Motivation: Beyond Money

As an employee in today’s workforce who consistently feels the weighty burden of coming to a job who neither rewards or appreciates you (my opinion solely), this was an excellent analysis of the thought of others and how to rectify this ongoing struggle. I, in no way, direct this at the company I work for, simply care to share my personal thoughts, and do deeply appreciate, though not always my ideal situation, having a job.


A student review of the article Motivating People: Getting Beyond Money from the McKinsey Quarterly:

As an incentive driven employee, financial reimbursement has proven to be a worthwhile approach to boosting my individual work ethic and pushing me to do tasks I normally am in great opposition to. Surprisingly, the article finds that studies show a greater return and minimized financial burden on non-financial motivators. Agreeably, financial gains are most often found to be short-term, as most companies cannot sustain consistent, and often unpredictable, compensation programs for their employees. Within the last four years of working for my current company, I can attest that both bonuses and raises are far from what I first experienced, and understandably, cause tension and aggravation when mentally comparing any and all situations experienced over the time span of employment.  Non-financial efforts have been noted, but again, not a follow through or consistent, falling in the mentioned categories of companies that try, but are unsuccessful, at implementing change in motivational structure. These would, thus, cause the damaging unintended consequences the McKinsey Quarterly describes.

With rapid declines in the job market and layoffs in all fields of work, reinforcing cost-based methods that increase overall job satisfaction and effectiveness of employees is more important than ever. One would think companies would see this “cheap” process as a huge money saving method to enhance productivity and lean towards less need for job cuts, but instead if appears businesses look at it as time consuming, and only follow through with stripping workers of all allotted job benefits to work towards. Most employees worry on a daily basis about bringing enough money home in their current job positions to pay their bills, or keeping a job period; employees should be motivated to see personal financial troubles as an inspiration to want to work towards company promotions or jobs with a larger, more stable organization. According to the McKinsey Quarterly, managers offer less employee admiration, task forces are fewer, and talent stimulus is less available. It’s honestly not a surprise our economy is in such a slump with work conditions the way they are and employees utterly unsatisfied. Management’s goal is to inspire its workers to achieve, and from that achievement is the satisfaction necessary to accommodate an environment conducive to a higher degree of work success and personal achievement.

The answer to this begins and ends with management. Businesses may provide training, but actually fears managerial insight, and managers can’t reach a point where they have mastered the ability to make workers work for them, without money involved. If managers aren’t accountable for increasing their ability to see past compensation and more directly focus on dedication, things will lie, as expressed in the article, right where things are, in constant decline with minimal recorded change. More discovery into this described thought process is another underlying matter, of which I personally agree with even more, and that is the time limitations. It’s easier to hide than try, and with no one being held accountable for their actions, or lack of reactions, this continues. This does create a highly damaging void, of which I personally can attest to experiencing more often than I care to admit. Why aren’t we trying to understand what motivates employees to succeed if it is they that support managerial bonuses and keeps our business afloat? If employees were to give less and less of them, as the article eludes managers do, how do we expect our business to sustain itself?

I find that one non-financial motivator particularly is an excellent representation of one way to motivate workers: provide an opportunity to lead. The article explains how this is powerful and inspirational, developing leadership qualities and capabilities, as well as creating a long-term benefit for the company. Employees absolutely feel they are not just another number on a payroll, but an important part of the bigger picture, and more importantly, needed to make the bigger picture a reality. They, too, are part of the future of a company they feel cares for them and have confidence in what they do. As the company invests more time in the expansion of that individual’s knowledge and ability, the employee invests more time and effort as an equal return to their company. It’s a mutually beneficial cycle of positive performance.

The McKinsey Quarterly I found to be extremely accurate in capturing the true sensation of today’s workforce, without bias. It has become harder and harder to get a true reading of the thoughts and feelings of the workforce due to constant fear of job jeopardy or retaliation. To hear from the viewpoint of the employee, as they experience their jobs, was refreshing, since most articles may mention these facts, but tend to lean more on the management facts not addressed by the company, or simply put the employee directly at fault. All in all, the article was very applicable.


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