It is not possible to achieve meaningful improvement within the company without optimizing the efforts of its workforce. The topic of motivation is one of the primary sources for innovation in the past few decades, and there are many developments from behavioral studies related to this issue. Studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, and Carnegie Mellon University have shown that motivation in cognitive tasks is different from mechanical ones (Pink). This essay discusses what factors lead to increased performance and how they can be incorporated into businesses to maximize employees’ outputs.
These studies brought to light new tendencies in human behavior that signify the necessity of changes in the way companies incentivize their employees. The primary difference that has been revealed by these studies is that the perception of stimulus from mechanical tasks differs greatly from cognitive ones. Monetary rewards are essential for incentivizing mechanical workers, as they indeed lead to higher output and better results (Pink). However, monetary rewards for cognitive and creative tasks lead to the opposite result, reducing the worker’s productivity (Pink). Payment alone is not sufficient to incentivize better performance, but it must be enough to remove the strain of financial issues from an employee (Pink). The primary sources of motivation for employees engaged in these tasks are autonomy, mastery, and purpose (Pink). Each aspect requires a combination of conditions to be created by the company.
The first factor is autonomy, which implies larger freedom of actions, access to meaningful decision-making, and self-direction. It is essential to separate the management process that ensures compliance from self-direction, which promotes higher engagement. To achieve higher autonomy within the company, employers have to ease control over their employees. For example, higher autonomy can be achieved by allowing employees to create their work schedules without additional supervision. Moreover, the company can provide an array of tasks for employees to choose from to incentivize decision-making.
Another crucial aspect that leads to employee satisfaction is mastery, which is the need for skill growth and acquisition. Together with a suitable challenge, mastery leads to a meaningful contribution towards the company’s goals. First of all, an employer must know what skills their employees want to improve and assess how it will correlate with the company’s goals. Aside from creating additional training opportunities, such as education courses, employers can allow employees to assume the roles of teachers and students themselves, making them able to train each other in skills that they are willing to improve.
The third source of motivation is purpose – a transcendent goal of the company that it attempts to achieve with its products or services. A clearly stated purpose that aims to improve results that benefit not only the company but society can attract better talents and increase the company’s social standing. Nowadays, many companies have their mission and vision stated on their websites to show their customers and potential employees what the company stands for. For example, Google’s vision statement shows that the company’s goal is to make information accessible to everyone (“How Google Search Works | Our Mission”). By knowing the purpose of every task that is performed within the company, employees can take their jobs more seriously and anticipate the impact of their actions.
In conclusion, with the right combination of these factors, any company whose employees perform cognitive tasks can achieve better results, increase its market performance, or even make a breakthrough innovation. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose play a vital role in modern businesses across the globe and have shown how unconventional management tactics can benefit companies and society as a whole. The end goal of employees who work on cognitive tasks is shown to be the meaning of their work instead of purely material rewards, which makes it especially crucial to allow them to have more freedom.
“How Google Search Works | Our Mission.” Google, Web.
Pink, Daniel. “RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” YouTube, RSA, 2010, Web.