The headlines lately have focused on how organizations are increasing starting wages, giving bonuses, and providing larger annual raises as a way to stave off the great resignation. And, it is important that employees be paid equitably for their work. But I worry that there are organizations that think that this monetary adjustment is all that is needed.

Do I believe that people are quitting because they can make more money elsewhere? Sure. But, I also believe that people are leaving because they do not feel appreciated or valued, because they do not understand how what they do contributes to the success of their team, the department, the organization. 

If we look at Daniel Pink’s work on Drive, and Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, both of these are telling us that the science, the research, the data, all support the need to focus on intrinsic motivations. Pink describes these intrinsic motivations as:

Autonomy – the urge to direct our own lives; Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters; and Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves. Sinek speaks of Why as purpose and beliefs. In other words, at an organizational level, why does your company exist? From an employer/employee perspective, this is about being able to create and communicate a compelling vision that excites and inspires the team. 

The sad part of this is that Pink and Sinek have been talking about this for well more than a decade now. As you think not only about retaining the talent you have, but working to attract new talent to your organization, I would strongly encourage you to think about how you understand and tap into their intrinsic motivations.