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Money won’t engage employees

March 21, 2016

We often get asked what motivates people, how best to engage employees and what rewards should be used to retain talent. The answer we give does not usually involve money! Whilst it is clear that money has a role in an employee’s commitment to an organisation, it has been found that for people with satisfactory salaries, non-financial motivators have a much bigger impact on employee engagement.

In a McKinsey Quarterly Survey it was found that non-financial incentives play a critical role in ensuring that employees feel valued, demonstrating that the organisation not only understands their needs but also that the organisation takes their wellbeing seriously. These are issues that reverberate through much of the employee engagement literature – recognise, appreciate, praise your employees and give them the autonomy to drive things forward in their own way, requiring trust that this is possible.

But, despite the abundance of literature on this topic it still seems that employers believe that money is the root to motivation, bonuses being seen as the dominant way to engage most people. Additionally, spending time praising and communicating with employees can be a timely process whereas money is seen as a much quicker way to motivate. However, quick wins do not often stand the test of time and it is often the long term motivators, where people feel valued and part of something bigger than themselves that they want to be part of the organisation, that they are engaged in their role, willing to go that extra mile for a little bit longer.

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