Hotel Employees are NOT Motivated by Money, but by Achievement
By Bob Kelleher President and Founder, The Employee Engagement Group | May 29, 2011
Repeat after me: Money Does Not Motivate Employees (at least, not long term).
This is often a very controversial statement with employees. Quite simply, they want to believe that they are motivated by money, and definitely want others (e.g. their boss and employer) to believe that they are indeed motivated by money (for fear that salaries and / or bonuses will be reduced). Most employees, of course would never explicitly admit that money does not motivate them. On surveys, ratings for "I am adequately compensated" are consistently low across all industries and with all companies. No one wants to give their company a license to cut pay or to reduce raises.
Some people, in select industries such as commission-based sales, might be highly motivated by money. And in some tip dependent occupations (wait staff, door men, etc.), where the connection to behavior and reward is almost immediate, pay can also be a motivator. However, these are the exceptions and not the norm.
As Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, is quoted as saying, "There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise." Research supports her belief that pay raises and cash incentives are ultimately not what motivate employees and keep them feeling good.
- Surveys dating back to the early 1980s demonstrate people want more from work than money. An early study of thousands of workers and managers by the American Psychological Association found that while managers predicted the most important motivational aspect of work for people would be money, personal time and attention from the supervisor was cited by workers as most rewarding and motivational for them at work.
- According to the Business Research Lab (2007), "rewarding and recognizing positive results is an important factor in retaining employees." Most people are not motivated by money alone. Employees want to feel appreciated, recognized and valued.
- Bob Nelson, author of "1001 Ways to Reward Employees," recently conducted an Internet survey that gave people choices of 52 items they find most rewarding. The No. 1 factor they valued was "managerial support and involvement"--asking employees their opinions, involving them in decisions, giving them authority to do their jobs, supporting them when they make a mistake, and so forth. Also important were flexible working hours, learning and development opportunities, manager availability, and time.
We must recognize that money is a motivator, but not in the way we think. Why? Because employees view cash rewards as payment for their good work.
Achievement as a Motivator
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