Beyond Money: Ways to Motivate Your Employees [Infographic]

Alexandra Ashton 4m 879 #employeemotivation

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What Are Your Employees Looking For Other Than Money?

Freud famously scratched his head and asked himself, after thirty years of research, ‘what does a woman want?’ Employers, fighting a losing battle to maintain staff retention, are asking themselves something similar. Is it salary, bonuses or something else that really motivates employees? How can you command staff loyalty in an increasingly competitive marketplace? In our infographic we look at rewards that go beyond money.

A recent survey [1] discovered that whilst 65% of employees said they would be happier if they received recognition for their work, only 35% agreed that they would be happier if they received a pay rise.

We reveal that the effectiveness of money as a motivator has been overestimated for a long time. Since 1973 there has been an 80.4% growth in worker productivity. During the same period there has only been a 10.7% growth in median hourly pay after inflation. So, what has been plugging the vast gap all these years?

According to self-determination theory cash certainly does not rule everything around the workplace. It suggests that any environment that can foster three qualities will become a rewarding place to work in. Of course, rewards breed loyalty, and loyalty encourages retention. The three qualities that are highlighted are:

  • Facilitating the acquisition of competence, through the mastery of skills, to enable successful outcomes to be achieved
  • Allowing staff autonomy to choose the right working method for themselves
  • Letting staff create their own relations and to freely interact

One of the leading proponents of this theory says:

‘Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated people achieve more.’

Isn’t that what we are all looking for?

What Your Employees Are Looking For Other Than Money? [Infographic]

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While compensation may still be a prime motivator in the workplace, many leading behavioral experts say more and more people are seeking less tangible things. But what are they?


There are limits to how much a company can pay even its top performers. Something other than money must serve as a motivator.

80.4%: the growth in worker productivity from 1973-2011.

10.7%: the relatively low growth in median hourly pay, after inflation, over the same period.

In fact, just 43.5% of US GDP in 2012 was made up by wages – a low record.


You have to get rewarded in the soul and the wallet.

Jack Welch, Former Chairman of General Electric

Behavioral guru Daniel Pink argues that 21st century jobs are more complex and demand creative thinking.

Simple carrot-and-stick incentive schemes are no longer appropriate.


This theory posits that optimal efficiency in the workplace is best achieved through an environment that fosters:

  • Competence to master a skill and achieve a successful outcome
  • Autonomy to choose the best method of working for you
  • Relatedness to connect with and interact with others



Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another.

And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more…

– Daniel H Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us


Using Self-Determination Theory as a guide, companies should inform potential recruits:

  • How employees are free to determine how they work, and with whom they work
  • How employees are encouraged to master their areas of expertise
  • How employees derive a sense of purpose from their work
Recruit Retain
Some example interview questions are: Some example employment review questions are:
What is your communication style? How do you plan your working day?
Under which management style have you found you achieved most success? Do you feel the way you are managed could be improved upon?
What kind of working environment brings out the best in you? Does your working environment fully bring out your strengths and allow you to communicate effectively?
Recruit Retain
Are there any skills you wish to develop and which you feel this position may allow you to? Do you feel sufficiently motivated in your role?
Apart from salary, what motivates you most about a career in finance? Do you feel valued within the company?
How do you value yourself, financially and otherwise? What, besides a raise, would Motivate you to perform better?
Recruit Retain
Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team? Are you content with your role in the team?
Give an example of a successful team you were involved with. What was your role? Do you feel your team performs to the best of its abilities, and if not, why?
Have you ever been part of a team that didn’t meet its goal? And if so, what were the reasons? Drawing from your experience in the last few months, what makes a successful team?

The need to optimize employee performance has never been greater. Applying the principles of self-determination to recruitment and motivation requires additional time and commitment, but it may be the answer businesses are looking for.


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