Motivation with Meaning

Motivational word graphic
Source: Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock

Motivation is one of the fundamental principles linked to effective employee training and development. It is pretty simple – If employees are motivated to learn, they will learn, if employees are not motivated to learn, they will not learn. The more employees are able to learn, the more connected they will feel to the organization. When employees are not connected to the organization, organizational growth and positive employee engagement just does not happen.

As highlighted in our Training and Development studies, motivation comes in two forms:  extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are fairly standard in that they rely mostly on compensation based systems. It is a bit more difficult to build intrinsic reward systems as these rely on individual value based connections that may vary from employee to employee. From a value based perspective, however, the more difficult things are, the more important they become. This also applies to the development of intrinsic reward systems.

According to the Ivey Business Journal, intrinsic rewards are more important that ever, given a historical pattern that shows significant decreases in rigidly structured and directive driven organizations.

Click Here to Read the Article

As noted in this article, implementation of effective intrinsic rewards systems begin with management training on what intrinsic rewards ‘feel’ like. By developing a concrete understanding for the ‘feel’ of intrinsic rewards, the hope is that those managers will re-create a similarly positive feeling state for employees that report to them.

It is important to note that this article does not advise or advocate for the abandonment of all extrinsic rewards systems.  From a Human Resources perspective, we can learn from this advice by developing a solid blend of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards systems that act as motivators for excellence both for ourselves and for the organizations that we serve.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Thinking about your own work experience, how do extrinsic rewards influence your work performance?
  2. What are intrinsic motivators that drive you to be successful in your career?
  3. From a Human Resources perspective, how can an organization be explicit about rewarding performance from a value based, internal motivation system using the four steps identified in the article?
  4. Why is it so important to have management training based on intrinsic reward systems?
  5. Is striving for excellence an internal or external motivator for you?
  6. Why does excellence in employee performance matter?

Is Experience the Best Teacher?

Source: Patsy Michaud/Shutterstock
Source: Patsy Michaud/Shutterstock

We have often heard the expression ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ when someone wants to relay how a certain experience has affected them.  Usually, the experience was unpleasant, challenging, or just very difficult and we want to have someone else understand how we felt.  Why?  Sometimes, when we experience a difficult situation we want to talk about it just to complain,  but we also talk about our negative experiences because we don’t want to go through that experience the same way, again.  Having a negative experience, especially one that causes us discomfort, is certainly a key factor in changing our behaviour in order to avoid repeating the same experience in the future.  One hopes that what we learn for ourselves, we might help others with as well.

Listening to someone’s negative experience is very different from living through the actual experience itself. A very effective training design technique which implements experiential learning, is being used at the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences.  An “aging simulation suit’ is being used to train future healthcare practitioners.  The suit is designed in such a way that it literally allows someone to walk in the shoes of an aging person and to learn, through personal experience, what it physically feels like to be a patient or a client in a healthcare setting.

Click here to read the article and watch a video

Discussion Questions:

  1. Besides healthcare, what types of industries would benefit from having this type of sensory aging & mobility training provided to their employees?
  2. Have you changed something in your own work style because of how you felt someone treated you? What did you change and why did you make that change?
  3. From a customer service perspective, what other types of training tools could be used to relay the experience of aging?
  4. Why is this type of experiential training effective?

Motivation and the Surprising Results

In order for Human Resources to help employees learn, grow, and develop they need to understand the basics of motivation. Daniel Pink is a motivational expert who has authored five bestselling books on business, management, and leadership.

Pink lists some surprising things that truly motivate us and describes the concept that money is a motivator, but only under certain circumstances.  Watch the video, below, to find out the three secrets which, according to Daniel Pink, are truly motivating to employees. You may be surprised by what you learn!

Source: The RSA Animation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc.  The above content constitutes a link to the source website.  Please click on the play icon to stream the video.

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the three secrets to employee motivation?
  2. As a HR Professional, how would you convince your boss to implement these three secrets into the workplace?
  3. Why would organizations be hesitant to take Daniel Pink’s advice?