Pay vs Incentives – How Best to Motivate Employees?

May 9th, 2013

For those of us who live in Thailand and east Asia, it’s not unusual – nor is it rude – to inquire about one’s job and salary. Job and salary go hand-in-hand. The better the job, the better the salary. But is salary the only thing that motivates employees to work harder?

As it turns out, the answer is ‘no’. There is much more to a job than the salary. More importantly, there is much more you can do to motivate employees. Don’t just make them work harder; make them work smarter.

Incentive Options to Motivate Employees

Everyone knows that bonuses are a good way to motivate employees beyond their base salaries. But let’s not forget the drawbacks. Since bonuses are usually based on meeting quotas, employee motivation quickly drops off once those quotas are met. Even more problematic are stock options and equity. Managers enjoy high-profile incentives like these, but in fact they may end up paying your managers more than they deserve simply because market trends favor the company’s stock price.

Personal Growth = More Motivation and Better Results

Employees perform best when they have control over a project and when they feel that they can grow as individuals. They perform better not just when they complete a task, but when they learn something in the process. Perhaps they’ve earned to become more efficient. Perhaps they’ve learned a new accounting technique that streamlines the company’s revenue. No matter how, employees perform best when personal growth is on the line.

A Salary Alone Can Be Detrimental

A salary that is commensurate with the job motivates employees. Indeed, studies show that a salary focuses concentration. However, it offers little in terms of personal satisfaction. Moreover, if there’s nothing else to satisfy an employee’s personal goals, detrimental effects can result. Specifically, a salary alone can narrow an employee’s focus. It also limits their creativity. You can forget about thinking outside the box.

This is what is meant by motivating employees to work smarter. It’s certainly the case that almost every job has its share of mundane tasks that employees must bear. But no matter how much that’s the case, there’s always room for intelligent employees to work out a creative solution that achieves measurable results.

Contact CloudForce HR to see how our human resources staff can manage your compensation and benefits plans. You can ensure your company is able to attract and retain valuable employees while maintaining a competitive bottom line.