What Motivates Employees? (NOT MONEY)

What Motivates Employees? (NOT MONEY)
Wolfgang Pinegger

Glopinion by

Wolfgang Pinegger

May 17, 2017

Why do your employees love or hate to come to work? Why are they so or not so productive? What motivates them besides the money?

No one want to be stuck at the same company for the same amount of money for the rest of their life, that much is clear, but how to you prevent from becoming that company? What can you actually do to improve the quality of your employee’s lives? There are many answers, but I have picked some of my favorites so that you have something to start with.


Let’s be clear on something. You can’t expect anyone, especially not your employees, to read your mind. Having a constant, quality communication with them may bring many benefits to the way they are doing their jobs. Approve or even disapprove of what they are doing, but never allow yourself to be indifferent. If you act like you don’t care, why should they care for your company?

You don’t have to be in daily communication with your employees, but at least once a week should be mandatory. Make time to review some of their work and decide if they are should move forward with it, make small changes, or shut down the project you don’t like completely. Communication shows you care!

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People respond to leaders. We have many bad, but also many good, examples throughout the history of business. If you are the owner, you don’t have to be the brain of your company, but you surely have to be the heart. Don’t delve too much on the bad sides of your employees and the work they have done. Be short and specific when criticizing, make a demand on what you want to change, and proceed to ‘happier’ topics. Talk about how important the job they are doing is to the company and you personally. Basically, become good at giving inspirational speeches as they tend to make people ashamed of their failure and that makes them wanting to become better.

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Employees want to have a chance to constantly learn and perfect themselves. No one wants to stay in one place for the rest of their lives (business-wise), and learning increases the confidence of your employees. Investing in the employees that you already have is a lot better than going with someone else whom you don’t know. This way, the employee that you invested in will also feel gratitude and be more motivated to continue working with you. Make sure that you are the one who is paying for that extra education, because if the employee is doing it on his own, that probably means that he is deeply unhappy with the situation he is in and you may easily lose him once he learns new skills.

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We all know that once your employee becomes better, staying in the same spot is de-motivating. Make sure that your company is built in a way that offers the chance to move up the career ladder. Make the rungs of the ladder harder and harder to reach, but still make them reachable. One striking learning to come out of the recent Hays Global Gender Diversity Report was that only 42 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men feel as though they have the opportunity in their current role to promote themselves and communicate their ambitions. Similarly, more than half the people we surveyed in our Hays Asia Salary Guide (54 per cent) cited the wish to face new challenges as a key reason for their departure from an organization, while almost the same percentage (48 per cent) indicated a lack of progression as the cause.

There are just the very basic things you can do to motivate your employees. If you show interest, I will expand the list.

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