I go to a lot of CEO events. I always find it interesting to hear what fellow companies are going through. Plus there are usually free drinks.

Consistently over the years, I’ve heard this gripe time and time again from other CEOs:

“Every now and then, it feels like some of my employees just aren’t into the job as much as I am… [ramble about lazy employees].”

Some employees just don’t seem to be as motivated as their bosses.

My Response?


On one hand, I’m a huge believer in the ability to create a culture where teammates love their jobs and find some level of fulfillment from them.

I’ve found employees often struggle to remain motivated when company leaders pay lip service to caring about their team, but make decisions that show little regard for the success of the individual coworkers.

Attitude Matters


I was recently influenced by Reid Hoffman’s recent book, The Alliance, about how to recruit, manage, and maintain employees.

He says the attitudes of both employers and employees is important:

  • Employers and employees need to think of their relationships as mutually-beneficial
  • Whenever either side of that benefit breaks down, the alliance breaks down

It’s easy for employers to think only the employees’ attitudes matters, and vice versa. But for things to change, both parties need to change their attitude.

Boosting Motivation


How can you boost motivation and get your employees excited again?

I found Dan Pink’s TED Talk “The Puzzle of Motivation” very inspiring.

He says the main drivers of employee motivation are:

  • Mastery: the ability to be great at what you do
  • Autonomy: the ability to do that activity with as much control as possible
  • Purpose: the feeling that your activity connects to some goal you care about

Great leaders can drive Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose into the organization and truly listen to what success means for their teammates.

That’s why at Gainsight we’ve tried to make Success for All a core part of what we do. We believe in and constantly work towards success for teammates, families, customers, partners, and investors.

But it’s not always easy or obvious what to do.

Reevaluate Yourself


All of that brings me to my answer to the CEO complaint that I began with.

If you think your employees aren’t engaged enough:

  1. Be a better leader AND
  2. Suck it up. You have a lot more to gain from this company – emotionally and financially – than your employees, so you should expect you’re the one that will care about it the most

While none of us want to run companies where our employees feel like it’s “just a job,” the reality is for many, it is “a job” and there’s more to their life than work. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to truly understand your team and come to them on their terms.

Nick Mehta

As a huge sports fan, Nick thinks of his job as being like that of a head coach. His role is to help bring the right people together on the team and put them in the best position to win for our customers, partners, employees and their families. He’s a big believer in the Golden Rule and we try to apply it as much as we can to bring more compassion to our interactions with others. And he talks way too fast and overuses the word awesome like it’s going out of style. Before coming to Gainsight, Nick was the CEO of awesome leading Software-as-a-Service E-Discovery provider LiveOffice through its acquisition by Symantec and prior to that was a Vice President at VERITAS Software and Symantec Corporation.