Money, money, money is not all that employees want, survey finds

Business owners and managers must become more astute at finding what motivates their staff, a new survey claims, and avoid the misconception that workers are motivated by money and money alone.


The SHL Workers and Good Management research, conducted by Galaxy with 1,277 respondents, found only 20% are motivated by money and bonuses, while 26% are motivated by the support of their colleagues and team cultures – and 17% are motivated by the company’s acknowledgement of their work.


SHL managing director Stephanie Christopher told SmartCompany this morning too many businesses just assume staff want money as part of a promotion package, not realising that money may not be a prime motivator.


“A sales manager might be driven by recognition, and pats on the back, so to speak, and others may be driven by growth opportunities and more responsibility.”


The survey also found 22% of workers want more responsibility, and 9% want to be given charge of a project after their next promotion.


Christopher says it’s the responsibility of the business to ensure it knows what motivates each staff member and then offer them benefits and rewards suited to their personality.


The lowest factor for motivation was rewards and perks following busy periods, cited by 6%, and improved chances of promotion, also at 6%.


On the back of a promotion, 67% said they wanted more money, 22% wanted more responsibility, and 18% said they want to be involved in the more strategic parts of the business.


Christopher says these discrepancies mean you need to find what motivates each individual. But there’s a problem in that some employees may say they’re motivated by money but are actually motivated by something else entirely.


“I had an employee who used to say it was money that motivates them, but looking at her objectively, it was actually other things that motivated her, such as professional development and the pace of her work.”


For businesses which may be restricted in what they can offer, Christopher says it’s important they figure out individual motivations and leverage those.


“There are surveys you can do that are based on real models of motivation. Look at the results of those, and then match them up against employees.”


“By doing that you can identify mismatches: You might find people are motivated by flexible work hours, but you require everyone there 8.30am to 5.30pm every day. You may need to change that.”


Christopher also says businesses should make sure recognition is provided in a way the employee will receive it – they may not want recognition in front of other staff.


“It goes both ways – you need to consider what motivates people and, then, what actually is a demotivating force. It’s worth considering.”


This story first appeared on SmartCompany.


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