics which measure the 20% of personality that is fixed, Maps measures the 80% that is experiential and therefore changeable. We estimate that in periods of stability, a Maps profile can shift roughly every eighteen months. However, in periods of uncertainty and rapid change (like the one we’re living in now!) this process is significantly sped up. In addition, aside from changes in our profile—aka, the arrangement and order of priority of the nine motivators—our level of motivation can change. In fact, the whole aim of using Maps is to increase the motivation levels of our employees for higher productivity and performance.

Therefore, it’s important that you explain to your staff that this is not a one-off survey, a one-off event for a bit of fun, but something that will be continually revisited. At a deeper level this is about creating a culture around motivation at you workplace so that an understanding of motivation and a desire to perform highly are baked into the infrastructure of the organisation.

8) Explain the core superiority of maps over psychometrics/personality tools and specifically how Maps do not stereotype individuals, since motivation changes

Most people rightly fear that psychometrics and other personality tools will stereotype them. Many personality tools are falsely correlated with job roles (aka, X type of personality is suitable for a leadership role, but Y type of personality is a mere worker!). The Maps does not fall prey to this pitfall because it focuses on the 80% of our personality that can change, AND because unlike most psychometrics you are not identified as a type but as a preference. In other words, we have all nine motivators in our profile, but we prefer two or three of them at any given time! This is a subtle but essential distinction to make. Many employees express delight and relief when they realise that their Maps profile does not limit them, but on the contrary, shows the full extent of their potential!

9) Clarify that by focusing on motivation and performance these will grow in our collective experience and so we will all benefit accordingly

As mentioned in point number 6, the benefits of motivation go far beyond simply work. Whilst high motivation does generally lead to greater productivity which in turn correlates to high performance, when we are highly motivated we also begin to see benefits in other realms of our life. In short, we’re energised. If you were to ask yourself the question, “What would my life be like if I had 30% more energy?” the answer might stagger you! I have seen clients actually shed tears contemplating how much better their lives would be if they had more energy as a result of being fuelled by their activities rather than drained.

Shifting our focus from skills and efficiencies to motivation and performance is quite literally life-changing. Whilst you may not wish to “over-promise” to your employees, clarifying for them what a significant shift this change in focus represents will help them realise that you are not only trying to improve their work-lives but their entire lives—and what could be more compelling for your employees than that?

To get expert advice about Motivational Maps contact one of our licensed practitioners.




Runner crossing line

According to TeamStage’s Motivation Statistics: Numbers In 2022, only 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged and 81% of employees are considering quitting their jobs. These figures are pretty staggering, especially considering the diverse job options available in the modern market, the flexibility with working styles, and the way that companies allegedly incentivise their employees with benefits and bonuses. Clearly there’s a disparity between appearances and reality, and even with all the amenities of technology and with modern narratives of inclusivity and “soft touch” management, people are still deeply dissatisfied with their work and seeking change.

Job satisfaction comes from engaging in work in alignment with our motivators. If we know what motivates us, what drives us (another word for this might be: what we truly want), then we can find work that fulfils and fuels us, rather than drains our energy—therefore leaving us among the 85% of people who are disengaged at work!

We at Motivational Maps have a tool that can reveal the motivational profile of an individual, making the invisible visible, so that managers and employees can better align themselves with their inner drives.

But how does this process work? Here are 8 ways Motivational Maps can boost your business!


Motivated employees are more productive (20% more according to TeamStage, but other research has revealed they can be up to 16x more productive!) This is because when we are motivated, we have more energy. When people feel that they are acting in alignment with their motivators, they will always go the extra mile, not because they have to, but because they want to. The paradox most business leaders fail to understand is that in order to get what they want they have to give their employees what they want!

High productivity means high performance. And when staff know that they are performing at a high level, they feel good about themselves. Performing at a high level can become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, in that the more we perform, the more we realise we can perform. In teams—properly managed it should be said—this can become infectious, with everyone wanting to be part of an organisation that is truly delivering a valuable service or product.


Companies with actively motivated employees realize a 27% higher profit (TeamStage). It makes sense that the more productive we are, the more we perform, and therefore the more profitable our efforts become. Most organisations sadly focus on efficiency over performance. In other words, they concentrate on making sure the boxes are ticked, the paperwork filed on time, rather than empowering their staff to feel that they can really achieve results.


Employee Experience, or EX, is finally becoming a high priority for most serious business leaders. Mike Sharples and Nicholas Wardle’s new book Monetising The Employee Experience makes a compelling case for the psychological and monetary benefits of looking after staff as your first priority. In the words of Richard Branson, “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”

The core component of Sharples and Wardle’s EX manifesto is motivation—understand what drives your employees and you will very easily be able to engage them, because you know what they want!


