Out with the old and in with the new

by: Nichole Gunn April 21, 2010

New ways of motivating employees are beginning to show more promising results in some 21st century businesses. Seattlepi.com suggests that it is time organizations moved to a more radical approach because the traditional “carrot and stick” incentive approaches are no longer as effective.

The main question being explored here: What motivates people to do innovative work?

The answer lies in the Daniel Pink’s insightful book “Drive: The Surprisng Truth About What Motivates Us”, which provides compelling evidence based on more than thirty years of research in behavioral science.

Pink explains that monetary rewards can actually hamper creativity. He states that in order to keep creativity flowing employees and employers need to embrace the new “now-that” way of thinking and forget about the old “if-then”.

The website better explains Pink’s suggestion; “Rather than hold out some reward or punishment in order to accomplish a goal, there should be an opportunity to tap into an employee’s own individual interest in meeting the goal.”

Pink clarifies that in order to tap into employees' intrinsic interests, employers need to understand what drives those interests, more specifically, autonomy, mastery and purpose, and using those to motivate. Autonomy- giving employees the autonomy to determine what is entailed in a task. Mastery- allowing employees to get better at what they do. Purpose- making your employees feel that they are contributing to a greater good.

These motivation techniques require change - and such changes may not necessarily be an appropriate fit for every workplace - but taking these ideas into consideration could be beneficial, especially during the time of such an economic crisis.