Ensuring that your employees are motivated and providing their best work is essential in any company.

Having motivated employees can make all the difference in your company, but motivating employees can be a difficult and complicated task. Motivation has been at the forefront of behavioral studies for years, but in Daniel Pink’s new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us  he takes a deeper look at the keys and what you can do. As a CMO with a seat at the executive table, knowing these factors can make you a better leader.Below are some tips, along with insight on how this could work for the building products industry.

What we know about motivation:

  • If you award a behavior – you get more of that behavior
  • If you punish a behavior – you get less of that behavior

Why our thinking is upside down:

  • Studies show that once a task calls for even basic skills, a larger reward leads to poorer performance
  • If>Then motivaters work for routine tasks (simple, physical, mechanical, etc), but once the work gets more creative or complicated, If>Then motivaters don’t work
  • So unless you’re motivating your employees to put widgets in a box as quickly as they can, don’t offer them a reward for their outcome – it’s distracting more than anything.

A note on paying people:

  • Fact: Money is a motivater. If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t have motivation. Pay people fairly and the money issue comes off the table.
  • Although this is especially hard in the building products industry right now, people are constantly judging fairness, so make sure your payment structure is transparent and impartial.

What Pushes Employees to Do Their Best? Three Motivating Factors:

1. Autonomy

  • Management is a technology from the 1850s designed to get compliance. But more than compliance, we want engagement.
  • Self direction > management
  • Autonomy is judged by 4 areas: Time, tasks, team, techniques
    • Allow people the freedom to choose what they do, when they do it, who they do it with and how they do it
  • Be careful: bosses always think workers have more autonomy than they really do

2. Mastery

  • Mastery is the single biggest motivater.
  • People are most motivated and most satisfied with their work when they make progress on something that matters. Celebrate progress.

3. Purpose

  • If people know the purpose behind what they’re doing, they will flourish. Always describe the “why” of a project, even ifs it’s a small part of the bigger picture.

Sources and Additional Articles

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  5. Greg Brooks on August 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Unbalanced Load and commented:
    Here’s an interesting take on employee motivation from Renae Gonner and Elton Mayfield of ER Marketing in Kansas City.

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