a talk that debunks effectiveness of pay-for-performance

I found the following talk to be incredibly thought-provoking as it relates to the gov’t’s efforts to increase worker productivity. This speaker shows how traditional incentives don’t work as assumed to when the work requires cognitive skills and creativity. On the contrary, those incentives have the opposite results! I highly recommend this video.

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

link – http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

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Amanda Blount

There was another discussion where we examined this information, and I will say now as I did then, there are many ways to motivate people. There is so much that older management does not see which could motivate the younger generation. I am sorry, but we know it is not our Grandfather’s economy. There is no more cradle to grave businesses. We watched our families lose their jobs in the 1980s and now again, we are the ones who are scared in the early 2000s. So, how do you keep people loyal and make them hang around enough to share the experiences they have gained in your company. Get to know your people and find out what really motivates people. I have heard time and again parents who will not leave a company (even for more money) because they are provided safe and realiable on-site daycare at reduced prices. We have people I work with who will now leave the agency because of the easy leave policy. If we want to take a day off, there is no time limit in advance you have to request off. You can request the day before, and as long as nothing life changing is going on, it will be approved. This works perfect for parents who need to take a day off for the kids. Also, money is not always the answer. Education is a good motivator. Free educatoin on agency time is a nice little benefit. Of course, the Atonomy and the ROWE is a perfect work environment. I would love to work for a ROWE company. Being able to expand my creative side to get my work done is something I can certainly wish for. Maybe I should look into GOOGLE. 🙂


I watched it a few weeks ago – It was indeed though provoking. Managers aren’t taught how to be good managers and most of them didn’t go to school for management…same goes for leaders. I would love for these ideas to spread.

Chris Lambert

It seems that there are many readily-accepted extrinsic motivators–such as praise and recognition–that, in my mind, contradict this talk. How do you balance intrinsic and extrinsic motivators? Could that balance be found by using extrinsic forces as reinforcing motivators, rather than the primary motivator? Is there any research to support that idea?