A famous corporate saying goes, “When all you've got is a hammer, make everything look like a nail”. Making it relative to the corporate echelon, more often than not, the proverbial hammer is money and the nail, employee efficiency.
With corporate affairs measured in use-case scenarios, today, unfortunately productivity and employee retention are broadly quantified in monetary terms. What some executives may overlook the fact that ‘one-formula-fits-all’ doesn’t apply to inimitable individuals. While every individual commands varied motivations for working, the reasons are as dynamic as the individual himself. Saying that, a common reason for everybody’s working is the inherent need to achieve something from the work done. It could be monetary, or could be emotional. This something that one derives from his or her work is what impacts the morale and further on, the quality of life.
Numerous studies done by corporate headhunters and talent managers have stated that monetary perks alone do not help retain talent or enhance productivity. Eons of research have proved that countless employees are unhappy, saying that they will happily trade-in the monetary perks for a better work environment. After all, monies can only be a means to the end, but never the end in itself.
A study in Westminster College, Utah found out that managers and employees dramatically differ in their opinions on motivation. While employers believe Money, Training and Recognition are the top motivational factors; employees consider Morale Boost, Recognition and Money in decreasing order as top motivation boosts.
So is money not et-all important in the corporate scheme of things, or is it just a means to achieve something more? Going by a recent research undertaken by Canada Life Group Insurance, nearly 32% of the respondents claimed that higher salary boosts their workplace motivation and stimulates them to achieve fair results that are just above non-monetary benefits. Totally contrasting is another research by Capita Employee Benefits where nearly 34% of employees believe that being thanked and recognized for their contribution to the company is the motivation to job that is much higher than the motivation derived from a pay rise.
Here, both the derivatives point to a common inference: recognition and remuneration are both intrinsic cogs of employee recognition and should be used recurrently to drive employee excellence.
Noted corporate thinker Matthew D. Lieberman seems to agree with the aforementioned statement where in his book ‘Social: Why are brains are wired to connect’, he says, “I suggest that our brains are wired with another set of motivations, social motivations, that are just as fundamental as those that guide us towards physical pleasures and away from physical pains”. The inference that he seeks to underline from the above statement is that not just monetary motivations, but intimate motivations also play an immense role in shaping up an individual and his commitment to his respective job or work.
Numerous studies have underscored the fact that for people with respectable remuneration, non-financial incentives play an equal if not greater part in building long-term corporate engagements. For these go-getters while monetary incentives work as short-term surges, non-paid motivations are the silent elixirs of corporate longevity.
Today there is a fundamental shift happening in the modern workspace. Here new-age employers are beginning to understand that the secret to corporate success has much more to do with employee satisfaction and recognition. While successful entrepreneurs are gradually focusing on intangible enrichments rather than material rewards.
According to a study by Carnegie Mellon, Duke University and MIT Researchers, the more monetary incentives people get, the less they perform because profit becomes detached from the bigger organizational picture.
Now when social rewards are gaining greater traction across corporate spheres, employers are looking out for new-age methods to sustain rather than resting on traditional motivational avenues. With greater emphasis happening on harnessing behavior-based incentives rather than purpose-driven perks, employees-employers are starting to sync on a common page to create a new corporate order.
Underlining the said intelligence is a recent finding by noted employee motivation firm – Make Their Day. In the research 70% of respondents had agreed that for them the most gracious recognition ‘had no dollar value’. Compiled jointly with Badgeville, a gamification company the research also found that more than 80% respondents believe that the recognition for contributions to work were more fulfilling than monetary gains.
Leading resource scouts believe that employee recognition is an all-encompassing effectual avenue for employee engagement. They believe that recognition allows corporates to engage, nurture and reward their employees for the efforts that they put in. It is well known that a critically constructed employee recognition program can do wonders for the organization, and goes a long way in improving employee morale. This initiative can also help lower employee attrition and bring greater efficiency to the organizational growth curve.
So what benefits to the organization does employee recognition program bring in? Many. Experts believe these include:
Superior productivity, where a positive work environment that recognizes employee contribution results in a more industrious and positive work culture
- More satisfied employees, who enjoy their work and focus on their responsibilities making their job much more engaging
- Improved intra-personal work relationships, that creates more affinity between team members and builds upon greater teamwork
- Greater loyalty and boosted morale, that develops team-winners who are a benchmark for competition
- Lower attrition, that transforms into greater manpower savings enabling the organization to focus on business than worrying over employees
Today one of the core human resource challenges for a manager is to ensure that the organizational staff is kept motivated. But what many managers fail to understand is what exactly motivates employees? One agrees that money matters for any employee, but is not the only incentive to work. What also equally matters is recognition that makes the employees feel that they are wanted and are appreciated for the efforts that they put into their work. Like always, a simple ‘Well done’ or a ‘Good job’ can go a longer distance in boosting employee morale more than run-of-the-mill cash bonuses.
After all, we humans are privately attuned to emotional impulses than material gains, and as more corporates start recognizing this as a strategic business and leadership tool, they will start building world beating teams and a culture where they are happier and work better.