As I Was Saying

Last night, this video about what motivates people made the rounds on Twitter:

It’s an interesting summation of Dan Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

At first blush, you might think it does not agree much with my list of priorities with a job. My top item:

I want money. I’m not in this to change the world. I am a mercenary with a good skill set. I want a good paycheck. Also, they tell me benefits are important. But if you’re not going to offer me good compensation, I’m not going to work there.

The emphasis of the talk is on other things to empower and motivate people (autonomy, mastery, and purpose). But lower in hierarchy of needs remains money. From Dan Pink’s talk:

Fact: Money is a motivator at work, but in a slightly strange way. If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated. What’s curious about that, there’s another paradox there which is that the best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. Pay people enough so that they’re not thinking about money, and they’re thinking about the work.

Too many organizations are going to take away from that talk that money isn’t important and the other things will motivate employees to work for the company at a discount. Kind of like HR people trying to sell you that the staff bowling parties, free sodas, and great atmosphere of an organization is worth $25,000 in annual salary. It’s not the way to go, because other companies are going to catch on and start moving in this direction–so many have already–that underpaid employees (and employees who wonder if they’re underpaid) are going to wonder whether the grass would be just as green and the salary more green at that company up the road.

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