Motivation. Where does it come from? Where does it go? Does it come from outside or from within? Is there an unlimited resource or do you have to pay for every ounce?
W. Edwards Deming said that all motivation was intrinsic, that it came from inside. He said that all management needed to do to motivate staff was to stop DEmotivating them. Deming said that we needed to provide “joy in work”, that “pride in workmanship” was where real and lasting motivation came from.
In the news today was the story that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) was going to award holidays to those staff that had excellent attendance records. Apparently, the civil service has an average of 12.6 sick days per employee per year. That is twice the average in business.
I would bet my bottom dollar that instead of providing extrinsic motivation to turn up to work, that if the DWP management gave their staff non-DEmotivating work to do their absenteeism would fall dramatically. Get out of the way of staff doing a good job. Then they will want to come in of their own accord.
How do you get out of the way? Stop prescribing work, start listening to your staff, implement the improvements they suggest (or have a very good reason why you can’t), help staff study the design of work as a system and involve staff in the changes that result.
People like to come to work tomorrow if they did a good job today.
And I believe that people love to come to work when they did a good job today and helped improve the work so that they know they will do a better job tomorrow.