When money no longer serves as a motivator

Amanda Visser

Money may be a motivator when someone starts o u t i n t h e i r career. But at some point, it might become less
important. And in tough economic times many small businesses do not have the cash to act as the big motivator. The ability to motivate employees is one of the greatest skills an entrepreneur can possess, says Ilya Pozin, founder of the free internet-based television service Pluto TV. He quickly realised he did not have this skill, so he hired a CEO who did. Pozin thought that a lack of cash would make it extremely difficult to improve the company morale when they were going through tough times, he wrote in Inc., an American weekly magazine that publishes content
about small businesses and start-ups. He was wrong. He hired Josh Goldberg, with 12 years’ experience in the corporate world, who rebuilt the culture of the organisation together with his own group of team leaders. “He also created a passionate, hard-working team that is as committed to growing and improving the company as I am,” Pozin wrote. Michelle Moss, a founding member and a shareholder of executive search firm Signium Africa, says they use psychometric testing to determine what motivates people and what can infuriate them when they are rewarded in the wrong way.Some are motivated and inspired by working in a fun environment, where they can play ping-pong while solving complicated problems. Others are motivated when they can do things to improve the lives of others. “Sometimes that offers an explanation as to why people make strange career moves. In many instances the move is not about money or making money – it is something else that motivates them.”Moss says it is also important to understand what motivates people when considering the generational split. Millennials prefer to work for companies with a “good culture”. These companies care for the environment or are involved in social responsibility projects.
The secret is in the way you reward peopleThe way people are singled out can also make a difference. “If the whole team worked hard and only one person is recognised and rewarded, then it is understandable that the rest of the team will feel alienated and upset,” says Moss. However, if a member of the team made a special contribution that went beyond what was expected, then it would be fair and make sense. “It should be communicated correctly, so that it is not perceived as favouring one person above the others.” Moss says a simple “thank you” or a pat on the back can go a long way and should be done all the time. If people are given the day off on their birthdays, it should be standard practice for everyone in the company.Other smaller rewards should be sporadic and discretionary, otherwise
it becomes an expectation, she says. Show respect in everything you do, says Mike Michalowicz, CEO of Provendus Group, a team of business growth strategists and coaches.“All your hard work and appreciation of an employee can be destroyed in an instant if you yell at them, disrespect or belittle them in private or public.”He says cash has proven to be a short-term motivator. There are more meaningful and less expensive ways to show appreciation. Great ideas with little cash- Michalowicz published some innovative ways to motivate people.

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