Drive, Daniel PinkI’ve been trying to finish the book, “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink, which gives great insights about the things that motivate employees and team members. It argues against the use of the “carrot and stick” as an approach to identifying employee motivation – that employees are driven by avoiding negative consequences of their actions as well as motivated by rewards (e.g. raise) to work more, if not work better.

I’m unsure about the accuracy of this assumption, as that may actually depend on the context. If you’re earning minimum wage and do not have a lot of social safety net, what other factors are there to motivate you to work harder?

And so what jumped out at me is the assertion that employers have to take out the debate over salary first, and perhaps foremost, before asking what will motivate employees to work harder and contribute more to the growth of the business. That means employers should ensure that they are paying their workers what is actually owed them–that employees are paid a decent  amount on which they can live decently.

It doesn’t make sense that employees are asked to buy into the company culture, its brand and everything that it’s supposed to stand for if they can’t live decently on their wages. And once that is dealt with, then employers and leaders can start asking themselves what will motivate members of their teams to work harder and work better.

The author asserts that when questions around pay is addressed, what motivates employees are the following:

  • Autonomy – the desire to be self-directed, where one works harder because one is engaged as opposed to because one has to comply
  • Mastery – the desire to be better at one does and acquire more skills that complement what’s already there
  • Purpose – the desire to do something that has meaning and importance to the employee. I think this is where buy-in into culture, values, and purpose is categorised.

The following video is a great summary of the book and is a great guide for managers and leaders: