Does your organizational culture motivate employees?
When you see your Zeal dashboard, one of the first things you will see is a set of five boxes containing the following words: morale, relationships, autonomy, mastery and purpose. At Zeal, we measure your company’s scores in each of these categories through the series of 32 questions that we ask you during check-ins.
Why do we measure these five areas? Because, these five concepts are core motivators, which drive each of us to perform at our best. By measuring them, we are evaluating how well your company succeeds at providing a motivating environment, or culture, for every member of your team.
We base our philosophy on the work of behavioral psychologists over the past 30 years. The three psychologists that have most influenced our methodology are listed below, including some of their relevant publications:
- Daniel Pink. “Drive” is a great book about motivation and one of our primary sources. If you have read the book, you will immediately recognize the terms autonomy, mastery and purpose. You may also find his book “To Sell Is Human” really interesting, because he applies some of the same behavior psychology to how we can inspire the people around us.
- Simon Sinek. “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last” are two of his works that also address motivation. Both of these books focus on helping people find meaning and purpose in their lives. His TedX talk titled “How great leadership inspire action”, is a great 12-minute video, which you can find here.
- Martin Seligman. He is considered the founder of Positive Psychology. His books called “Authentic Happiness” and “Flourish” examine happiness and well-being in both our personal and professional lives.
Morale encapsulates all of the categories. In a company setting, employee morale is defined as the job satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being an employee has within a workplace setting. Proven to have a direct effect on productivity, morale is one of the cornerstones of business. Martin Seligman prefers the term “well-being”, which is very similar to happiness.
Our relationships with our peers and particularly our direct manager have the greatest impact on our engagement at work. According to the Gallup Organization, people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. And it doesn’t have to be a best friend: Gallup found that people who simply had a good friend in the workplace are more likely to be satisfied. Higher engagement leads to greater well-being, productivity and success at work.
Autonomy means that people want to have control over their work. Autonomous behavior means that people act with a full sense of volition and choice. It promotes greater conceptual understanding, enchanced persistence at work and in sporting activities, higher productivity, less burnout, and greater levels of psychological well-being. Autonomy also leads to engagement. Autonomy is different from independence because autonomy gives people the opportunity to act with choice. Workplaces can support autonomy by giving people real control over various aspects of their work – whether it’s deciding what to work on or when to do it.
Mastery means that people want to get better at what they do as long as it matters to them. Mastery requires engagement and begins with flow – optimal experiences when the challenges you face are exquisitely matched to your abilities. Pink suggests that smart workplaces supplement day-to-day activities with Goldilocks tasks – not too hard and not too easy. The three rules of mastery (according to Pink):
- Mastery is a mindset. It requires the capacity to see your abilities not as finite, but as infinitely improvable.
- Mastery is a pain. It demands effort, grit, and deliberate practice.
- Mastery is an asymptote. It’s impossible to fully realize, which means that there is always room for improvement.
Purpose means that people want to be part of something that is bigger than they are. Viktor Frankl suggested that the will to meaning is the basic motivation of human life. Human beings are not in pursuit of happiness, instead they search for reasons to be happy. Connecting to a cause larger than yourself that drives you provides the deepest motivation. Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning and into work with a sense of excitement. Many people equate purpose with their “why” — why they do what they do every day.
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