Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can Money be the prime motivator for employee performance – Always?!?

Can Money be the prime motivator for employee performance – Always?!?

It’s all about money – honey…a thought that goes well within the great HR minds. When asked, how to be more employee centric, how to motivate them, how to cheer them up and have a healthy organization culture, bottom line – how to yield more valuable results out of the bunch of ‘employees’ one has, one answer which is given out easily by most of the Chief People Officers of large employee centric organization are – motivate them with Cash Prizes. Cash Cash Cash – make their life simple to earn some booty and they would be happy. Best employee award – Cash Prize of 50 dollar, best support – cash prize of 25 dollars, you refer someone for your own company – cash prize of 50 dollars and various assortments like this. The theory is Money Power and it is believed that money power drives everything.

That’s on contrary. Why don’t we look at it this way? When the HR managers would want to work less, do little less brainstorming, would feel lazy to be innovative, they would suggest something like a money motivation and organizations would boost about them being the most employee friendly organizations.

Appreciation has many more synonyms in case thought through.

Well one could be stupid enough to say that all. Money is ofcourse a motivation. But everyone cannot be treated the same way. We know that each human psychology would have different aspirations and when an organization is an assortment of many such varieties, a rather intelligent way of employee motivation should be curved out. Money is important for someone who has a need of survival however, there could be a need of knowledge, power, and larger aspirations, professional and linked up personal goals and money can surely not play any significant role there. It could rather backfire.

Every business would have a mission and a vision. When we engage a larger set of population to be a part of that mission and vision, we cannot be temporary rather we got to be firm and permanent in our values, and viewpoints. Money is temporary. With every increase in responsibility there is a money increase. Every additional portfolio there is a compensation attached. Once that compensation has been achieved some other figure is place before you. Isn’t it scenario that there’s no difference between a Man and a Machine. After every performance there’s a service with new oil.

Every HR person thus needs to be a student of psychology. Motivation is a human psychology. How does a man get motivated, feel energetic, feel kicked – the answer is not an easy one. It rather needs a lot of study and observation. From an academic point of view, motivation is a stimulating factor of one’s personal desire. Every human being wants to be taken care of. That is something which is an internal desire that cannot be openly shared. The world is changing, making the pace of business very very fast. Making people go places, learn new things; get exposed to many things around. Some are matured enough to handle things, some are not. Aspirations are always pushed by money and hence, many fall off-track, many stay put maturely and follow their goal in life. Again, every person would have set a different goal from the other one. It’s a complex world and a complex word that motivates your people, get them to be happy and work more. But how?

There are a lot of things, but one single desire or aspiration within every human heart is that ‘someone takes care of me nicely’; ‘someone treats me well’. This is a psychological desire. This desire is there professionally as well as personally. You cannot lure everyone with Money. Some people firmly believe that work is worship and money comes as a by-product. Some only work for money. Both cannot be treated the same. Too much money floating around works to disillusion people as well. One tends to put their own self interest in forefront than the organization mission and vision. They only work for money and get lured easily too by a competition.

So are we really motivating our employees rather de-motivating them is a standard question to be asked to the HR leaders who adopt this policy. This money making strategy could be picked up by a rival organization and could be seen as a talent acquisition technique. Money at times can kill the spirit also. It makes a person self centered, tends to break the thought process of team spirit, collective effort, collaborative approach and make each one for themselves. There remains no cooperation, no sharing of knowledge and there remains huge differences of opinion – all in all a huge instigation of an un-healthy atmosphere. Therefore, for motivating employees, and as a part of being employee friendly, lure them with money, is not a concept to fly long. Such organizations are very short term centric rather storing intellectual property, cherished leadership and organization essence as a part of their long term goal.

In this world of globalization, people tend to work harder than before, because they want recognition, fame, larger portfolio and status. So when they work hard, an organization is bound to give them more money. The market is bound to recognize them and try to pull them with good money. But when on job, the employee does not really care about the money too much. They do not calculate per hour, per day salary. They count those good words said about them. They feel proud when their team calls them the Best Boss!!, they feel good when they get pat on their back from their own bosses and clients. Money hits a roof-top, there’s a glass ceiling but psychological boosting has no end unless your health has given up.

It is frustrating to keep paying hefty monies to people all the time even for a management of a company. Trust me it pinches even if you are a highly profitable organization. Your finances cannot always be busy in paying variables and juggling with those numbers. Even a finance person needs a break!!
Some organizations give a larger than life campus as work environment – just to make you feel that you are attached with a large, gigantic brand.
Some organizations give free healthy food – just to let you enjoy and keep your taste buds lively and active.
Some people always need food rather good food for good thoughts.
Some organizations give free crèche facility – they don’t want you to be disturbed about your little one being away for nine hours of the day from you.
Some organizations sends you flowers and chocolates at home on your birthday and not just give you a leave on your birthday and anniversaries – just to make you feel that they feel even if you are not around.

Well! They cost money too but in a subtle or wiser way.

The CEO of Google Inc. said “The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees’ way. We provide a standard package of fringe benefits, but on top of that are first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses – just about anything a hardworking employee might want. Let’s face it: programmers want to program, they don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both.” He added, “Benefits Philosophy: We strive to be innovative and unique in all services we provide both to customers and employees, including our benefits and perks offerings. We realize and celebrate that our employees have diverse needs, and that this diversity requires flexible and individually directed support. Our priority is to offer a customizable program that can be tailored to the specific needs of each individual, whether they enjoy ice climbing in Alaska, want to retire by age 40, or plan to adopt 3 children”. He has written this in the official website of Google in 2009 and the employee benefits that he offers has proactively being described or listed down there. So if I go and visit that website and read the entire stuff, wouldn’t I be foolish to not apply for a job there. But an organization giving cash prizes away quarter by quarter is also spending time, effort and money, trying to motivate their employees at least, cannot write or publicize such benefits on their official website. Not that they do not want to disclose, but because of the fact that they are not sure whether their growth is guaranteed by this kind of benefits or not.

Google kind of organizations are also spending money giving all those benefits that they are declaring. Rather much more than those organizations that tend to give cash prizes to their employees when they think they should give them some award. But the retention policy of Google is well thought through and it is visible. They have not done a shoddy job of it. They tend to give benefits beyond the basic monotonous rules.

Motivating a human is not easy a task, more so when another human is trying to do so. One rather thinks through, study, observe, research well before they at least make an attempt. We tend to do things always the easy way, effortlessly, straight jacketed. It’s tough to continue such shortcuts for longer period and its difficult to do a thorough job, just like it is difficult to motivate employees only by money.

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