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Is Motivating Employees All About Money?

by Graceanne Bowe

December 15, 2011

by Graceanne Bowe, Product Director, SAPinsider

Not according to Ilya Pozin, contributor to Inc. Magazine.  In his recent blog, Pozin outlined 9 employee motivators, none of which have anything to do with money.  The list includes: 

  1. Praise
  2. Empowering staff to work without managers
  3. Soliciting ideas
  4. Delivering feedback without criticism or correction
  5. Find a way to make everyone a leader
  6. Invite employees to lunch
  7. Give recognition and rewards
  8. Arrange group activities and parties
  9. Honesty and transparency around successes and failures

As I read through this list, it began to occur to me that these techniques were centered around a common theme:  Employee engagement.  Every single one of these tips is designed to keep employees connected, contributing, and driving company success.  

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with providing financial incentives and bonuses to reward high performing employees, doing so without engaging them on another level is not likely to increase their job satisfaction—or motivate them to stay with the company or grow in their job.  Think about it for a minute.  If you earn your bonus every year, yet no one ever tells you that you’ve done a good job, or asks for your ideas; or if the only feedback you get is criticism—are you going to be happy in the long term?  Happy enough to go the extra mile?  Happy enough to stay with this company? 

At SAPinsider's HR 2011, SAP VP of HR Tracey Arnish, strongly emphasized the importance of employee engagement as a driver of talent retention and optimization. This year, at HR 2012, Tracey returns to take a look at the state of employee engagement one year later and answer the question:  Are companies doing a better job retaining their best employees? She’ll also offer an honest assessment of the work organizations still need to do to keep their best employees fully engaged. 

What about your company?  Are you doing anything unique or creative to boost employee engagement?   What are the factors that encourage employees to stay with your company long-term?  Post your comments here.

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