rewards DRIVE – when do you need to use rewards

Motivation 2.0

Motivation 2.0 did thrive over the years. Folks were motivated with cash rewards to be productive. Dan H. Pink, in his book “Drive” shares that for tasks that are routine, aren’t interesting and don’t demand much creative thinking, rewards can help. In fact many companies leverage on such an approach to get employees to meet targets.

For instance Uber drivers are constantly reminded to meet the minimum number of rides to qualify for the monetary incentives. As long as the task involves mechanical skills to respond to the app pings and follow the arrows to the destination, having a reward in place has helped Uber big time. Has the rewards helped Uber to hold on to their drivers?

Do consider the matrix here for routine and non routine work that may require rewards. Instances when you need to use a carrot to get folks to meet targets set should be prescribed for routine work only.

It will help your organization even more if you can augment a reward culture for routine work with 3 important practices;

Offer a rational why the task is necessary, share the larger purpose of what they do, and how that helps the organization. Uber has never taken a approach to show any care or interest to their drivers. Its been reported that they have the lowest retention rates for the very people who use their own assets to ply the road. CNBC reported that only 4% of Uber drivers, still drive with Uber after 1 year. Their turnover rates are very high.
Acknowledge that the task is boring, it helps when the organization shows empathy and explains why the reward system is in place for the purpose of “if-then…. you do this, this is what you get”
Allow people to complete the tasks their own way, usually when such reward systems are in place, control systems are also established before rewards are dispensed. Do consider “Autonomy” in this instance as that can help your cause, more.

Do consider if you can increase the challenge of the routine work and make them more interesting. Redesign the work task over a variety of tasks across other work domains and link it with the bigger picture to what they do. If you can redesign the work scope, do peg what they do with a fair salary. When companies redesign work scopes lapping in more responsibilities without any show of equity towards renumeration will just back fire. No one want to feel used or taken advantage of. In essence a routine job has become more complex and its not routine anymore. When that happens do consider;


Thats the building blocks of “DRIVE”. Do get in touch with us, to energise, engage and provide an awesome environment for our millennials and Gen X to work in. We can help you build a culture that is centred on Dan H. Pink’s methodology. Our Drive programs are conducted by US certified Drive program facilitator, in 1/2 day introductory sessions or a full intensive 2 days session that we can conduct at your workplace or in our public run courses. Contact us,  at, or call us +65 6315 2587 to schedule a meeting.


McGee, C (2017, 20 Apr). Only 4% of Uber drivers remain on the platform a year later, says report. Retrieved from,

Pink, D H (2009), Drive, Chapter 2A, …. and the Special Circumstances when they do

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About the Author: Ebnu Etheris Ma.IDT, B.Hrd

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Ebnu Etheris, holds a Masters degree in Instructional Design and was part of the pioneering team of executives who saw through the start up of Singapore’s first Budget Airline, Valuair. He was responsible for developing the airline’s Crisis planning systems and initiating blended learning in Flight operations. He works as a Partner with Teamworkbound.

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