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What Really Motivates Employees Besides Money? 3 Factors to Know

Daglar Cizmeci
Daglar Cizmeci
A serial investor, founder and CEO with over 20 years’ industry experience in emerging tech, aviation, logistics and finance. Daglar graduated from the Wharton School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Chairman at ACT Airlines, myTechnic and Mesmerise VR. CEO at Red Carpet Capital and Eastern Harmony. Co-Founder of Marsfields, ARQ and Repeat App.

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Motivated employees are the backbone of any business. Most entrepreneurs know that their employees do not work for them; rather, they work for their employees. Motivation is usually referred to how driven, and happy employees are working for a company. If your employees are motivated, they are likely to perform better.

Workplace survey

(Image Source: Harvard Business Review

Motivation is essential for attracting employees to the company, retaining good employees, and maintaining general productivity levels. There is a range of advantages to having a motivated workforce, and here are a few:

  1. Low levels of absences can occur when staff is motivated as they will take fewer sick days. Motivated employees are generally more willing to work, take pride in their work, and would rather not stay off work.
  2. Staff relations are key for the business. Less staff turnover means the company can, for more extended periods of time, focus on moving forward, growing, and scaling in their market.
  3. Motivated employees are more likely to have better relationships with management and their co-workers, resulting in fewer disputes.
  4. Productivity levels are high among motivated staff who will generally work harder and do what is expected of them, including daily duties, arriving on time, and focusing better.
  5. Employees who are motivated are likely to work at a much higher standard than expected. They tend to put more effort into their work, resulting in better quality and greater customer service.

Many employers think money is the primary motivator for employees. However, there are more facts to consider than just money. Here’s a look at three interesting factors that motivate employees more than money. 

1. A sense of purpose and meaning at work 

It is considered that more people are losing meaning and purpose in their professional life. They want to feel that they are contributing and making a difference while at work and that their actions are making a difference. Interestingly, the pandemic has heightened this feeling amongst professionals, especially after seeing the heroic work of healthcare professionals working around the clock on the front line. Surprisingly, many have also re-evaluated their professional options and have considered changing for an entirely new and different industry, especially if they did not feel like they had a sense of belonging. 

A Harvard Business Review found that nine out of ten employees would be willing to earn less if given the opportunity to do a more meaningful job. This is a clear insight into how vital purpose relay is. Other research has pointed out that it is also essential to give your employees a sense of belonging in the company and show them how important their role is in the business’s working to help them feel motivated. 

2. Recognition for hard work 

Employees that are acknowledged and recognized for their hard work and thanked for their contributions and achievements make for more motivated employees. Therefore, it is in your interest to praise employees for their hard work where credit should be given. In addition, there are various powerful effects that employee praise has. 

Firstly, recognition helps to set invisible standards that don’t come in job contracts for other employees. Secondly, it gives the employees more self-belief, which in the long run will help to retain the services from a business point of view, getting the maximum out of them. 

Employee Motivation

(Image Source: Twitter)

However, it’s essential to understand that recognition can come in many different forms as an employer. For example, some employees would prefer for their recognition to be given in front of others, whereas others may prefer it in a more private setting. And so, recognition should be tailored to the individual, and your management skills are what will help you determine which to do. 

3. Positive company culture 

Company culture is one of the most significant driving forces of employee motivation. Research by Deloitte found a strong correlation between employees who feel happy and valued at work and consider their employers and organizations to have a strong culture. A company’s culture is what divides it from the rest and its competition, as well as being the driving force behind what attracts talent. 

Improving company culture has become increasingly challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as we slowly ease out of lockdowns, it is an excellent opportunity to boost company cultures. Positive company cultures foster well-being as it shows you are mindful of your employees’ burnout. Showing compassion is also a form of positive company culture where you can relate to your employees, giving them the support they need to thrive.


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