Top 3 Motivators for Knowledge Workers


Knowledge workers, more than any other, are the ones most closely associated with the need for flexible work life. They are also the key to winning in the future of global business competition. Therefore, knowing what will attract and impress those workers and help them feel comfortable is something every business should consider. Health, wellness, safety and more are just a few leading strategies for keeping them.

Debra Moritz with Jones Lang LaSalle uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to explain what knowledge workers and Millenials need to breed success in corporations. Moritz recognizes that while the millenial generation is beginning to take over the workplace, there’s still a significant amount of Baby Boomers out there. And regardless of their age difference, knowledge workers still make up a large majority of the workforce.

So what makes a knowledge worker tick? First, they need the basics like air conditioning, water, lights and so on. Most modern offices provide these expected accommodations. However, as the pyramid continues, businesses are changing to provide these needs in a way that appeals to knowledge workers. Here are the top three knowledge worker motivators:

1. On a the safety level, knowledge workers are looking for security. Specifically, they want security of person and resources. Remember the electronic combination lockers in the new General Services Administration building? This is the type of feature knowledge workers and all generations alike seek.

2. Next, and probably most popular today, is the push for attraction and belonging. Many corporations are revamping their company culture when it comes to flexible face-time policies and compassionate management strategies. In today’s workforce, it’s not always about the day-to-day responsibilities; it’s about the full experience. Epic Systems Corporation HQ in Wisconsin is a great example of one innovative workplace that is successfully attracting knowledge workers.

3. Finally, and most importantly, is the highest level—self-actualization and esteem. While this level encompasses the other levels discussed, it focuses on the realization that they (the workers) are making a significant impact—both on their companies, and the rest of the community. Fulfilling this level includes creating policies and opportunities that help employees reach their utmost potential for productivity. It also involves reaching outside of their building’s walls. Corporate social responsibility plans that encourage involvement foster good will and produce a healthy self-awareness.

By combining basic psychological theories with the needs of the evolving workplace, business leaders can effectively increase their bottom line. And like we’ve heard it a million times, happy people make successful employees.