The following is a guest post by Miri Zena McDonald, an organization development and communications strategist on a quest to help companies thrive by engaging employees, improving culture and promoting wellness. She tweets at @miri_orgchange.
Have you ever really thought about what it takes to motivate you? I think job seekers have an obligation to themselves and the companies where they would like to work to determine what really motivates them. Why do I say this? Gallup has been studying employee engagement over theÃ‚Â past decade.Ã‚Â Their latestÃ‚Â data (July 2009)Ã‚Â from a longitudinal study of overÃ‚Â 7000Ã‚Â employees shows that:
- 30% of respondents are engaged
- 52% are not engaged
- 18% are actively disengaged
Meaning, about 70% of employees are not engaged at work! To be honest, that depresses me because I think we should be proactive in determining what environment and characteristics engage us. I also thinkÃ‚Â learning whatÃ‚Â motivates us is key to being engaged and new research makes it even easier for us to do so.
Daniel Pink recently spoke about motivation at The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). RSA produced an engaging video of the talk. It’s a bit longÃ‚Â (about 10 minutes) but in my opinion worthÃ‚Â viewing because it provides some actionable data for job seekers:
The first two findings that kind of blew my mind were the ones about money:
- Money is a motivator but not in the way we might think. If you don’t pay people fairly, they will not be motivated. Fair compensation takes money off the table and people are freed up to think about work.
- WhenÃ‚Â tasks involved even simple cognitive ability, monetary rewards didn’t work. They actually had a detrimental effect on performance. Meaning,Ã‚Â offering aÃ‚Â big bonusÃ‚Â is not really the best way to get the best thinking and solutions.
So if money doesn’t do it, what does? The dataÃ‚Â pointed toÃ‚Â three factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction:Ã‚Â Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
- Autonomy allows employees to be self-directed.
- Mastery is working to get better at what you do.
- Purpose helps people feelÃ‚Â they are part of something bigger.
Job seekers can use this information in a few ways.
- Review Salary Data: Research salaries to determine fair pay for your field and geographic location. Prepare to negotiate what you think is fair given your skills and experience to know what salary offer will “take money off the table” in your mind.
- Ask Questions: During your interview, tactfully ask questions about management style and the company’s overall mindset regarding self-directed work. Ask about formal and informal growth opportunities. What about the ability to create your own special projects?
- Review Corporate Websites: To learn more about whether the company will inspire your purpose motive, read mission statements, look for community outreach initiatives, and other clues for a higher purpose other than revenue!
I think it’s easy to get lost in the “I hope they like me” mindset when looking for a job and after the thrill of getting that offer, we can forget that we actually have to come to this place every day and work! Wouldn’t it be much more fun if we could be motivated and engaged and as a result happier while we are there?
photo by sarkasmo