on May 16, 2016 Human Capital Management

3 TED Talks all HR Professionals should watch

From human-computer thinking to the sex lives of insects, TED talks are top of the line for modern public speaking. The plethora of short talks serve to share ideas worth spreading.

A huge chunk of the site's talks are geared towards business professionals and especially Human Resources in the hopes of informing and inspiring leaders to motivate employees. We've taken some time to pick out the three most helpful talks for HR professionals to date.

1. How Great Leaders Inspire Action - Simon Sinek

Honestly this talk is for any worker or busines professional anywhere. Seriously, no matter who you are, go watch this talk right now. Do it!

Now that you're back, let's jump in. Using Martin Luther King, Apple and the Wright Brothers, Sinek explains how some of the more successful companies and people have shifted their focus to the complete opposite of the rest of the world. "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it"

You know what you do on the job and you probably know how you do it. The real kicker is why you do it. Not to make a profit or to make money, but rather your cause or your reason for getting out of bed in the morning.

"All inspired organizations think, act and communicate from the inside out"

"The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe in what you believe."

The sound bytes could literally fill an entire blog post. The point here is that when you start with the "why" of your business, why you're getting out of bed in the morning, why you sell air conditioning equipment, why you love human resources, you begin to feel some internal motivation and develop a desire to inspire those around you.

2. The Way We Think About Work Is Broken - Barry Schwartz

"How is it that we allow the majority of people on the planet to do work that is monotonous, meaningless and soul-deadening?" Similar to the previous talk, Schwartz challenges us to rethink why we get up in the morning and makes the claim that just "pay" motivations will get us nowhere. 

As an HR professional (or really business professional) you may have even seen firsthand the benefits of motivating employees beyond financial incentives. An article in Forbes complement's his claim with a list of research-backed ways in which the HR team can keep people engaged and motivated. To list a few: Encourage employees to seek out challenges, don't motivate with job loss, and lighten up on the laundry list of rules.

Schwartz wants managers to help employees see this "why" for what they are doing, and that in turn will prevent negative ideas from inspiring self-deprecating circumstances.


3. The Puzzle of Motivation - Dan Pink

In his witty talk, Dan exployes the mystery of motivation. In going along with the current theme of this post, we have arrived once again at motivation and incentives. Once again, we have another compelling argument for incentives other than cash. 

Dan claims that autonomy, mastery, and purpose motivate people above all else.

  • Autonomy lets people do their best by giving them the necessary tools and know-how
  • Mastery is creating an environment that lets an employee get even better at what they do
  • Purpose - let people work towards the 'why' of your business or their 'why' for getting out of bed in the morning.

 Making the changes to motivation takes time, so don't worry if you feel unprepared to make big changes! Start with yourself, know your why and work outwards.

If you want more TED talk recommendations or want to continue the conversation, you're welcome to leave a comment or email us!

Paul Hardin

Paul Hardin is President of Moulton & Hardin, Inc. As an expert in both Employee Benefits and Workforce Management, Paul studies the relationship between all aspects of Human Capital Management, with an emphasis on Benefits Management, ACA, and how an HCM platform is invaluable for employers.

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