Compensaton and Benefits
Yes, you read the headline correctly. And it flies in the face of everything most of us have been taught about motivating employees.
By the way, I don’t believe motivating employees means you need to hold their hands all day and fix their problems –
– especially when one of their problems is that they don’t like to work. That said, motivating employees is an important skill to master because motivated employees tend to bring their best to the workplace. And that typically leads to increased revenue and profitability.
Where does money fit into the picture?
Let’s look to Daniel Pink. In addition to being the former chief speech writer for Al Gore and an aide to US Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Pink wrote a ground breaking book called “Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” Get the book.
In Drive, Pink says the idea of using money to reward performance is antiquated and most importantly, doesn’t work. This means most of what you’ve learned about compensation plans, annual reviews and motivation can now be tossed into the garbage bin. According to Pink’s findings, employees who do complicated tasks that require cognitive skills (versus simple tasks which require little thought) perform worse when presented with monetary rewards for their efforts. Their performance does not improve. It gets worse.
“But why do employees complain that they are not getting paid enough money?”
In my experience, it’s because they aren’t getting the rest of what they really want. Complaints about money are symptoms of a bigger issue, not the root. But let me be clear: you need to pay your employees fairly and commensurately with the market. If you aren’t doing that, the rest doesn’t matter.
What Employees Really Want
Pink says there are three main drivers of performance that have nothing to do with money. Those drivers are:
1 – Autonomy. Autonomy is the desire to be self-directed. It is the opposite of micro-managing. If you made a good hiring decision, trust your employees to do their job. Set expectations, give them feedback, check in and let them go.
2 – Mastery. Mastery is our desire to get better at what we do. This is why ongoing training is important, but training isn’t everything. Employees become masterful when they have hands on experience. Look for opportunities that will help your employees learn and practice their skills.
3 – Purpose. Purpose is our desire to contribute to the greater good. Employees who are in positions which require cognitive skills are not fulfilled from collecting a paycheck. They want to know that their work has meaning. Your job is to help them understand how their work impacts the company and its customers.
Autonomy, mastery and purpose. When basic needs are met, these are the drivers of outstanding performance. This is what motivates employees. If you would like to hear more about Pink’s research, watch this engaging presentation.
Alicia Arenas is the Founder and CEO of Sanera, The People Development Company. After 15 years of Fortune 500 HR leadership experience, Alicia left the corporate world to assist small business owners as a coach and consultant. She is master speaker and facilitator, earned her certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources in 2002 and has built a reputation around her highly creative and transformative training programs. She specializes in business development, branding, leadership, communication, social media and sales. In 2010 she launched Sanera Camp (www.saneracamp.com), a six week business building “boot camp” for small business owners and sales teams. Alicia has been featured in and has written for the San Antonio Business Journal, her blog www.sanerapdc.com was listed in the Top 10 San Antonio blogs by WOAI and the San Antonio Business Media Public Relationships association named her the best Business Social Media Practitioner in San Antonio. In 2009, Alicia was one of five bloggers selected from around the country to audit the Disney Institute leadership courses and provide feedback to the Institute's executive team.
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The 77 million people that make up the US small business workforce would rank as the 17th most populous country in the world, just ahead of Iran;
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