Spending time trying to identify exact- ly what motivates your employees, and then finding meaningful ways
to do those things might not necessarily be
the easiest strategy, but it is one that is consistently more successful than any form of
monetary incentive. While we all love some
extra money, why do organizations continue to spend countless dollars trying to motivate and engage their staff with monetary
incentives if we know they don’t work?
Here are just a few of the reasons why
using cash incentives just doesn’t work:
1 All people are already motivated
— by something. You can’t force some-
one to be motivated. Sure, you can threat-
en them or offer incentives, but then what?
Do you keep threatening and incenting?
At some point, you have to make good on
the threats or provide additional incentives,
and even at their best, these two strategies
only work 20 to 25 percent of the time.
2 You cannot motivate people with a
single strategy. All you can do is provide
them with an environment where you can
tap into what already motivates them. Is it
praise, recognition, serving a greater purpose, becoming a subject matter expert or
something entirely different? A motivator
will not motivate if it isn’t important to the
individual. You need to identify those exact
motivators and craft your strategy around
3 Money can’t buy
engagement. It’s estimated that only 13 percent of
are engaged at work.
comes from feeling
valued and appreciated, knowing your opinion matters, and being
clear on what contribution
you make to the overall
success of the organization.
Driving employee engagement is most critical at the
immediate supervisor level
because an employee’s
relationship with his
or her supervisor
dictates job satisfaction more
than any other
4 Money might not
be able to make better
leaders, but leadership development definitely can. If the
employee-manager relationship is so critical
to an employee’s success, why aren’t more
organizations investing in leadership development? Investing in the right leadership development program for your managers and high
potentials can provide a significantly higher
return on investment.
5 Common sense isn’t always
common practice. Let’s face it, it’s
not rocket science. If demonstrating
appreciation, developing your team
members’ growth and develop-
ment, and ensur-
ing employees are
clear about their
roles and responsibili-
ties improves productivity,
morale, and engagement,
why aren’t we spending
more time and money
doing that? Because some-
times it’s just easier to
give $25. Creating a truly
takes time, effort, and
it works doesn’t
translate into tak-
ing the time to
make it happen. It
has to be a deliberate
I’m not suggesting that
money should never be used
as a motivator. Some people do
thrive on bonuses and incentives —
but not everyone does. The next time you
have a one-on-one conversation with your
employees, ask them what really motivates
them. Or at the very least, ask them what
doesn’t motivate them, and whatever it is,
stop doing it.
Anne Grady is an author, corporate leadership consultant and expert in personal and organizational transformation. She shares the life lessons she has learned in her
new book, 52 Strategies for Life, Love and Work.
Strategies By Anne Grady
More Money, More Problems?
Why do organizations waste their time and money on monetary incentives?