What really motivates?

Incentives as a motivational tool come in many forms, and schemes vary depending upon the size and structure of an organisation. Understanding the needs of employess can help companies to reap poisitve rewards from an incentives programme

According to Kevin Harrington, director at Sodexo Motivation Solutions, a successful motivation scheme comprises three elements: “First is the reward itself; ensuring that it is exciting, relevant and has mass appeal to your audience. The second is the communication; the way you inform your audience about the scheme needs some careful thought. The third is the technical backup; without a fully interactive rewards platform, your staff will not be able to truly connect with the scheme.”

Even with the right reward system in place, employees still need to be motivated by what they are doing as well as by what they are able to gain. Independent research commissioned by Maritz, revealed that:

• For 28% of respondents, putting in extra time and effort because it was important to the business was least motivational to them

• A quarter of respondents said they would be most motivated if they were likely to enjoy the task

• 38% of respondents said being thanked had a very positive effect on their productivity and 36% said that it impacted upon their willingness to remain with the company

• 31% said that pay and benefits were not a factor in their decision to move jobs

• 41% said that poor training and career development opportunities had no bearing on their decision.

The two most motivational factors in the survey were tangible rewards and the opportunity to learn or develop their skills, with 65% of men and 53% of women favouring tangible rewards. Of those who found the opportunity to learn or develop their skills most motivational, 47% were male and 35% female. Maritz also found that non-cash rewards almost always work best, especially at the lower end of the scale. A £50 voucher is far more
memorable and motivational than an additional £50 cash in a pay-cheque, which may well be absorbed into everyday spending on petrol, groceries or the gas bill.

First published: The HR Director, January 2008

I am a partner at Succession Plus. We are specialists in providing proactive, focused and strategic advice for SME owners to help them manage strategic Business Succession and Exit Planning.I am enjoying a career that has embraced product and service businesses at all stages of their journey. I have worked in technology, telecoms, consumer electronics, payments, media, and publishing.

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