How do we inspire employees to lead lives full of meaning and joy?
On May 3rd, Limeade Engage keynote speakers Dr. Barry Schwartz and Diana Nyad explored this question — and left the audience in awe.
Dr. Barry Schwartz is a professor, top TED talk speaker and acclaimed author. His most recent book, Why We Work, is a groundbreaking tour of the purpose of work in our lives, showing how work operates in our culture and how you can find your own path to happiness.
At Limeade Engage, Dr. Schwartz shared the science behind intrinsic motivation that shed new light on how we should all think about incentives in the workplace.
- Extrinsic motivation is when someone performs or engages in an activity to earn an award of avoid punishment (such as joining a weight loss program to get an insurance premium reduction).
- Intrinsic motivation is when a person engages in an activity because it is personally rewarding (such as joining a weight loss program to have more energy for your kids).
“Due to intrinsic motivation, there’s an intimate connection between the means and the end. It’s about the journey AND the destination. Think about the connection between the means and the end — intrinsic motivation makes the pursuit serious, not frivolous.”
The biggest reminder we walked away with: incentives can actually have negative effects on employee engagement and work satisfaction. It’s more about connecting the dots to the bigger picture and believing what you’re doing is valuable and appreciated. Incentives can fail to motivate people to do the right thing by ignoring this intrinsic motivation.
Studies show that people are less likely to help load a couch into a van when you offer payment than when you don’t. Why? Because it makes their gesture a transaction rather than a favor to another human being.
At the age of sixty-four, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage, swimming 111 miles in fifty-three hours from Havana to Key West.
Everyone’s eyes and ears were glued to Diana’s keynote at Limeade Engage. On top of being a champion swimmer, she impressed the audience with her passionate storytelling, trumpet playing, singing and whistling abilities. Diana’s message was very clear:
“No matter what you do in this life, do it so you can’t do it a fingernail better. Lead a life full of meaning and joy. Don’t leave it for tomorrow. Chase it all today.”
Despite failing four times in her quest to Cuba and being told it can’t be done, Diana proved anything is possible — and you’re never too old to chase your dreams. It’s all about feeling like you couldn’t have done it even a “fingernail” better. Because in swimming, you can win or lose by the distance of a fingernail. To win, you have to give it your all.
Thanks to Dr. Schwartz and Diana Nyad, Limeade Engage ignited a spark of inspiration to transform employee engagement.