Do you love your job?

According to Forbes, 70 percent of employees don't even like their job. Most feel unappreciated, and they long to do something that has significance and value. Tapping into that desire for recognition and significance turns out to be the key to employee motivation.

Studying motivation

Dan Pink, the bestselling author of Drive, explores the ways in which we can identify the qualities and skills necessary to motivate people. Admittedly, "the science is a little freaky."

In a study performed by MIT, a group of workers was given a set of tasks and 3 levels of rewards for their completion, resulting in a typical motivation scheme within an organization. Most of us assume that the higher the reward, the higher the motivation, no matter the situation.

The results surprised everyone:

  • As long as a task required only mechanical skills, the bonuses worked as expected
  • Once a task required rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance

They took the same study to rural India and evaluated the same metrics, only to find the same result: higher incentives led to worse performance. But if money isn't the right motivator for complex tasks, which most of us experience daily, then what is?

They found that these three factors lead to better performance and personal satisfaction:

Autonomy - The desire to be self-directed

Micromanagers, beware: If you want employee engagement, self-direction works better. Try letting your employees experience 24 hours of self-direction; you'll find more positive actions emerge than otherwise would.

Mastery - The desire to get better at things

Think about someone who plays the guitar as a hobby, or someone who loves to cook. Becoming better at something leads to satisfaction, which is inherit in everyone.

Purpose - The desire to be part of a cause larger than yourself

More and more organizations want to define a purpose for their business. When purpose and motivation are separated, bad things happen. Companies that succeed are driven by their purpose.

Treat people like people, not employees

So employers that recognize and reward employees for good work in ways that go beyond paid compensation are ahead of the curve. Even better is to map those motivators to behaviors that support factors of autonomy, mastery and purpose.

RedCritter Connecter, enables organizations to grow and strengthen a culture of purposeful motivation, by showcasing and surfacing meaningful employee goals, accomplishments and skills.

The end result is happier more productive employees and more satisfied managers. What's not to love?