10 Feb 2011
Employee engagement – What actually motivates people?
Try an experiment. Before reading the rest of this blog post, try writing down the 3 things which you believe most motivate people to do things.
According to Daniel Pink in his book ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ these 3 things are: Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose
Not money? I hear you ask. Surprisingly not. Experiments on both MIT students as well as People from Rural India have shown that for tasks that required rudimentary cognitive skill (i.e. not a routine mechanical task.) Increased financial incentives often lead to lower levels of performance.
Money however does play a part in motivation in the sense that people need to feel like they are being paid enough, but once people feel like they are paid a fair wage, more money seems to lead to worse results.
Very counter intuitive eh?
Dan Pink argues that corporate culture which values compliance, often runs counter to this. A software company Atlassian, gave their employees 1 working day every 3 months with which to use however they saw fit, and to report back after 24 hours. In just one day, numerous software bugs were fixed and a plethora of product ideas were proposed. Highly successful.
“Why do people put so much time and effort into learning to play the guitar?” Asks Dan. “It doesn’t get them a mate or earn them any money – It doesn’t make economic sense”
Why do professionals who have paid jobs, volunteer their precious free time working on software like Linux and websites like Wikipedia? Because it’s a challenge and makes a difference, which leads to the last point.
More and more organisations are realising the importance of having a ‘transcendent purpose’ because it helps to attract and retain talent. When profit is prioritised over purpose, things can go askew with ‘bad products and lame services’ Organisations that are animated by a purpose (Skype and Apple are given as examples) tend to flourish.
So how does this compare with what you guessed?
The video clip is well worth watching for it’s FANTASTIC cartoon drawing. The link is below