Friday, August 6, 2010

Motivating Employees

Dan Ariely & allyourcode wrote about motivation, and how easily managers can take that away, by just rejecting our projects.

Read more for my response, and a suggestion on how to break bad news to employees.

allyourcode & Dan, I agree with what both of you said, about our projects not reaching fruition. I'm so frustrated by all the times that I put so much effort into something, and then it proved worthless. As an example, it would have been just as worth while to hand in a stack of blank paper, rather than creating a brilliant proposal.

I think that the best way to break the bad news to us, is to sit us down in a conference room, and bring in some treats. The manager shouldn't try to be lively or upbeat. At this point, the news should be obvious, but the manager should really give a heart warming speech, before spelling out the news specifically, because it's really the motivation that he is trying to protect. Giving us time to think about it, before stating things in no uncertain terms will give us time to see his body language, which would give us time to recognize that he isn't uncaring, and that there is still a lot of motivation for trying hard on the next project.

Dan, you mentioned that it is hard to find meaning in our jobs, when we are at the lowest end of the corporate structure. It makes me wonder what our options are, when the only jobs available are at the lower end of the corporate structure. In other words, how do we know which jobs are best, if we can't find fulfillment? How do we know which jobs will have the most potential? As I proof read this, I suspect that the best jobs are the jobs that will have camaraderie to help pass the time. Maybe a good experiment would be to do the Bionicals experiment, but let it be done in groups, where several participants are actually experimenters who are enjoying each other's company. Despite seeing the Bionicals disassembled, would they keep going?

Also, maybe this is a place where churches can play a big part. They could motivate/encourage the poor people to stick to their jobs, despite adverse circumstances, in hopes of getting a decent promotion. As it is, they probably try to encourage people to search for fulfilling work, but if fulfillment is not possible at the bottom end of the structure, then maybe churches shouldn't encourage people to do that. I don't know if that's a good idea, or not, though.

It would be nice if we could also find a way of determining which companies will offer the best motivations for hard work. I think that most organizations will say that they all do.

Your dorm idea sounds wonderful. There are actual communities similar to this in Canada. I went to visit 1 of them, to tour the place. It's very much like a residential village, where they often eat together, and the houses are designed for privacy, but are also designed to bring the people closer. An innovative idea of theirs was to place the kitchen sink facing the street, so that as people go by, you can see them, when you wash your dishes.

You encourage us to research as individuals, but it is extremely hard, I think. I think that individuals do not have the time and resources to do proper research. I participate as a volunteer as often as I can at the University of British Columbia, to help them with their research projects. The amount of time that they spend doing it makes it prohibitive for us mere mortals to run projects. I think that we should do it, but I also think that there needs to be a way for us to deal with this obstacle. For example, if I have a question about human nature and/or my ability to make a kind of decision, then how do I know what to do?

That being said, I want to start researching for business, as well as for curiosity. So, I intend to join

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