Traditional approaches in the workplace assume that there is a strong linkage between motivation and financial reward. Theory is, if you pay people enough money, they will be engaged. Yet we know from watching everyone’s favorite Dan Pink video that isn’t the case. Don’t assume that you know what motivates – trust the research. Read psychologist Fredrick Herzberg’s work. Specifically, how job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are not opposites. The opposite of Satisfaction is No Satisfaction. The opposite of Dissatisfaction is No Dissatisfaction.
Below are resources that will point you in the right direction. My advice to improving motivation and enagement in team members goes roughly like this:
- Look for demotivators in your environment and clear those away. Otherwise other efforts will have little effect. Hint: if you’re stuck, use Systems Thinking as a lens. You’re aiming for No Dissatisfaction, so you aren’t pushing a rock uphill in an avalanche.
- Look for opportunities to turn No Satisfaction into Satisfaction. We’re talking about what research shows actually motivates: autonomy, mastery, purpose, recognition, etc.
- Conduct one-on-ones on a regular basis with team members. Research will point you in the right general direction, but everyone is unique. Everyone wants to know they have a voice. Make a safe place for your team to be honest, then ask them what they need to feel motivated, and listen when they tell you.
- Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose: Why Workplace Incentives Don’t Work
- Delivering Effective Feedback
- Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us – Dan Pink video
- A Great Example Demonstrating the pitfalls of Extrinsic Rewards
- Herzberg’s Motivators and Hygiene Factors: Learn How to Motivate Your Team
- Neuroscience, Leadership and David Rock’s SCARF Model
- One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?
- Research Paper: David Rock – SCARF Model