It’s Not All About the Money: Rewarding Your Employees

British singer Jessie J probably doesn’t aspire to be a HCM thought leader. But her 2011 hit song Price Tag strikes the right note for current thinking in the profession.

How we reward top performers isn’t, as Jessie J sang, about the money.

Yes, of course, money is important. Don’t pay people enough and they will feel undervalued and eventually leave. But even if they do, it’s as much about pride as money.

Even for Donald Trump, who apparently values his own personality at billions, it’s not all about ‘filthy lucre.’

“Money was never a big motivation for me except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game,” he told Forbes magazine.

Maybe that’s how he amassed his $8.7 billion fortune (or $5.4bn if you exclude the valuation on himself).

If his motivation were just about money, would he have risked (and nearly lost) everything to buy the Taj Mahal casino in 1988?

Motivational marshmallows

Trump bounced back from the resulting business bankruptcy but for years, his career and finances were in the balance. If he had just cared about having pots of money, couldn’t he have kept the many millions he already had instead of risking it all?

It has been scientifically proven that the more people are focused on immediate material rewards – whether money or marshmallows – the less priority they attach to long-term developmental goals.

Although there is no consensus on this, some experts argue that higher pay beyond a certain point actually demotivates people.

Studies have certainly proven that employees who are intrinsically motivated by the work they do are three times more engaged than those motivated by money, regardless of pay level.

Only 4% on up-to-date software

The billion-dollar question is: how do companies intrinsically motivate employees?

Well, it certainly isn’t by using the outdated HR practices and infrastructure that many still cling to. Only 4% of organisations were on the latest version of the HR platforms they use, according to this PWC report from 2012.

A surprising number are still mired in paper-based systems and spreadsheets that gobble up valuable HR time and prove equally frustrating to employees who want speedy access to HR files and functions.

A third of organisations still toil through manual-based systems, or so revealed another survey from CoreHR.

Getting practices and infrastructure up-to-speed not only frees HR staff from mundane and time-consuming tasks, it also provides them with the right tools to engage employees.

The development of HR software has staged a quantum leap in recent years and now offers benefits so employees can be motivated and managed to the standard demanded by a skills-hungry job market.

Real-time mobile-enabled solutions foster engagement by providing the metrics to measure performances and provide timely feedback. Cloud-based SaaS solutions can provide staff with instant access to this performance feedback at the touch of a smartphone.

This creates a real sense of openness and inclusion that is far more likely to engage millennials.

Performance management with goal setting and systematic feedback can also achieve up to a 30% increase in employee effectiveness.

Seven out of ten feel recognition is lacking

Today’s software solutions streamline the people management process from goal planning to appraisals and rewards, including the distribution of bonuses.

Integration is also key. Talent management, for example, can feed into recruitment to ensure that key competencies are available and succession-planning enabled.

The latest HR software will integrate with a host of other HR functions to ensure managers not only identify top performers but develop their skills and measure and reward them appropriately.

They can be rewarded financially but more important is their need for recognition. Seven out of ten employees don’t feel they get it and, often as a result of this, a third are already planning their departure.

Many leavers just can’t see a career path through the organisation, or they feel office politics stands in their way.

But cloud-based HR solutions can help astute managers nip this tendency in the bud by providing an insight into their goals, preferences, strengths and weaknesses.

They can then be guided, nurtured and developed to the next level in their career – to the great benefit of employers too.

Author: Oliver Shiel

Oliver is a HR tech enthusiast and a big fan of all things digital. Oliver is the Digital Marketing Manager at CoreHR where he can be found tweeting and blogging about the latest and greatest in the HR world. You can learn more at

Share This Post On
468 ad