Work Incentives that WORK

It’s true: money is a useful motivator. But according to a classic study at Ohio State University, it’s not the only motivator that increases employee engagement and productivity. Turns out it’s not even the most effective one.

Let’s look at the top five in reverse order:

5. Good working conditions. Anything from bad lighting to hard chairs to an atmosphere of tension can turn a good environment into a bad one. The economy’s no excuse. Some of the fixes are cheap, and some are free.

4. Job security. This one may or may not be beyond anyone’s control during the current unpleasantness. If it’s within management’s ability to reassure workers on this score, they’ll be repaid in higher engagement and productivity.

3. Full appreciation. It costs NOTHING to recognize a job well done with a few words of praise. For a few bucks more you can fashion a program of simple rewards or hold a celebration at the end of the week.

2. Good wages. See? It’s there, but it’s not even #1. When this one is out of the question, there are still many effective buttons to push.

And the number one motivator?

1. Interesting work. Varied work assignments, interesting collaborations, bringing in outside programs with engaging (and relevant) content—all of these can help increase the level of interest employees feel in their own work.

Other motivators in the top ten included promotions and growth opportunities, a feeling of being “in on things,” and a feeling of personal loyalty from the company.

So don’t let the state of the economy be an excuse for letting employee motivation sag. Use the full toolkit of motivators and watch productivity surge!

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