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?

The Demise of Goodwill

The very sudden and very public downfall of the Goodwill Toronto charitable retail organization has received much media scrutiny as the unfortunate chain of events has unfolded.  At the time of this posting, the latest step has been the declaration of bankruptcy on the part of Goodwill Toronto.

Goodwill Donations sign on building
Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

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There is no doubt that the Goodwill Toronto saga is complex and difficult.  While it is easy to speculate and analyze this case from the perspective of an outsider, this is a painfully real strategic human resources planning issue that links directly to the connection between strategic organizational mission and the delivery of business outcomes.  When these are not connected, the results are clearly devastating.

Marnie Soupcoff of the National Post, provides some thoughtful insight into this much needed connection between organizational mission and business results.

Click Here to Read the Article.

Strategic organizational mission should drive everything down to the last detail of business decisions which end in operational and transaction based results. The Goodwill Toronto situation shows us exactly how this is all unfolded from a negative perspective.   The organization’s disconnection from it’s own mission statement seems to have fractured everything in its path right down to the messy appearance surrounding donation drop-off doors.

One can only hope, should Goodwill Toronto choose to rebuild, that they will take a different approach by using its mission in a pro-active and connected way in order to achieve a positive new start that supports a sustainable future.

Discussion Questions:

  1. As an HR professional, how will you ensure that an organization’s mission is embedded into functional business strategy?
  2. Have you worked in an organization where there was a clear disconnect between the organization’s values and its day to day practices? How did that disconnect present itself?
  3. What advice would you give to the CEO of an organization that is mission driven when it becomes clear that the mission is not supported by all employees?
  4. Would you resign from an organization if you thought it no longer upheld its own mission, vision, and values? If so, why?  If not, why not?

Sleep time. Dream time.

Her message is simple and powerful – Get some sleep.

Click Here to Watch a Video

After viewing this clip, you may be thinking, “What has this got to do with HR professionals and strategic planning?”  The answer lies in the power of giving organizations time for dreaming.  Especially when those organizations invest in the creative processes of shaping their own mission and vision.  Strategic planning should not be the production of a management checklist.  Rather, it should arise from the power of creative thinking.

When are our thoughts the most creative?  When we are given time to rest and to dream.

As Ms. Huffington states, we are in a society that seems to value the sleep-deprived state of one-upmanship.  Organizations, reflective of this society, seem to be caught up in the busy-ness of the business.  How much time is spent resting instead of doing, in order to allow for big picture thinking, planning and looking out for the future?  There seems to be far too much emphasis on a frenetic goal oriented checklist that narrows our work-life focus into the minutia and drains us of organizational life.  Getting ‘stuff’ done becomes critical so that we can prove our busy-ness worth in comparison to each other.

What gets lost in all of this frantic detail driven activity?  The ability to see and create mission, vision, and values, which come from, and enable, big picture clarity.

Organizations are living creations, made up of valuable human energy that ebbs and flows in natural rhythms.  All living things need to rest so that they can be re-filled and re-charged in order to meet new challenges in positive ways.   At the very least, let’s give ourselves a break and start building in some ‘organizational dream time’ on that checklist.

Maybe, we should sleep on it first.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How much time in your workday is devoted to thinking and not doing?
  2. When you are tired, how would you rate your ability to be creative?
  3. When are you most creative and productive within your workday?
  4. What is the value in being sleep deprived?