Motivation and Engagement: Hey Managers - Get Out of the Way

by Melany Gallant | Posted | Engagement

Motivation and Engagement: Hey Managers - Get Out of the Way

Have you seen that terrific Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) video Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us?

If you haven't, take a few minutes and watch it now. It's really thought provoking.

RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

The research Pink references shows that, once basic financial needs are met, autonomy, mastery and purpose - not money - are better motivators of performance.

Pink points out that engagement and motivation come from a sense of self-direction - of trust, and of ownership. The message for managers here is that it's time to get out of the way.

Fostering Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose

Let your employees take on projects that interest them, that will develop their skills and challenge them to be their best. By providing employees this freedom, you give them a sense of purpose, and ultimately the outcome can be extremely beneficial to your organization.

Daniel Pink - Drive - the surprising truth about what motivates us

As HR pros, this notion about what motivates has interesting implications for our talent management programs. It could really change the way we run our organizations and manage our people.

Yet, how do we practically create corporate cultures and reward/recognition programs that foster autonomy, mastery and purpose? In some ways, dealing with salary scales and bonuses can seem easier.

As Simple as Asking?

Unless you're some kind of mentalist, you're not going to know what motivates your employees unless you ask them.

That's what my manager did with me when she shared this Motivation Self-Assessment Worksheet developed by Henryk Krajewski, VP and Senior Leadership Advisor at Anderson Leadership Group. This worksheet is a great jumping off point that can help spark a discussion on motivation, as it references many of the motivators Pink discusses in his video - namely achievement, affiliation, autonomy, intellectual stimulation, power and security.

Henryk is a great resource on effective leadership - you can follow him on twitter @buildvalue.

And since motivation and engagement usually go hand in hand, it's always important to look at how your talent management practices support employee engagement.

Measuring Engagement

In 5 Performance Management Tactics to Boost Employee Engagement, human capital analyst David Creelman looks at how you can use performance management best practices to improve the five elements usually found in engagement measures:

1. Clarity - helping people know exactly what is expected of them and giving them a context or purpose for their work.

2. Support - ensuring employees have the tools and training they need to achieve their objectives.

3. Fit - supporting employees in using their strongest skills and developing mastery.

4. Feedback - showing employees that management is there to help them succeed.

5. Development - encouraging mastery and supporting career development.

These are just a few of the ways we can apply this learning about motivation to the way we manage our talent. What's really interesting about motivation is that if it's lost, it can be found.

Having regular discussions with employees about their performance, their development goals and more can help you to ensure they are motivated and appropriately challenged by the work they do.

We'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas and successes. What do you think about what Daniel Pink has to say? How does this change how your view of talent management in your organization?

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