Discover The Secrets To An Engaged Workforce

In my last few posts I have written about employee engagement in the workplace (Your Employees Are Happy . . . And Other Popular Myths and The Employee Engagement Survey Says . . .). I conducted an informal survey that indicated that 47% of employees felt that they were engaged in their jobs but their leaders felt that only 24% of their employees were engaged. This is a fairly large disconnect.

So, as leaders, what can we do to increase employee engagement and, at the same time, align ourselves with our employees around engagement (besides the ideas that I listed at the end of my last blog post)?

I believe Daniel Pink has done a great job of researching this topic and he has published his ideas in the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. I will take a more detailed look at this in today’s post and over the next couple of weeks.


Drive postulates that in today’s knowledge based workforce, we cannot use the old Motivation 2.0 methods to engage our workforce. This was the carrot and stick motivation method . . . if you do “this”, I will give you “that.” In fact there are studies that show that Motivation 2.0 actually decreases productivity and engagement!

Pink recommends Motivation 3.0. This is defined as intrinsic motivation. A person’s main motivator is the freedom, challenge and purpose of the undertaking they are working on. If a person has all three in place they will be internally motivated to do great work and find purpose and fulfillment in doing the work. If you take away any of these three factors, a person will find it hard to be motivated and engaged. Pink labels these three factors as;

1) Autonomy

2) Mastery

3) Purpose



Autonomy is the ability to direct your own life. “Giving people sovereignty over what they do, when they do it, how they do it, where they do it, who they do it with. To me, it is the secret in the workplace of engagement.Daniel Pink .

People become engaged when they have autonomy over;

1) the task at hand – don’t micromanage your staff. Hold them accountable for their work but lay out clear expectations and outcomes and get out of the way and let the employees do their work.

2) their time – set out clear expectations but let employees manage their own time.

3) techniques – employees should be able to choose their own methods of getting their work done.

4) team – the ability to form teams to get the work done as opposed to being given a predetermined team.


The ultimate freedom for creative groups is the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Some skeptics insist that innovation is expensive. In the long run, innovation is cheap. Mediocrity is expensive – and autonomy can be the antidote.” Tom Kelley


Next week I’ll cover the topic of Mastery. Until then, ask yourself “what can I adjust within my leadership style to support and promote a Motivation 3.0 work environment and allow employees to have more Autonomy over their work?”

Be sure to post some comments documenting your ideas and the results.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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