Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: What Works Best to Motivate Employees?

When it comes to motivating, engaging and retaining employees, there’s no one-size-fits all strategy that small business owners can rely on.

Key Finding to Motivate Employees

One key finding that might make cash-strapped small business owners nervous: Job rewards (that is, monetary or non-monetary compensation).

It is the most important factor in employee engagement overall. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents rank job rewards first, above job recognition (42 percent) and job motivation (11 percent).

Keep in mind, however, that “job rewards” include both monetary and non-monetary compensation. So if you can’t offer raises or bonuses, you can offer non-monetary rewards (something 60 percent of companies in the survey do). In fact, the survey found that younger employees are driving a shift toward non-monetary rewards.

Sixty-four per cent of employees surveyed say they would like to see their companies offer non-monetary rewards, but among Generation Y, the percentage jumped to 70 percent.

The most popular non-monetary rewards:

  •  Comp time off
  •  Free food or meals
  •  Event tickets (to shows, sporting events and concerts)

While these do cost money, they cost less than offering raises since they’re given on an occasional, not ongoing, basis.

That said, tangible rewards like raises, bonuses and promotions still matter to Gen Y. In fact, possibly more than they do to other age groups. While 31 percent of respondents overall say they’d start job-hunting if an expected raise, bonus or promotion didn’t materialize, among Gen Y that figure jumps to 48 percent.

It Depends on the Life Stage of the Employee

Other key motivators for employees vary depending on their ages and life-stages, too. For example:

  • Gen Y and Boomer respondents are more motivated by interesting work.
  • Gen X was more motivated by good benefits and good pay/salary.