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