Money No Longer A Top Motivator: Reveals What Employees Need To Feel Engaged

New research from reveals that money and other financial rewards have been replaced by less tangible sources of motivation.

Employee motivation is no longer as simple  as the old "dangle the carrot in front the donkey" bit – or in this case, dangle the big fat bonus.  After assessing over 1000 different people from all walks of life about what keeps them motivated at work, PsychTests' latest research reveals that Financial Reward didn't even crack the top ten of their 23 work motivators. The top five motivators were: Customer Orientation (desire to make customers happy), Achievement (desire to work in a goal-oriented and challenging work environment), Inspiration (desire to inspire others through one's work), Identity and Purpose (desire to work in a company/field that is in line with one's values and ethics), and Fun & Enjoyment (desire to work in a position/corporate culture that is inherently entertaining). Financial Reward took the 12th spot.

Gender comparisons reveal that women are motivated by factors like Altruism (desire to help make the world a better place), Balanced Lifestyle (desire for work hours and company culture that is conducive to maintaining a life outside of work), and Customer Orientation. Men, on the other hand, were motivated by Financial Reward, Power (desire to be in a position of leadership/authority), Status (driven by the social standing their job will bring them), Contribution (desire to make a noteworthy theoretical/inventive/creative contribution to one's field) and Responsibility (desire to take on major projects and be fully responsible for their success). In terms of Financial Reward specifically, it ranked 8th for men and 15th for women.

PsychTests' data also reveal that motivators like Change and Variety (desire for a dynamic work environment where tasks and projects vary), Creativity (desire to express one's originality through creative or innovative endeavors), Learning (desire to gain new knowledge, insight, and skills), Independence (freedom to make important decisions, work flexible hours, and choose one's own approach to projects), and Stability (job security, steady pay) increased with age.

PsychTests' research further highlights the importance of tailoring motivation to each employee, as the factors that lead to job satisfaction can vary greatly. For example, test-takers who indicated that they were quite content with their job scored high on 14 different motivators. Interestingly, those low in job satisfaction had only two top motivators: Balanced Lifestyle and Stability – two basic motivators that they are clearly lacking in their company and that could potentially be standing in the way of their success and sense of fulfillment.

"The bottom line of our research is that managers need to step out of the 'one-size-fits-all' approach to motivation – or the 'everyone-has-a-price'," encourages Dr. Jerabek. "One of the most important pieces of information we uncovered from this study was that only 18% of people feel that their employer motivates them effectively – this is very telling. People aren't getting the motivation they need from the company they work hard for, and this can lead to disenchantment, dissatisfaction, and in turn, lower productivity."

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