Why Cash Isn’t Always King In the Workplace
In his book The Happiness Advantage, author and Harvard lecturer, Shawn Achor, describes a conversation with a leader of a Fortune 500 company while researching the relationship between happiness, potential and employee engagement. “We don’t need a happiness program,” the leader expounded, “we pay people to be engaged.” Achor’s research explains why this thinking is common but misguided, and why intrinsic motivation, such as praise, often trumps pay to produce employees who are happier and more engaged in their jobs.
Unfortunately praising is not particularly fashionable in the workplace these days. For many bosses, it’s easier to say what’s wrong than what’s right. Achor would say this thinking is off point, and Harvard Assistant Professor of Business Administration Ashley V. Whillans would agree.
Whillans’s research, as reported in an article on Harvard’s website, tells us that “more than 80 percent of American employees say they do not feel recognized or rewarded, despite the fact that U.S. companies are spending more than a fifth of their budgets on wages. What employees crave more is to feel that their managers appreciate them and aren’t afraid to show it, not only in paycheck terms but in other ways, such as flexible work-at-home schedules, gift cards for pulling off impressive projects or even just by saying ‘thank you’ for a job well done.”
“Cash matters in people’s lives, but it’s not all that matters,” says Whillans. “What really matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated.”
Based on her research, Whillans offers business leaders 9 tips on how to best reward their employees, making them happier and more motivated to work harder. Here are 5 of her tips that we consider top considerations. (Please note that we’ve abbreviated these tips for purpose of this blog. For all 9 tips in their entirety, you can read the article here).
- When recruiting, emphasize benefits. Job ads that emphasized “softer” rewards, such as generous family leave policies, gave candidates the impression the company cared about their employees and was more considerate with helping workers find a healthy work-life balance—and that mattered more to them than the extra money.
- If you give cash, include a meaningful note. For many employees, particularly younger generations, a job is not just a paycheck. Managers should include a sincere handwritten note with a cash reward explaining why the employee deserved the bonus.
- Give the gift of time—and other intangible perks. In addition to generous vacation policies, flexible work options or the ability to choose assignments tells employees you trust them to get the work done where they want to get it done.
- Encourage employees to reward one another. Peer-to-peer recognition programs aren’t expensive and can build social connections in the workplace, which helps people feel more fulfilled at work.
- Sometimes a simple thank you is enough. Among the happiest employees, 95 percent say that their managers are good at providing positive feedback. In fact, a simple, heartfelt ‘thank you’ from a manager is often enough for employees to feel like their contributions are valued and will motivate them to try harder.
At 4M, we make sure our Team Members feel valued beyond their paycheck. That’s one of the reasons they stick around. In fact, even in this tight labor market, our turnover rate currently averages only 61.79 percent companywide in 2019, well below the current industry average which ranges between 200 & 300 percent. That means we are retaining and engaging our top talent. This is just another one of the reasons why we deliver the best, innovative, safe and sustainable cleaning solutions for your business. To learn more, give us a call or CLICK HERE to contact us.