Rewarding people for being good at their jobs, makes them better at that job!… RIGHT? Here is why “Social Science” says: “NO”
An analogy often used to describe motivation is the carrot and the stick, with the cake being the reward and the stick the punishment driven methodology. But this reward v.s. punishment system I believe will only work for motivating people to do simple short term activities; and it is not great for getting people to do complex work over a long period of time.
Research shows that rewards only yield temporary compliance and an individual’s behavior might change for a short period, before reverting back to their “default setting”. Much like a failed commitment to a diet or fitness regime.
Similarly, rewards like bonus schemes, dinners, and “employee of the month” do little in the way of changing a person’s attitude, for the same reason incentives to quit smoking or lose weight seldom create the desired long-term behavioral change.
Salary and wages is part of what most management theorists call a “hygiene factor”. Which also includes status, security, work conditions and how your boss or manager treats you. While not having proper work hygiene makes people feel demotivated at work, the theory also states that, having lots of hygiene doesn’t actually make you more motivated.
What actually does motivate your people?
Four of the top motivational factors include: Personal growth, recognition, responsibility, and a challenging work environment.
In fact, statistics show the most motivated people aren’t necessarily the best paid or rewarded, but rather those who feel a connection with their work. Understanding the motivational principles that best suit your specific people is the first step towards getting them to work more efficiently as individuals; and then as a team.
What is the simple learning outcome here?
Rather than structuring your team’s workdays around traditional “reward based systems”, try implementing a simple, three step “continual, collective, engaged” strategy.
What are the three simple steps to increase team motivation?
(and in turn productivity)
The first step is to ensure that each team member has meaningful goals, which have been set effectively by following five fundamental steps. However this alone is not enough!
The magic only happens when your team’s individual goals are in-line with your desired business outcomes.