A study by Thomas W.H. Ng (University of Hong Kong) and Daniel Feldman (University of Georgia) concludes that, contrary to common beliefs, job tenure is largely unrelated to job performance. A key reason they cite is that, as job tenure increases, employees are likely to become more bored and less motivated at work.
This study seems to confirm the basic thesis of Daniel Pink’s Drive and our own Take Charge of Your Talent: that to gain long term engagement and employee satisfaction, tapping the intrinsic motivation of individuals is far superior to stick and carrot external motivators.
This observation, as important as it may be, still requires at least two critical pieces to become operational:
1. The willingness of an organization to welcome and initiate the cultural shifts necessary to encourage and celebrate intrinsic motivation as a prominent engine of productivity and innovation. This requires loosening the reins of hierarchy to encourage the personal responsibility and controlled chaos that allow for individual contributions to bubble up.
2. A structured approach or model for the fulfillment of this initiative that answers fundamental questions like:
- How can I ignite my interests and passion?
- How can I sustain that energy in the face of daunting obstacles?
- How do my efforts pay off for me and my organization?
In Take Charge of Your Talent, we’ve created an approach that puts talent development into the hands of the talented; a process that asks you to be the hero of your own talent story: a story that begins with great hopes and aspirations, challenges you to accelerate through all manner of obstacles, and to create assets of lasting value.
Clearly our view is that an individual’s ability to fully use their talent has a strong relationship to issues of motivation. In fact our survey results show a close correlation between use of talent and employee satisfaction. We also think it’s important to recognize that this is not only about people who are bored. Even high performers have 30 to 40% of their talent untapped. Thus, there is a win-win opportunity for long-term employees and their organizations to figure out how to unlock that untapped talent.
Photo credit – Scott Crawford