Article

Creating motivating performance indicators

Published

August 2020

Authors

How do we design motivating performance indicators? Based on Daniel H. Pink’s three factors for motivation, you can explore whether your organisation's performance metrics instil motivation and create the right incentives for your employees.

In his best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink defines motivation as the product of three factors: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Translated into a business environment, this means that people tend to be motivated when:

  1. They have the autonomy to direct the way they perform their job.
  2. They feel comfortable and skilled enough to execute the job at hand.
  3. They see the purpose and understand the value created by doing the job.

Based on Pink’s factors for motivation, good performance metrics should take each of the three elements into account.

If you want to create motivating performance indicators, you should ask yourself the following for each performance indicator in the organisation’s performance management system:

Autonomy
  • Do my employees have the autonomy to behave as they find necessary to positively influence the performance indicator?
  • Do I allow employees to come up with new and innovative ways of improving the performance indicator?
  • Do I restrict autonomy by enforcing inefficient standard operating procedures related to this performance indicator?
Mastery
  • Do my employees have the competences to perform in the most ideal way to affect the performance indicator?
  • Do my employees have the necessary tools available to perform effectively related to this performance indicator?
  • Do I offer the required training to ensure sufficient competences?
Purpose
  • Do my employees clearly see the importance of improving the performance indicator?
  • Do my employees know and understand the organisation's strategic must-win battles?
  • Do I clearly communicate why this performance indicator is critical for the organisation to reach its strategic objectives?

By answering these questions, you will make it clear whether your organisation's performance metrics instil motivation and create the right incentives for the employees to act on.

Business performance

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