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Taleo Research Recommends (vol. 3)

Taleo Research Recommends postings describe and link to some of the best content – articles, blog posts, research, and more – that we have come across in recent weeks. We focus of course on Talent Management and its particular practice areas, but at times also include items of more general interest to HR professionals and technologists. This edition has a focus on employee motivation and engagement, followed by a series of “quick hit” items of interest.

What Motivates and Engages Your Employees?
July-August Training MagazineLorri Freifeld, Editor-in-Chief of Training magazine, wrote a great article in the July/August issue titled “Why Cash Doesn’t Motivate…”  – but quickly subtitled “…Everyone all the time when it comes to workplace performance and training. And a look at what does.” An important caveat of course, since cash – in many contexts, and up to certain limits – obviously can and does motivate people. Freifeld begins by sharing some recent research, from McKinsey and a LinkedIn survey, on the limits of cash as a motivator. She then reports on what cash as an incentive does to our way of thinking – and why it often fails to motivate people to top performance in the way leaders hope it will.

Freifeld then applies the same thinking to training, noting that what truly motivates someone to participate in training (or any learning) is them getting significant value from doing so. She rightly focuses on the critical need to align training objectives with business objectives: making that clear can significantly motivate employees to take the training seriously and stay engaged in the program. Enlisting managers in clarifying and supporting this connection can also significantly help. I’ll note further that in the L&D world there is an important acronym, WIIFM: What’s In It For Me? And this concept can be applied at many levels: the overall training or development program needs a strong WIIFM for people to be engaged and excited to participate and get the most out of it. But even within a course, each module, lesson, or topic should have a clearly stated and effective WIIFM to keep that motivation going throughout the program.

The same issue of Training magazine has an additional article on this subject, “Employee Work Passion,” by Drea Zigarmi, Jim Diehl, Dobie Houson, and David Witt, all from The Ken Blanchard Companies. They ask the question “What’s important in creating a motivating work environment and whose job is it?” They then provide some interesting results from a survey of 800 Training magazine readers, who were asked questions about “12 Employee Work Passion Factors,” split into three groups as follows:

  • Job Factors: Autonomy, Meaningful Work, Feedback, Workload Balance, Task Variety

  • Organizational Factors: Collaboration, Performance Expectations, Growth, Procedural Justice (Fairness); Distribute Justice (Rewards)

  • Relationship Factors: Connectedness with Colleagues, Connectedness with Leader

Overall, Job Factors were more influential than the other two categories, and within Job Factors the top two were Meaningful Work and Autonomy. For more details on this survey’s interesting results, read the full article.

July Talent Management MagazineSimilar messages were provided in “A Long Engagement: How to Retain Top Performers,” by Tom Daniel of PDI Ninth House in the July issue of Talent Management magazine. He begins by referencing PDI Ninth House data regarding key motivators for thousands of leaders worldwide, who when asked to rank the top 5 factors (from a list of 19) that they consider most important in a job, indicated that monetary compensation ranked only eighth and advancement opportunities ranked only tenth. Again we see that the traditional motivators just aren’t as important as many once thought. The article further describes several behaviors that leaders can adopt to create a culture of high engagement, trust, and mutual respect to better retain and energize top talent, including: ask for – and actually use – employee ideas; create clarity; convey understanding of career goals; foster cooperation instead of competitiveness; promote trust; and leverage nontraditional perks.

At Taleo, we have been thinking along similar lines as these recent articles — e.g., see the special supplement to the August issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine, "Compensation and Talent Strategies That Minimize Turnover," by Matthew Rice, Taleo Director of Product Marketing. And this is one of several reasons that we are delighted to have Daniel Pink as one of the keynote speakers at our upcoming Taleo World conference, September 11-14 in San Francisco. Daniel Pink is New York Times Best Selling author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, which uses 50 years of behavioral science to overturn the conventional wisdom about human motivation. Pink shows that carrot and stick motivators have been oversold and that high performance depends much more on the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and the world.

Taleo World 2011 promises to be a truly remarkable event – with keynotes from Condoleezza Rice, Geoff Colvin,  Sharon Allen, and the aforementioned Daniel Pink – click here to register!
Quick Hits
Here are some other recent items that recently came across the radar of Taleo Research, that we think are worth your time:

HR Must Stop “Kicking The Can” on HR Technology Strategy
In TRR vol. 1 we highlighted two solid blog posts from Jason Averbook, CEO of KnowledgeInfusion, that focused on the important role that HR technology strategy plays in the shift from traditional HR to strategic HR. Continuing on this theme, Averbook later borrowed a phrase from the recent government debt ceiling debate (not to mention the European economic challenges.) He urges HR leaders to not "kick the can" when it comes to their technology strategy, and gives several helpful specifics regarding the need to not mortgage your future, to question the status quo, to make tough decisions, and more.

Build Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
Sandi Edwards of the American Management Association, in the July issue of Talent Management magazine, stresses the need for developing global leaders and the many benefits of developing leaders internally compared with recruiting from the outside (points which are consistent with the data and arguments put forth in our recent research paper, co-authored with DDI, “Developing Emerging Leaders: Build vs. Buy.") This article also had an excellent sidebar piece about the innovative practices of Cricket Communications and how they use the Taleo Learn LMS to develop their future leaders.
The Burgeoning Metrics Market (free to ASTD members)
Pat Galagan, editor-at-large for ASTD, in the July issue of T+D magazine, provides an outstanding overview of the current state of learning and development measurement and metrics. In addition to ASTD’s own efforts in this regard, also included are descriptions of the standardization efforts underway by both SHRM and KnowledgeAdvisors
The eLearning Guild’s report on "Rapid eLearning Authoring: Top Tools"
The latest research report from the eLearning Guild covers the top rapid eLearning tools such as Adobe Captivate, Presenter, and Connect; Articulate Presenter and Engage; Harbinger Raptivity; and Camtasia’s products. For each tool, the report provides an overview and then considers the tool from several perspectives such as tool compatibility, development time per course hour, tool costs, outsourcing vs. in-house development, customer support, global user needs, and limitations. This is a great report for anyone considering purchasing or switching standalone e-Learning authoring tools.
Related Posts
Taleo Research Recommends (vol. 2)
Taleo Research Recommends (vol. 1)

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