Motivating Learners and Coaches—is Delivering Happiness the Secret Sauce?

Employee Engagement
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When you think about motivating learners to take charge of their own development and learning, what questions have you asked yourself that can help achieve results like a wildly successful company like, say, Zappos?

For the uninitiated, Zappos is a wildly successful online shoe retailer. Their popularity stems from their hyper-focus on customer service. In fact, if you were to ask a Zappos employee, he or she would tell you that Zappos is a customer-service company that happens to sell shoes. This emphasis on the customer experience has helped them grow a customer base of 10 million, and 75% of their purchases are repeat customers.

Last night, I watched a television interview with Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. He was promoting the new book he published, titled “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose”.

During the interview, he shared that one way to keep employees engaged and committed to the company values and results was to make it easy for them socialize with “work friends.” In his experience, he found that this workplace camaraderie was a major factor in driving the values of the company, and in turn, lead to the huge growth and popularity Zappos has in the marketplace.

Motivating learners: there’s a better way!

Motivational guru Daniel Pink has conducted similar research, which he details in his best-selling book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” He writes that intrinsic motivation is not just a carrot (hope) or stick (fear) approach. Instead, the keys to driving high performance, effectiveness, and satisfaction are:

  • Autonomy – desire to direct own lives
  • Mastery – desire to continually improve at something that matters
  • Purpose – desire to do things in service of something bigger than just ourselves

These three motivational keys are apparent in Zappos employees, and in their customers. At Allen, we likewise emulate these values when we develop a training solution, or a design tool like DesignJot.

Does your company take these motivational factors into consideration? Have they contributed to your company’s success?

Learn more about our custom training services today.

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  1. The relationship between motivation is learning is well established. I, too, seek to gauge motivational factors in my training programs and pay close attention to individual learning styles. Sometimes the correlation is obvious; other times, it takes a bit of intuition.

  2. When there’s motivation, it’s easy. It’s when there isn’t – like in the case of compliance or “mandatory” training which every company has in some form or another – that’s challenging. Then it moves from a motivation game to a persuasion game. There’s a lot of innovation opportunity in this space to change the game.

  3. John Gillis

    Lynn – excellent article and intriguing topic…..that I believe needs more inclusion in our typical day-to-day business activities.