Purpose-driven Motivation is the Most Powerful and Effective

by: Nichole Gunn February 21, 2011

Employee departures may be on the horizon for many companies as the economy and job market improves. With evidence from studies such as the recent Mercer study showing that employees do not feel adequately engaged or motivated in the workplace, employers will be striving to make improvements. These improvements will be aimed at employee retention.

Writing for Entrepeneur.com, Elinor Robin, a relationship mediator, discusses Daniel Pink’s book Drive. “Pink has done extensive research into the area of motivation in the workplace.”

According to Robin, Pink states that the foundation of employee motivation is based on three forms: extrinsic, intrinsic, and purpose-driven.

Extrinsic motivation is that of being motivated through external tools, such as rewards and punishment. Intrinsic or internal motivation is that of developing self-motivation. This type of motivation is driven by a personal internal desire.

Purpose-driven motivation is what Pink considers the most forceful type of motivation. To be purpose-driven, the employee must feel he is a valuable part of the business, that his efforts and successes are integral to the company.

If an employee is purpose-driven, he strives to improve the company he works for. Falling short of giving his all would be considered letting down the company, and himself. It involves personal integrity and self-esteem.

With purpose-driven motivation, monetary incentives and rewards are not as valuable as feeling satisfied with work-related efforts and accomplishments. This is why Pink believes it is the most powerful form of motivation.


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