#E2sday: Motivating Employees in the Workplace – It’s Not Just About the Money

|   Mar 8, 2011

There is a fundamental shift occurring in the workplace, and employers are beginning to see that the secret to long-lasting employee performance and satisfaction has more to do with attending to intangible enrichment rather than material rewards. In the modern American company, social rewards have gained more attention as traditional motivation schemes rarely achieve their intended goals. Now, there’s a greater emphasis on harnessing behavior based on a purpose-driven model. Today’s #E2sday looks at the question: is money the best incentive to motivate employees?


Motivating Employees in the Workplace


  • I enjoy Dan Pink’s work (I’ve not read Drive yet but plan to) – but I just don’t see the radical shift in thinking on employee motivation theories you say are here. Based on your infographic, Pink has re-categorized many of the same motivational factors that Abraham Maslow defined in his hierarchy and Herzberg in his two-factor theory. Autonomy, Mastry and Purpose fit pretty well into the higher order need to “Self Actualize”. These same 3 also fit neatly in with the intrinsic factors Herzberg considered “Motivators”. To some, Autonomy might be considered a hygiene factor – it’s absence creating dissatisfaction, it’s presence not necessarily contributing to motivation.

    People respond differently to different rewards (tangible, intangible, financial, social, emotional…) and the “best” reward is the one most appropriate for that person, at that moment, for that given task/behavior. Cash alone can be quite devoid of meaning and lacking future reinforcement… but can also be very effective if used appropriately. Traditional tangible or experiential rewards (a trip, for example) trump cash with a persistent reminder of accomplishment – physical trophy value or positive memories. All of these fail without being combined with some form of social reward (like recognition, appreciation, sense of belonging, sense of purpose). That’s why most employee programs are called Reward and Recognition programs – the blending of both creates an effective vehicle for communication, motivation and reinforcement.

    These behavioral theories are simplified in pedantic ways…the reality is that while they are great for direction, human behavior is complex and none of them provide the whole answer.

    Commented on March 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm
  • Fairly certain the left pie chart titled “What Employers Think” under “Top Motivation Techniques” is incorrect. The chart shows a small green wedge listed as Training (29%) and much larger wedge listed as Recognition (6%). The listings and wedges should be swapped, so that Training is on the bigger wedge, and Recognition is on the smaller wedge.

    Commented on March 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm
  • Interesting Infographic. Also check out Daniel Pink Book called intrinsic motivation.

    Commented on March 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm
  • This is a brilliant infographic. I found it to be pretty spot on, but to some degree I have to agree with Loren in that it would (at least to me) seem that this would vary depending on the circumstances. Beyond that, it is fantastic insight in to the different ways to motivate your team on an individual basis. I hope that this does not come off as nit picky, but I would hate for the error to remain. In the section titled “Top Motivation Techniques” the pie chart on the left seems to be indicated incorrectly. It appears as though training and recognition are reversed. I only point it out because I know how many people look at your work and I would hate for you to be misrepresented because of a type o. Again, my apologies for being the one to point it out. I hope it does not come across as rude. That is not the sentiment I wish to convey.
    Mike Lomenzo 😉

    Commented on March 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm
  • Intresting to see that we are always looking for better theories to improve the quality of performance of our employees.There are tons of theories out there that could help us trying to do so,but one must not forget that in order to achieve such a goal.We must first take a close look at our self these days,meaning take a look in the mirror,and ask your self what is it that motivates me.Motivation is not something that can be forced on to somebody by using a theorie of some sort.Im not saying that the theories out there are no good ,but one should not forget at all times to stay in touch with their employees.Have a litle chit chat, ask them how they think its going in what ever they are doing for you ,and ask them how the family is doing.Tell them that you apreciate what they have done for you, And most importand ask them for advise.People, in order to achieve your bussines goals ,you must stay down to earth with your employees on the floor and treat everybody as equal but yet make them feel special.And give them the feeling that they too make a diverance.
    I once new a man like this ,William Lawrence Sauder a leader in the forrest industrie .
    This man was a warm and kind gentelman,but yet a first class bussines man.I had the priveledge to meat him once.Not even a two minute conversation with this gentelman,made me feel like a million dollars.At the time I was an employee at Sauder industries in Ferndale Washington.And Mr.Sauder inspierd me in such a way that I would climb the highest mountain for him.Till this day I never forgot Mr. Sauder and never will.So I guess what Im saying,dont forget who you are and where you came from.Only then you will be able to motivate your people and you can get the best out of everybody.
    Edwin Zeller

    Commented on March 19, 2011 at 7:38 am
  • Socialcast #E2sday: Motivating Employees in the Workplace – It’s Not Just About the Money

    Commented on May 10, 2011 at 6:53 am
  • This is a good well written article. One thing I think is more important than the incentive reward. Is the speed in which an employee receives some sort of positive reinforcement upon the achievement of a goal or demonstration of a desirable behavior. The more time that elapsese, than the less likely it is that the targeted behavior or goal will be repeated.

    Commented on February 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm
  • This is the absolute key fellas, you’ve hit the nail right on the head. And we all know what happy,motivated staff leads to. right? Good stuff!

    Commented on March 19, 2012 at 7:01 am

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