Compensation isn’t the leading career motivator it was once thought to be. Neuroscience has proven time and time again that success in the workplace is often driven by a collection of internal aspirations and desires, rather than financial gain.

By leveraging this expanding field of research, recruiters can get into the minds of talented candidates and grasp what they need to succeed in a modern work environment. This gives recruiters a better chance of recruiting and retaining these qualified individuals.

According to MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s executive online MBA program, people are believed to be motivated by four common behavioral drivers: the drives to acquire, to defend, to bond, and to learn.

By targeting these behavioral drivers in a variety of ways, recruiters can better align their strategies with candidates’s needs and passions, optimally place these candidates within an organization, and keep them there in a position to thrive. In the end, it’s a win-win, because not only does it make for motivated employees who are more engaged and innovative, but it also drives better productivity for an organization, meaning greater profits, higher customer satisfaction, and – to the recruiter’s delight – leading employee retention rates.

Offer More Than Money

Exemplary employees crave immediate gratification and rewards beyond competitive salaries. People are driven to acquire, whether it’s status, recognition, or some acknowledgement that shows appreciation for a job well done.

Recruiters would do well to take this into account and offer incentives to candidates beyond base salaries – e.g, a bonus, a vacation, a celebratory day at a spa or golf course, or a quarterly all-inclusive dinner. With their eyes on these prizes, candidates would be motivated to succeed in their new roles, making that placement more likely to be a long-term fit.

Make Them Feel at Home

PartnersOne is the loneliest number, and it tends to be the least successful. People are driven to bond. By orienting candidates with their new colleagues early on, a recruiter can improve the odds that their fit will be a good one. Encouraging mentorship, teamwork, constant communication, and other team-building behaviors will quickly give new and prospective hires a home within an otherwise unfamiliar pool of colleagues. Not only will they be at ease digging right into their work, but they’ll also be motivated to play a part in the greater output of organization.

Mitigate Stress

Taking on or considering a new job is one of the more stressful situations a person encounters in their life. Central to motivation is a person’s drive to defend , or their impulse to avoid threatening situations. Your job as a good recruiter is to limit this stress.

Throughout the recruitment process, recruiters should give candidates a transparent and complete understanding of where they are in the process and what they have to look forward to. This information should counteract a candidate’s tendency to build unrealistic and rightening scenarios in their head.

To the best of the recruiter’s ability, they should also continue this transparency when the candidate becomes an employee. One way to do so is to implement a performance management system that makes it clear where the new hire stands. The less threatened a candidate feels in their job and the more certain they are in their performance, the more they will be motivated to succeed further and stick around.

Help Them Grow

Growth is a natural desire in life, and people are motivated to learning new things. Training or continued education as an incentive of employment is a strategy many of the best modern businesses offer. Not only will such perks fulfill a candidate’s desire to improve their standing and advance in their career, but they will also develop candidates into model employees. New hires will be appreciative of the organization for affording them such a chance, making it more likely they’ll stay to show off their new skills (and, in doing so, pay the organization back).

Recruiters should highlight a company’s educational and training incentives early on to draw in motivated candidates who are driven to learn and grow in their positions. Just ask any business that offers such a program: It is almost always the case that the returns the company reaps by developing motivated leaders exceed the initial investment they make in an employee.

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