Employee Motivation: It's not About the Money!

Two Factor Theory (Human Motivation)
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Saskia Constantinou
Journalist, Cyprus

Employee Motivation: It's not About the Money!

There has been extensive research proving that money is not the motivating factor for promoting desirable behaviour in business. Many entrepreneurs stated that they are driven by SUCCESS and to be even more specific, lasting success.

Employees are also driven by more emotional sources of motivation. I’ve been on both sides of the fence – an employee and employer and it definitely helps to have these two perspectives. My PhD is focusing on designing and implementing a motivation and rewards system for government employees.

In Cyprus, government jobs are secure and unless there is a very extreme breach of behaviour, the job is there for life – i.e. until the age of retirement. Money becomes a default motivator as it is something tangible and measurable. However, when it is the primary goal, it feeds the self-serving emotion of greed. The work ethic often slips and there is often strife amongst employees and a sense of jealousy rather than a united workforce.

Recent research of neuroscientists has shown that people are more easily motivated by STATUS rather than money. Before you start to think that you have to start giving everyone a promotion, hold on. It’s not that – it can be as simple as acknowledging work done before the end of year assessment. It can be a sign at the front of the building with the employee reflected as ‘Employee of the Month.’

FAIRNESS is also perceived to be a primary motivator. When employees know that management is fair and full of integrity, respect and commitment follows.

A new concept in Cyprus, and one now implemented by Ernst and Young, is FREEDOM OF SCHEDULES. They have implemented a flexible work policy which supports their employees’ efforts to combine work and career requirements with personal ambitions and family or other obligations. They have noted that this creates highest-performing teams and allows talented and capable people the elasticity required.

PRIDE IN ONE’S WORK is what brings on lasting improvement in behaviour with the informal elements of motivation at least as important as the formal ones.

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