Article #02 Salary and Motivation

There is no discussion about the fact that a motivated person is a more productive one. More motivation leads to more work, more learning, more quality and more speed in building experience and competence.

As a traditional employer, employee motivation was something to be bought with a higher salary, quick, easy and without the need for too much imagination.  Today some of us convince ourselves that this is still the overriding factor in having motivated staff.  If you are one of these you should know by now that numerous studies state, categorically, that increased pay is not a big factor in motivation once basic needs are covered.  The good news is, however, that it’s surprisingly easy to become a company that talented employees seek out, simply by making small changes in the company culture.

Base needs

At the low end of the scale an employee needs to cover his/her base needs.  These are what an employee needs to survive, like feeding their children and paying their mortgage.  An employee in a low paid job will have a certain amount of intrinsic motivation in order to simply keep their job.

However once these basic needs are covered motivation doesn’t linearly increase with a salary increase. In fact on the far right of the scale, where salaries are significantly above the national average, increasing salary further may have no discernable increase in motivation at all.

Fulfilments vs Desires

Once the income to cover base needs is secured, motivation levels now become affected in a different way.

We each have a perceived level of needs on top of our base needs that can be loosely categorised into desires and fulfilments.

Desires are, in fact, often income related (e.g. ‘I need a new car’), so as an employer, the more powerful of the two where we can focus our energy is on Fulfilments (e.g. ‘I want to play the guitar’, ‘I want more time with my kids’).  The great part about fulfilments if you haven’t already guessed is that they are often non-income related.  The benefits? Studies cite dozens of small things that motivate a person at work one you understand their fulfilments and in fact many of them do not carry any financial burden for the company at all.

Impact for employers Today

In our next blog we will introduce practical examples on how promote motivation by understanding employee fulfilments.

For now, go away from this blog and ask yourself if you can honestly say what each of your employee’s Desires and Fulfilments are. If you can, then ask yourself if you’ve used this information to your advantage. If you haven’t, then you’re missing out.

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