Sep 092010

As humans, we like to oversimplify, to throw people into “buckets”.  One of the biggest buckets we use tends to be that most, if not all, people are driven by money.  My experience has taught me that, while money is important to everyone as a means for survival, a very large percentage of people have other factors that drive them as much or more than money.  Setting up a compensation plan that focuses only on monetary remuneration therefore will miss the point for many of your employees.  While there are certain benefits that you may provide standard to all of your employees (such as healthcare or vacation time), you will want to work to understand what motivates each of your key team members, and structure compensation programs that will encourage them to perform at their best.  A few examples of non-monetary compensation include a bigger office, an important title, the chance to run a key project, the chance to manage people, etc.  There’s a very large number of possibilities, just make sure that the approach you choose is not predicated on the simple assumption that money is all that drives people.  In most cases, it’s not.  The same line of thought can be applied to your interactions with and offerings to customers, partners, suppliers, etc..

  • tom

    I think in order to fit the compensation plans with your employees you need to spend time with them to figure out how they work. Without the relationship you will not have a beneficial work relationship and people wont want to work as hard.

  • Daniel Pink is an author that has cited mounds of existing research on this topic. His book is titled ‘Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.’ I have not yet read it, but I have watched his Ted talk on the same topic and I could not agree more. For me, identifying with a purpose and feeling that I am making a difference are major motivators for me – more so than money.

    Paul, what most motivates you?

  • Hi Barrett. I will have to check out Daniel Pink’s work on the subject. I am not surprised that you are driven by a lot more than money, especially in light of one of your latest blog posts (12 Reasons To Engage In Service), among others you’ve written. 🙂

    What motivates me? I’d say that, as with most people, there’s no simple answer to that question. In general though, I’d say from a work and service perspective, I’m highly motivated by activities where I feel as though I’m making a major impact … making a difference. For recreation, I’d don’t get too excited by mindless/pointless activities, such as watching TV, the vast majority of which is garbage. Rather, I get very pumped up for physically and mentally challenging activities that allow me to expand my horizons.

    How about you? What motivates you, Barrett?