Posts tagged: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Increase Employee Productivity

The Case for Unlimited Vacation Time: Increased Productivity

By John Schaefer, April 20, 2012 6:00 am

Businesses are increasingly looking at unlimited vacation time in an effort to increase productivity. Sounds counterintuitive but for companies like Hubspot, the benefit outweighs the cost. Since Hubspot implemented the unlimited vacation time the company has been ranked the number two fastest growing software company by Inc. 500.

The fact is that Hubspot and other companies with similar vacation policies have created an environment where employees know they are trusted. In turn employees have a vested interest and personal responsibility to get their work completed. The result is increased productivity and less employee turnover.

Employees want to stay with a company that trusts them to get their projects completed “anytime, anywhere as long as they are completed.” We’ve come a long way from the 1950’s boss who breathes down the neck of their employees while screaming deadlines and the value of 9-5 business hours.

The fact of the matter is that unlimited vacation time won’t work for all industries. A manufacturing plant needs people to manage the plant functions. Municipal services like trash pick-up can’t be done whenever the driver wants to work. The lesson to be learned is in the value of creating a work environment where employees are trusted and appreciated.

John Schaefer is a Consultant with over 20 years of experience helping companies realize and react to what he calls theEmployer/Employee Disconnect. “Your people have the capacity and desire to become far more involved and productive than they are today. The resources required are freely available, if you simply choose to use them,” says Schaefer.   “The key is to get your managers and supervisors to embrace this challenge by seeing what’s financially in it for them.”

Schaefer Recognition Group will share a thorough understanding of the WHAT, WHY and HOW of employee recognition and training to help you – Optimize Your Most Valuable Asset – PEOPLE!

John R. Schaefer   –  toll free (888) 646-6670   –

Lesson on Recognition from Packers & Steelers Superbowl 45

By John Schaefer, February 8, 2011 3:54 pm

While I was pushing for the Steelers, what was not too love about Superbowl 45?  Looked like they might just come back and pull it off (like they did against my Arizona Cardinals two years ago!)

At the end of the game when Roger Staubach brought in the Vince Lombardi Trophy, I couldn’t help but notice how all of the Green Bay Packers’ players lined up just to touch the trohy as it went by on the way to the podium.  I thought to myself, “… wonder how many corporate executives watching this picked up on this powerful form of recognition? Unfortunately, not many.  Most will go back to work on Monday and continue to use cash and gift cards to reward their people, then wonder why it’s not working very well.” 

We see it at every Superbowl, World Series and Olympics; the power of trophy-value and how money, while appreciated, can never bring out the extra effort it takes for top athletes to win the biggest events.  We all want and need compensation, but the big plays and gut-level extra effort come from people striving for “The Prize”, not an extra couple of bucks.   We see it over and over, yet don’t often translate it into getting top performance from our employees and managers.

If you’d like to know more about how this can happen at your company, visit me at

Trust is the Secrect Ingredient in all Successful Recognition and Performance Improvement Programs.

By John Schaefer, December 18, 2010 8:56 am
It finally hit me why I struggle to understand why there are so many speakers “talking” about employee engagement, recognition and motivation, but nobody like us.  I think that we cross that dangerous line into the area of TRUST.  You can provide people information about why they “should” have a better attitude, work harder, work smarter, work safer, and the logic makes sense.  But it what your employees hear is data that leads to you doing more for them, it’s really seen as a motive of subtle manipulation… you against The Man!
All areas of Employee Performance Improvement come from Discretionary Effort; that belief from the employee’s heart that you as an organization truly value and respect them.  Only when you are starting from a basis of genuine caring and trust, will discretionary effort kick in and your engagement ideas be seen a Win-Win opportunities.  The best part is that once you’ve created this attitude, all of the improvements come for free.
If you’d like to know more about how this can happen at your company, visit me at

You Never Know When You’ll Get a Lesson or an Interesting Story

By John Schaefer, November 15, 2010 5:43 pm

I went for a motorcycle ride with my mechanic, Dave,  to work out some starting issues with my bike.  He’s a genius with motorcycles and I learned a few tricks to make sure I keep my battery well charged and make sure the bike starts consistently (it’s a high performance bike, so has some idiosyncrasies)!  On the ride home his bike broke down. There we were on the side of the road fixing the wiring on his ignition.  He found it funny, but it showed me how you have to keep a positive attitude while being prepared for anything.  Anyway, our wives got a kick out of it when we got home, in the dark, freezing to death!!

You need to be prepared, but also be open to unforseen opportunities to get a laugh at someone elses expense.  Dave is all about a positive attitude and seeing the fun and humor in even his own misfortunes.  That’s the kind of friend I like to hang out with!

Stop confusing ROI with results, and measurement with counting!

By John Schaefer, October 4, 2010 10:17 pm

I found this great article by Katie Paine president of KDPaine & Partners. I think it makes a ton of sense and hope you agree. JS

In mathematics—as in other forms of communication—terms should retain their precise meanings

First, let’s get this straight: ROI is not synonymous with “whatever results.”

ROI (return on investment) refers to a financial return on a financial investment (in dollars, or pounds, or rands, or whatever your currency is) and it’s expressed as a percentage—the percent you made on your money. That’s what ROI is. If someone tells you differently, they’re either lying or intentionally obfuscating. Or, to be generous, they’re not really sure what they’re talking about.

Yes, yes, yes: Nowadays PR and social media people are always “ROI for this” and “ROI for that.” And they are almost always in error. In an effort to sound businesslike, they’ve borrowed a term from the hard-nosed guys in accounting. But what gets lost in translation is their credibility.

Counting is not measurement.

When you Google “social media measurement” you’ll find some 3 million items. Nary a day goes by that I don’t get yet another announcement of a PR firm or a new technology or a startup that is going to “measure” social media reputation, results, or success with a new “tool.”

The reality is that most of this “measurement” and most of these “tools” are nothing of the sort. They not only do not measure reputation (or results or success), but in reality they don’t measure anything at all!

Measurement is not counting. Or monitoring. It is not the number of followers, friends, rankings, or scores.

Measurement is a process that requires you to compare results against something—either with your competition or with your own results over time. You note the change, analyze the reasons why, and improve your program accordingly.

Yes, of course, followers and friends are important, and it is important to monitor and count them as part of the measurement process. But if your stated goal is to increase your presence in social media, then the measure you want to work with is the percentage increase in that presence over last month, or last week, or last quarter, or least year. Then you analyze why that change occurred, make an adjustment to your program, and thereby improve your results.

There’s another thing, too: It devalues our profession to suggest, as Robert Wynne did in this article in, that counting something actually demonstrates the value of PR.

Even worse are the “parlor games” of social media. Like the online TweetPsych that claims to psychologically profile a person through deep linguistic analysis of their tweets. Tools like this are just frivolous fun until someone actually proves they have legitimate value. An algorithm is just someone’s opinion expressed in an equation—until and unless someone actually tests it.

So, for instance, does your mind really dwell on the past? Or do you just happen to use the past tense a lot? Are you really an agreeable person? Or are your tweets just lacking disagreeable words? Not to be lacking in agreeable words myself, I just have to wonder on what basis anyone find these tools accurate or useful? And I would love to hear from TweetPysch or anyone else on this.

Let’s all agree: No more fuzzy semantics. ROI is a financial calculation. Monitoring is not measurement; counting is not evaluating.

Katie Paine is president of KDPaine & Partners.

If you’d like to know more about how this can happen at your company, visit me at

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