The surprising truth about what motivates us

by HCA07 Mar 2014
Professionally and personally, the secret to high performance and satisfaction is a sense of control, creativity and contribution. For HR directors, the lesson is clear: facilitate these key criteria in your organisation and you’ll foster a motivated and loyal workforce.
The working world is changing and now more than ever, people want their career to fit in with their lives. As a result, organisations need to find ways to engage and retain their high-value employees – or risk losing them to someone who will.
This can be achieved by seeking to address people’s key desires in life, according to Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
“The secret to high performance and satisfaction – at work, at school and at home – is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world,” he said.
These three elements – autonomy, mastery and purpose – bring about true motivation.
1. Autonomy. Empowering your people with the ability to direct their own life is a concept that will always pay dividends. “I've worked in a company that offered unlimited sick leave and I believe it built a level of mutual trust,” said Irene Kotov, former HR business partner turned personal branding strategist and founder of Arielle Careers. There are also companies such as HubSpot, Netflix and IBM who offer an unlimited annual leave policy, which I think is wonderful.”
2. Mastery. “Another thing that is important in this domain to employee satisfaction is mastery, or the process of getting better at something,” Kotov said. “If you're not providing opportunities for employees to grow, why would they want to stay in the same boring role when it's easier today than ever before to find your audience online and sell a product or service to them?”
3. Purpose. Most employees are yearning to be of service to something greater than themselves. “They want to contribute to ultimate satisfaction and I believe, off the back of that, it creates more motivation and inspires loyalty,” Kotov said. “As HR professionals, we need to ask ourselves, ‘How can I create a workplace where employees are able to fulfill these three criterion? What processes and systems need to change to facilitate this shift?’ I believe this wholeheartedly.”


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