Employee Motivation In Today’s Times

Employee Motivation In Today’s Times

By Harish Desai

When I was in school as a kid, my teachers provided me with praise and recognition in front of the whole class, for doing well in a certain subject. This increased my motivation many fold to continue my good performance. Some teachers provide their wards with chocolates to do well in their subjects.


The result of this encouragement would manifest itself, in our subsequent performances. The thought of getting an incentive would compel us to work harder and more diligently at our work.

Here we have seen two kinds of motivation, namely recognition and appreciation for an accomplishment and tangible incentives like a chocolate in return for extraordinary achievements. So the habit of securing incentives in the form of appreciation or chocolates starts right from our school days. This trend of incentives continues in our work life too. Today, a lot of studies are being conducted in the area of employee motivation.

There are attempts to find out the key drivers of employee performance. Debates about whether, cash or non-cash rewards generate more employee motivation abound in human resource discussions. Evidences of business practices show that non-cash rewards are likely to generate greater motivation and greater performance from employees.

One of the most baffling discrepancies in incentive marketing is found on the debate over the effectiveness of cash as a reward for better performance. It has been a proven fact that tangible rewards (non cash-merchandise, travel, exclusive privileges) prove far more effective in holding the interest of people involved in the work, generating excitement and motivation, and driving program results towards business objectives.

Although the fact that that when a random group of people were asked what would motivate them to work harder, the resulting answer was unequivocally cash, was further strengthened by a study conducted by Wichita State University, (and set for publication in the journal of economic psychology, under the auspices of The International Association for Research in Economic Psychology) which revealed that when given a choice from among cash or a cruise or HDTV worth the same amount people picked cash 63% of the time.

However, the same research team asked people to rate how happy they would be to get the cash, the TV or the cruise as a bonus (with no choice of comparison being made) the HDTV and cruise completely outscored cash. This gave rise to the hypothesis that people were more satisfied by non-cash rewards, because of the fun, emotional aspects inherent in them. All said and done, although results reveal that non-cash factors are likely to improve employee motivation, it largely depends upon the goal of the employee. Some employees work for cash rewards and some enjoy non-cash rewards more.


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