Written by Eloise Barbier

How to stay motivated at work: the career drivers

16th May, 2023   •  

What drives you at work?

There is so much that sits behind motivation, and it may change depending on context, area and stage of life. One of the ways to understand our motivation better is to explore our personal values.

Your personal values are the things you believe are important in the way you live and work. They are a set of standards that influence your decisions and behaviour.

Benefits of understanding your personal values

Ultimately, this increases self awareness, which is a skill we can develop. Knowing what is important to you in how you live can help you clarify your career path and goals, and make more aligned decisions. It helps you feel more authentic in the way you approach work, how you build relationships and what you choose to prioritise in your personal life.

Uncovering personal values at work: the career drivers

Something core to individual values are career drivers, which are key areas that motivate us at work. There are 9 of them.

While all of us are a blend of these different drivers, there are often 2 or 3 that stand out as your top personal drivers.

For each driver:
1. Give yourself a score out of 10 (1 being not important to you at all, 10 being very important)

2. Identify your top 3 drivers and for each give yourself a satisfaction score (how satisfied you are that the driver is being fulfilled in your current role)

3. If there are differences, reflect on what needs to change, what you should focus on

1. Material Rewards: you are motivated by material rewards and achieving wealth. Your salary is important to you

2. Influence: you are motivated by feeling that you have a real influence over something you care about, for example influencing the sustainable decisions of the business

3. Meaning: you are motivated by the meaning of the work you do. Feeling that you are contributing and making a difference is important to you

4. Expertise: you are motivated about the idea of being an expert, and recognised as that expert. For example being the go-to person in your team on a particular topic or area

5. Creativity: you are motivated by creative work and producing original output. Having opportunity in your role to innovate and try new ideas is important to you

6. Affiliation: you are motivated by connection with other people. The job itself may not be as important to you if you have really strong relationships within the team and enjoy spending time with them

7. Autonomy: you are motivated by being able to make decisions and have flexibility. For example being able to decide how to tackle challenges without being told what to do

8. Security: you are motivated by having stability, security and clarity. Knowing what the next year looks like and that there is a clear career trajectory from your current role is important to you.

9. Status: you are motivated by status and being recognised by others for having that status or position. For example, being seen as the leader in the group that others look up to

Something important to note is that career drivers may change over time. Let’s say you are buying a house, or getting married – in those life stages, your salary (material rewards) may be more important to you than at other points in your career. We recommend regularly reviewing your drivers to ensure you are still aligned.

How can we use the career drivers?

  • As an individual, to understand what areas of work are more motivating for you and help inform your career decisions
  • As a manager, to help engage your team and uncover what motivates them. Discuss their career drivers in a one to one and explore opportunities to align objectives to their drivers

Ideas to create opportunities that align with your career drivers

In summary

Understanding your top career drivers helps enhance your self awareness, make better decisions and drive authentic behaviour at work. It is important to review them regularly as they may change depending on role and context.

If you would like to learn more about how to nurture careers and get the most out of your team, please get in touch.