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It’s not about the money….

30 May 2013 - Blog

It’s not about the money….

Anyone familiar with the research underpinning the concept of employee engagement will be fully aware that money, long seen as a key motivator, is in fact limited in it’s ability to drive sustained motivation and effort over time. Herzberg got it right decades ago when he identified that cash incentives have a relatively weak and transitory impact on motivation, when compared with other, non-financial motivators (such as recognition, challenge and personal growth).

This often-overlooked fact has possibly found its time once more, as companies and organisations struggle with the need to maintain engagement but in a context where they simply can’t afford to throw cash at the problem (not that this was ever the best answer). So it is good to see McKinsey building on and refreshing Herzberg’s work, with recent research here providing further re-enforcement of the fact that recognition, challenging assignments, task autonomy etc. are much more potent drivers of engagement than money.

And, the good news is, they cost nowt. This is free rocket fuel.

Tom Debenham


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