Does Money Motivate You?

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At a recent seminar with Turlon & Associates, a discussion ensued with a group of executives about the value of money as a motivator for employees. The question got asked … Is money a long-term motivator? As the conversation initially kicked off, it was a 50:50 divide on those for and against the motion of ‘Money as a long-term motivator’. As the conversation concluded, it was 100% in favour of money as NOT been a motivator. Interesting but true. Many small-business people believe that if you get the right people on-board, they won’t require external motivation. While these high performers will insist on receiving market rate compensation, they don’t require extrinsic motivation. They are driven. They couldn’t conceive of doing less than their absolute best, regardless of the circumstances.

In general, people will work harder if they believe there are rewards for good results and penalties for poor ones. The vast majority of companies do need to motivate their people.
Compensation is perhaps the most frequently used motivator. It works, but studies show that only the prospect of receiving money in the near future is a strong enough motivator to change behaviour. Once the employee receives the money, its power to motivate ends very quickly. Some studies say within a week. Further, the same studies indicate that to change behaviour, the amount of the incentive must be at least 10 percent of base compensation for the period.

Money is important, but we all want and need more than this compensation alone. People also want to be recognised as a key contributing member of the team. This means that people want to know that the project that their involved in is succeeding and they have a hand / part of play in doing this. They want to know that what they are doing is contributing to that success and they want these efforts to be recognised by the company. This can be as simple as acknowledgement from the top down, a shout out, or in certain cases a recognition in front of their peers. None of this is associated with money or related to filling one’s pocket at the behest of others.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are a young gun, just out of college and looking to repay those loans and get a foot onto the social ladder, then money is everything and please disregard this article as nonsense. But for those of us around a while, it often seen as a better tactic to take every opportunity to celebrate successes and not flash the cash.

My executive level group saw a key motivator was to take time out to understand how the individuals are doing and also what they are doing is contributing to that success. The fact that the executive team were taking time out to personalise the messaging and connection with their employees when a long way to ensure that the employees contributions were been recognised.

Monetary recognition is one way. However, simply reaching out to a person and personalise the messaging on a job well done can be powerful. Instead of speaking to employees only to correct them, catch employees doing something right and praise them. When you praise a person, be specific about what you liked and ensure that you are well to make other know of this. So what did my group of executives do … they took some time out to thank each other for a job well done.

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