You’ve probably have heard this before, ‘We need to change our corporate culture’ and ‘our people just aren’t motivated’. And suddenly new signage and new mantras and motivational carrots begin to pop up throughout the corporation. And the same dysfunction lives on. Turnover and poor engagement continue to plague. The machine may look shiny on the outside but the core is out of alignment.
Daniel Pink , author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, said that for the 21st century, there exists an evidence based approach to motivation for complex work. Daniel says that you can’t manage people into engagement. His recommendation is to pay them enough and then give them sufficient amounts of autonomy, mastery and purpose. So the secret to workplace happiness is not found in the carrots or external motivators to do great work.
People in complex jobs, which seem, these days, to make up the better part of the corporate workforce, require self direction. They also find a great deal of reward in the mastery of their work. The desire to get better at stuff and see real progress at work is highly satisfying. The only catch is that these people need to know the context of what they are doing and why what they do every business day really matters.
Time Magazine recently quoted Nobel winning economist Daniel Kahneman saying that ‘when you analyze happiness, it turns out that the way you spend your time is extremely important.’
When work is meaningful time passes quickly. The wheels of enterprise move in a kind of synchronized motion and teams are truly happier. Engagement? – check. Great corporate culture? – check. What better place to spend half of your daily life but in a workplace where you actually feel happy and enjoy the company of others feeling the same.