What makes us feel good about our work? – Dan Ariely


What did I learn from TED talk

What makes us feel good about our work? by Dan Ariely

Whenever I talk about the motivation for work , I always said that money is one of the factors but money is not only the factor. We can give money to someone to work for us but if the person has no motivation to work he may not give us the result we expect from him. The talk by Dan Ariely on the topic What makes us feel good about our work? proves the same thing. You can watch the video here


I worked with many organizations and helped many startups to grow. People feels that by giving money we can make anyone work for us or we can make them stay longer with us. But money is not the factor that keeps the person stay in the company or motivate him to come to work.

If we take my example, I love challenges, if I do not have challenges I do not like to work. So for me, challenges are the motivation factor to go to work or take any projects on hand. If we have the manpower and we see them not giving output as expected then it is the motivation that is missing in the team.

As per the example in the video, people lose their motivation when they feel ignored. When employees give their best to make any project successful we need to acknowledge their work. If we missed that part, it is for sure that you will not get more attention by that person again and you may lose that person from the company.

I worked with people from different cultures and different countries and found that their nature was same. Rewarding them with money and rewarding them with appreciation email shown different results. Rewards with money gave them temporary happiness but when we reward them with appreciation email keeping a larger group on the email list, the happiness index was higher. We saw the performance improvement as well as more dedication to the work.

How to know what employee wants or what will motivate him ?

This is the most common question among the managers, it is really easy to get the details. Go with one on one meeting and ask following simple questions.

1. What do you like about the company?
2. What do you not like about the company?
3. If you are company owner what will you change?

The answer to the first question will give you the details about the motivating factor that encourages him to come to office daily. We need to make sure that it is always taken care of for this person.

The answer to the second question will give you the details about demotivating factors that are pulling back him from coming to the office. Theses points can also be helpful to grow the company. Try to act on those points if it is possible and make sure that you take a review after applying changes.

The answer to the third question will give you the details about what employee thinks about the company. I have seen that many employees are not clear about the company vision. Getting answer to this question will also give you the idea what employees feel about the company.

As per the old management school books, there should be the distance between the company owner and the employees. But modern management is saying that the more distance you have the more chances of failure is there. Reduce the distance between owner and employees and apply the transparent management this will be the best motivation factor for your employees. This will help to build a sustainable relationship between company and employee , overall helping company to grow with the faster pace.