Employee engagement and motivation reduces absenteeism by 41% (according to TeamStage’s research). When people are motivated and engaged, they actually want to be at work! We have all met these high-energy people at some point in our lives. Sometimes we wonder “How do they do it? What’s their secret? It must be drugs!” Motivation is indeed very much like a drug, can even be considered addictive in one sense, because the feeling of being energised, focused, and fulfilled is hard to beat.


Even if you are not sold on the idea that increased productivity leads to increased profits, discovering your employees’ motivators can save you money another way. Motivated employees are 87% less likely to resign according to TeamStage’s latest research. This is because their inner drives—their inner needs according to Maslow—are being met.

Motivational Maps is partly based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. What we call motivators are what Maslow referred to as “secondary needs”—secondary because they develop after the basic physiological needs such as food, water, and shelter have been met. In other words, our motivators are only one step away from the need to eat. No wonder, then, that demotivation—a condition where our motivators are not being met or fed—is such a bad place to be!

Consider your employees’ motivators, then, like the very basics of modern work: a desk or space to work, a cafeteria or a place to eat, and a salary. These things are essential. So are our motivators!


One of the biggest problems most business leaders and coaches face is scaling. Organisations with hundreds of employees are very unwieldy. It’s hard even for the best leaders to get a sense of the individual people operating in the far corners of the business. Coaches only have so many hours. Even if they run large group sessions, not everyone is going to get the attention and time they deserve. This is where technology can help us! Maps, being a digital tool, can infinitely scale. Every person who completes a map receives a 15 page report, packed with information that can help them. Motivational Maps has both Team and Organisational functions which mean that you can easily map an entire organisation. Beyond the basics of helping employees discover their alignments, this can reveal deeper trends and valuable information that can help you solve problems.


Much emphasis has been placed on creating cultures of continuous learning in your business. This is due to the rapidly shifting landscape of business. Whilst I am always wary of fads and trends, it’s fairly impossible to deny we are entering a period of more rapid change than ever before. Technological disruption, explosive exponential growth, these are both blessings and banes we must harness—or else steer carefully around—as we navigate this new era.

Unlike psychometrics, which are fixed and measure the 20% of “the Self” that is fixed, Maps measures the 80% that is experiential and can change. Maps is the nurture to psychometrics’ nature. This is not to diminish the value of psychometrics as some people do find them helpful. Indeed, the Maps is partly based on arguably the greatest psychometric of all: the Enneagram! But I digress.

The fact that Maps measures the 80% of Self that is not fixed means that our motivators can change. We witness this phenomenon every day but previously we haven’t had an accurate language to describe it. For example, why do mid-life crises occur? We often believe these are some kind of “failure of character”, whereas in actuality they reflect a shift in motivation. Perhaps someone grew up in a very poor family and therefore was motivated by money and financial security—but then, having achieved huge financial success by age 50, they no longer feel motivated by this! This means they would have to discover their new motivators, which, without a tool like ours, means a process of soul-searching and introspection that can take years!

Maps are not a one-time experiment that employees smile about for a few weeks then forget. Maps allow business leaders to foster a culture of motivation, high performance, and learning—learning about the Self, about others in their team, and about organisational direction. If you needed any more persuading, check this figure from TeamStage: “An extensive, long-term study shows that companies with the best corporate cultures, which embrace comprehensive leadership initiatives and highly value their employees, customers, and owners, increased their revenues by 682%.”


What do we all really want—aside from our motivators met? We want someone to solve our problems! In fact, you might consider our motivators as expressions of the problems we want solving. After all, if we want to belong to a group (The Friend), then doesn’t this suggest we currently don’t feel we belong? If we want financial security (The Builder), then doesn’t this imply we are not currently financially secure?

In business, this could be to do with profit, leadership, expertise/technology, or staff-morale, the list goes on and on (indeed, this could be another blog in itself). Whilst we can’t reasonably claim that Motivational Maps will solve all problems, I will say that often these problems are more interlinked than we realise.

If we ask why our company is not making profit, we probably don’t immediately assume it’s correlated to demotivated staff (in fact we might erroneously believe it is the lack of profit causing the demotivation, not the other way around!), but that is likely the reality. Similarly, if we have problems with staff—misbehaviour, high turnover, poor performance—then we might understandably think that the best thing to do is cut our losses (and in some instances this might be right) and let them go.

Making the effort to discover what is really driving our people is the key to unlocking their performance, however. And we can only do this if we have a tool that can reveal the invisible realm of motivation.

If you would like to speak to someone about Motivational Maps you can find a list of our practitioners HERE