In Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, he concludes that intrinsic motivation rather than rewards based motivation is a stronger factor to influence our employees’ production. This resonates with what David Sandler wrote over 20 year ago that the carrot and stick approach only produces short-term results.
Pink says that there are three key areas of intrinsic motivation;
- Autonomy – The urge to direct our own lives
- Mastery – The desire to get better and better at something that matters
- Purpose – Doing what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves
He goes on to say that “the use of rewards and punishments to control our employees’ production is an antiquated way of managing people. To maximise their enjoyment and productivity for 21st-century work, we need to upgrade our thinking to include autonomy, mastery and purpose. Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy, for example, deepening learning, delighting customers and doing one’s best”.
When we link this to business growth, can this insightful research help leaders discuss and agree goals with employees?
We know that the company’s vision should be built from the top down and supported from the bottom up. The vision should be cascaded down to departmental goals and objectives and then down to individuals goals and motivations. Activities at every level should move the organisation towards that future goal. For that to happen, everyone’s activities must be in sync with the vision. If they are not, people may be working diligently, but not necessarily in alignment with the company’s goals. Their personal performance may be effective, but not in relation to the corporate goal. They may be highly motivated, but about the wrong priorities.
Engagement surveys provide organisational leaders with valuable insight about employees’ feelings and attitudes by giving employees the chance to anonymously offer their opinions about their workplace environment. So ask yourself a question, if your annual engagement survey results were down this year, are employees goals linked enough to intrinsic desires? If not, maybe now is the time to re-evaluate performance management in your organisation.