This month we are going to read Drive, by Daniel Pink.
Based on studies done at MIT and other universities, higher pay and bonuses resulted in better performance ONLY if the task consisted of basic, mechanical skills. It worked for problems with a defined set of steps and a single answer. If the task involved cognitive skills, decision-making, creativity, or higher-order thinking, higher pay resulted in lower performance. As a supervisor, you should pay employees enough that they are not focused on meeting basic needs and feel that they are being paid fairly. If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated. Pink suggests that you should pay enough “to take the issue of money off the table.”
To motivate employees who work beyond basic tasks, giving these three factors are argued to increase performance and satisfaction:
- Autonomy — Our desire to be self directed. It increases engagement over compliance.
- Mastery — The urge to get better skills.
- Purpose — The desire to do something that has meaning and is important. Businesses that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees.
RSAnimate has made a ten-minute animation video summary adapted from Daniel Pink’s talk at the RSA.