While listening to the radio one morning, two DJs, one male, one female, and the producer became embroiled in a hot debate. The source of the debate came about when the male DJ stated that he was going to “tip” his mailman for all the good work he did during the year. The DJ went on to say that the postman always delivers the mail on time, does it in an efficient manner and calls him and his wife by name. The producer went ballistic arguing the other side of the “reward” coin. The producer felt that it was great that the mailman was doing his job and that he indeed may be doing it well, but that is what he is paid to do and should not be rewarded for doing his job to the best of his ability.
The DJ then responded with, “So I guess if the company gives you a bonus for doing your job well, you will return it.” The producer replied, “Well, it’s not necessary that the company pay me a bonus. But if I were given a bonus, I would not give it back.” This added fuel to the fire and the female DJ accused the producer of “talking out of both sides of her mouth.” And so the reward for motivation debate went and probably goes pretty much the same in many organizations.
Do reward systems always work? Not according to a book by Daniel H. Pink entitled, Drive – The surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. According to Pink, people who are internally motivated as opposed to being externally motivated are far more productive and in much less need of rewards of any type. How does this idea affect the workplace?
People who are internally motivated bring rewards to the organization. Here are a few examples.
- Volunteer their time to projects expecting nothing in return
- Gladly offer ideas and share resources
- Work with a high level of concentration wanting to do the best possible job
- Their habits and attributes can influence others to do the same
- Work with autonomy freeing up more time for the manager
- Miss fewer days of work and come in on time or early
- As team members, freely help others without being asked or expecting anything in return
- They are efficient, productive, and accountable
Logically, it would stand to reason that organizations should hire only internally motivated employees. Wouldn’t this seem to be THE smartest move in order to reduce whining, conflict and low productivity? While you may have visions of cubicles staffed with robots, it is possible to hire more internally motivated employees. Remember, that as with all hiring, there is a system of using interviews, reference checks, and back ground checks to hire the best person. Here are some tips on how to ferret out the self-motivated.
- Begin by adding the word “self-motivated” to your job search ad
- It takes one to know one – referrals from the self-motivated types that already work for you can be a great place to start your search
- Assessments can provide great insight as to whether a person is self-motivated or not. Just be sure that the ones you use are valid, reliable, and scientifically based.
- Ask the probing and behavioral type interview questions - for example
- Questions about their response to failures can reveal the resiliency of a candidate
- Ask about promotions. If this candidate has a steady promotion record, there is probably good reason for their success. Be careful here, as some companies have a culture where managers promote the incompetent just to get them out of their department
- What interests does the candidate have outside of work? People who are self-motivated have a zest for life and other interests.
- Because of social media, relationship building, and associations, there are many more non-traditional ways to check references.
To hire the best fit for any job, ensure that a benchmark has been conducted and that the job has told you what it needs to function at its optimal level. Don’t forget to tie these into strategic planning goals. Doing this will also help you to write an ad for the job that is clear, concise and on the mark for your organization’s needs. Ask for referrals both inside and outside your company. Ask behavior-based interview questions. Conduct a thorough background check and perform an in depth reference check. While there are no guarantees, these functions can help you hire an organization of self-motivated individuals and reduce the reward dilemma.