How would you motivate the team when the annual wage increment is minimal (less than 5%) even though the performance ratings are very fair?

  • You might have plenty of answers on the motivation tag
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Feb 8, 2019 at 14:41
  • There are a lot of studies but in my opinion, the best is Maslov. He said that you have to satisfy 5 levels of motivation (bottom to up order). Feb 8, 2019 at 16:10
  • 2
    As written, this question is too generic. What makes you think your team lacks motivation? Why is your company unable or unwilling to provide more competitive wages or offer more tangible rewards? Without context, it just sounds like you want to get more work out of people while paying them less.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Feb 21, 2019 at 12:17
  • As asked, your question seems to imply that the pay structure is counter-productive in terms of motivation. IE: You seem to be saying "How can I motivate the team under such unmotivating conditions?" Is that your concern? Because it sounds like the current arrangement might be fine, assuming the bonuses are not carrots kept out of reach. ?
    – Ruminator
    Feb 22, 2019 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


The good news is that money has been shown to be a very weak motivator in many studies. The increase one may exhibit by money is short lived.

A guy named Daniel Pink argued that motivation is intrinsic and can be divide into three factors:

  • autonomy
  • mastery
  • purpose

Start your research here.

This doesn't mean you can ignore the money. You need to meet the basic need, you need to be at market wage, and then you focus on intrinsic drivers.


Surprising as it can be, it is not the salary that primarily influences the motivation of an employee in his or her daily work tasks; it is the quality of his or her work environment.

Today, more than ever, employees change employer regularly. We don't see careers of 20 to 25 years in the same company anymore. Many do not appreciate their work environment and try regularly to find a better place to work. They feel stuck in a job having few alternatives to change the kind of work they do. Many count their years to retirement.

You have to accept your choice of career and life goes on like this. If they have a promotion with a good salary increase, they don't feel more motivated because they are still in the same kind of work. Many business models try to counter that, offering a work environment that does not look like a traditional work environment. Facebook for example.

It is difficult, when you have responsibilities, to make a change of career. Most of the time, you have to accept a salary that is much lower than what you are used to. Many study in something they later regret, and wish they could go back to college to study in something different. But getting more student loans, more debts, is not a solution.

So, how do you motivate a tired employee to do the kind of work he or she does every day? Falling in burnout or depression takes a greater intervention than organizing a Christmas party.

What I witness most of the time, is that most employees have to back up their boss and they have to avoid being too innovative. They adopt a silence in front of the daily dysfunctional processes of their workplace that could be improved to the benefit of all. Day after day, their work environment becomes more and more bureaucratic. Having sessions with a management consultant often bring disappointment. Expectations are raised but fall rapidly on the floor and their business falls back into the same dysfunctional patterns.

A culture of confrontation, of fighters who confront themselves to win more power, does not bring more day to day satisfaction and motivation. It takes a humble and competent manager to put the quality of his company work environment first and to create and offer to all an interesting job to do while making a profit at the same time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.