Home > Ideas and Philosophy > Office Motivation: More Than Just Money

Office Motivation: More Than Just Money

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

My colleague shared a link to a YouTube video entitled “RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” the other day.  The video basically talked about what science is now saying regarding what motivates people to do great work. 

In summary: For tasks that don’t require much thinking (i.e. mechanical, repetitive tasks), offering a high incentive will work to motivate people.  However for tasks that require some creative thought, a high incentive does not necessarily translate to spectacular performance.  In fact studies have shown that people fail in such tasks.  It’s surprising to see that higher incentives lead to worse performance.  So does this mean we need to pay people enough… but not too much?  I don’t think so.  Obviously, there’s more to it in motivating a person just offering him more money. 

I think the key points are these: Pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table so that they can instead focus on doing great work.  Ultimately, (1) autonomy of direction in one’s own life, (2) mastery of one’s skill and (3) a purpose in life will drive performance and engagement of people. 

One of my other colleagues commented: “Once you see an article which defines for everyone ‘enough’ (or maybe ‘too much’), let me know!”  In the end I think it’s a matter of being content and grateful.  That will eventually be the definition of “enough,” and consequently of being happy.

It’s interesting to see what science can tell us about motivation.  It really is not all about money. We know this to be true anecdotally, and it’s nice to see some recognition of it by the experts.

It really is better if one is doing work because one enjoys doing it and not because one is being paid to do it.

And like what I said before, no matter how bad things are at work, for as long as we still have friends in the office, and we’re all in this together, things will still be okay.  The company of good people can sometimes make even going into bad situations worth it.

Jesus, I trust in You! 

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

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