If you have done well with putting together a great team of diverse backgrounds, good on you! However, that is likely to bring you to another issue, which is managing and motivating these individuals with very different needs. 

Motivating a diverse team can be both rewarding and challenging due to the varying needs, preferences, and backgrounds of each team member.


We have listed a few strategies you can consider to effectively motivate your diverse team:

1. Recognize individual differences, set clear expectations and goals 

Understand that each team member is unique and may be motivated by different factors hence it is important to take the time to get to know your team members on a personal level and learn about their values, goals, and aspirations. Then you can clearly communicate team goals, expectations, and performance standards that will resonate with them. When team members have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, they are more likely to stay motivated. 

Think about a tech company like Apple. They set clear goals for their product teams, like launching a new iPhone. But they also understand that designers, engineers, and marketers all have different motivations. Some might be driven by innovation and creativity, while others are more focused on hitting sales targets. It is important to recognize these differences and tailor the goals and expectations accordingly.


2. Provide autonomy that offers opportunities for growth and development

Give your team members a sense of ownership and control over their work. Empowering them to make decisions within their areas of responsibility, can increase motivation and job satisfaction. You also need to provide opportunities for skill development and career advancement. 

Google is known for giving its employees a lot of autonomy. Engineers are encouraged to spend 20% of their time on personal projects. This freedom fosters innovation and motivates employees to take ownership of their work. Plus, Google offers various career paths, from technical roles to management, allowing employees to grow in their preferred direction. Even here in Progression, different team members may have different career goals and aspirations, so being able to offer options that cater to their various career paths is a strong motivating factor.


3. Have regular customized feedback, tailor rewards, and recognition

Always offer constructive feedback and praise, if needed, on a consistent basis. Some people may be motivated by incentive but others just need a tap on the back for a job well done. Giving feedback will help your team understand their progress and areas for improvement, just remember to always try to use positive scripting. 

To get the most out of it you will probably need to customize rewards and recognition to align with individual preferences because while flexibility is good, you also need to show fairness and a certain standard that applies to everyone on the team. 

Some team members may appreciate public recognition, while others prefer private acknowledgment. Understanding how individuals prefer to be acknowledged and act on it will make sure everyone feels appreciated in their unique ways. 


4. Promote inclusivity but also be culturally sensitive

Foster an inclusive work environment where each of the team members feels valued, promoting individuality and respect. We know inclusive teams tend to be more motivated because everyone's contributions are recognized. 

Also, you need to be aware of cultural differences and sensitivities that may affect their motivations. Some may place a high value on team harmony, while others may emphasize individual achievement.

An ex-boss once told me- food is one of the best things that brings people together. 

Take a very simple thing like team lunch - having it at a place where it is easy to cater to everyone’s dietary requirements. Or having a cultural team lunch where everyone brings their own favorite to share with the team can do a lot of bringing people together. Remember, the key is understanding that motivation isn't the same for everyone. Just like some of these companies, you should put in the effort to know your team members personally and adapt your motivational strategies to fit their unique needs and preferences. 

Having and keeping a diverse team is a lot of hard work. But the benefits are worth it.