Amy Meyer

Managing Director, cApptivate Studios

This conversation is closed.

What do employees want the most?

“In 1949 when supervisors and managers were asked about what they thought employees wanted most, they answered: wages, job security, and promotions/growth opportunities, in order of importance. When the employees were surveyed, they answered: full appreciation for work done, being involved, and sympathetic help on personal problems. Wages ranked fifth.” Kenneth Kovach

62 years later we live in the year 2011.

What now do employees want?

What would you prefer? An annual monetary payment or a frequent choice of non-monetary gifts?

  • Mar 30 2011: I have been both an employee and an employer.

    Bottom line: people don't work for money, but they do quit for money. The more interesting the job, the less likely money is to be a factor in the person's contentedness. People need to feel that they belong, that their work is important to the success of the enterprise no matter how "low" they may be on the totem pole, and that they are being paid fairly and not being taken advantage of. It is the job of the organization's leader to create and defend a culture that nurtures this. The biggest obstacles are always middle managers whose philosophy is "I'm the boss, you do what I say"; that has to be beaten out of them. The org chart for my company showed 250 programmers and analysts on the top line -- above them were our clients, their 'bosses'. Under them were all the middle managers. Their job was to make sure that the people on the top row had everything they needed to do their jobs well and to satisfy the customers. Under the middle managers were four executives; their job was to make sure the middle managers had whatever they needed to do their jobs well. And at the bottom was yrs trly. I used to describe my principal role as Defender of the Culture, because the day we lost the culture of respect for staff would be the day we started the slide to failure.

    As has been pointed out, different people are motivated by different things. But a good employer nurtures the innate motivators in people and doesn't try to do everything with external carrots and sticks. I used to ask my managers: How many people do you know who go to work and say: "I think I will do a shitty job today"? Pay staff fairly, listen to them, and then keep out of their way.
    • thumb
      Mar 30 2011: Hi Revett,

      Congratulations on your successes!
      I am not sure if I can 100% agree that people do not work for money. But I do agree that they might quit for money.
      Belonging is a very important and I think that an employee will develop a sense of belonging if they are constantly recognised for the work they do. Your company structure would make a great flow chart! It seems you really know what your talking about in your industry of work.
    • thumb
      Apr 3 2011: This is a very valuable achievement Revett. Thank you for sharing it with us. I particularly appreciate the way it humanizes and puts some of your other writings in perspective.
    • Apr 3 2011: Hi revett,

      its really good to hear you with the depth of the employee heart, its true enough people do quite for money. also it inspire me " the day we lost the culture of respect for staff would be the day we started the slide to failure".

      I hope boss should feel the same of employee
    • thumb
      May 11 2011: three words to say: Best of Luck :)

      You have inspired yet revived what i believe in truely.

  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Mar 30 2011: Nafissa,
      Thank you for your feedback. I agree that reward of work should be in the fascination and the fun that the work can provide. However I feel that within the workplace, it is crucial to recognise and reward employees for the work they do in all sorts of ways, from symbolic rewards to non-monetary rewards.
    • Mar 31 2011: Nafissa,
      I definitely do agree with you that the work environment needs to be supportive,fun and creative.
      So perhaps one method for a company to be successful is to strengthen and differentiate their culture from the rest. Therefore, the introduction of non monetary rewards can serve as a means to achieving a stronger culture and sense of belonging in the company.

      However, what do you mean exactly about having a boss who does not act like one? If the person does not act like a boss then how will he/she hold employees accountable for what they have done? My opinion is that as a person in charge, you need to show that you are a strong effective leader. Sometimes if you try not to act like you are in charge, then people will not listen to you. I do agree though that the person in charge should not scare or intimidate his employees but rather be supportive and encouraging.
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2011: I think it is impossible to give a one size fits all answer to this question.

    An open door: People are different.

    other problems with the question are:
    * People don't always know what they want
    * People don't always know what another person wants
    * Wanting and needing can be totally different.

    Putting those remarks aside:
    We can assume many people want to do things they are passionate about.
    We can assume people need money in order to get a lot of our daily needs

    So I assume that if you can do both things at the same time, you must be happier than when the match between those two is less

    I think the '49 research is already repeated over and over, and the conclusions probably are still (more or less) the same.

    As for me: If I can get my good food & shelter and quality of life without money: fine by me.
    "How about you guys let me do what I want and monetize me for it" wold be nice to
    • thumb
      Mar 30 2011: I like the way you break down the components of the question Christophe.
      I enjoyed reading your feedback and have found it to be valuable.

      "So I assume that if you can do both things at the same time, you must be happier than when the match between those two is less" - this is essentially what I am trying to achieve in my rewards program.

      Thanks :)
    • thumb
      Mar 31 2011: I think you are absolutely right in saying that people don't always know what they want and I myself find the question what do you prefer, an annual monetary payment or frequent non-monetary gifts very difficult to answer because of course it depends on the kind of frequent gifts.

      But what would you think about a company that offers its employees personalized rewards - things they really want - for their achievements?
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2011: Your selection of related talks is interesting and speaks volumes on what you personally think employees want!
    Also, "An annual monetary payment or a frequent choice of non-monetary gifts?" Sorry, who says I want tangible reward at all? I suspect if this survey was run again it would find exactly the same things as it did in 1949. Employees want recognition, support and freedom of self direction. They always have and always will. It's this autonomy that allows them to thrive and manage their own productivity and stress levels.
    • thumb
      Mar 30 2011: Daniel you have a very valid point. Who says you want a tangible reward!

      I have chosen the related talks very carefully as I am currently working with the Deloitte innovation university program to create an innovative rewards program that is heavily supported by gamer theory.

      I thoroughly enjoyed watching the talks and feel there is a big parallel between 'vitural' recognition in social gaming and potential 'virtual' recognition in the workplace.

      I agree that employees want recognition, support and freedom of self direction, but wouldn't it be fun to have your progress visually tracked on an interactive rewards program? Once you achieve your key performance indicators (KPIs), you will be virtually recognised and rewarded with non-monetary gifts. These gifts are essentially chosen by you!
      • thumb
        Apr 1 2011: This sounds like a fascinating angle to be investigating and quite interesting.

        My workplace is currently in the process of establishing something just like what you describe: a Passport program that rewards staff who complete secondments, tours of duty (we have multiple sites all around the world) and excellent KPI performances with virtual badges and one-ups. There is even talk of devirtualising this by creating real world artifacts to but on security tag lanyards and such.

        As fun as this is though, I believe this works because because this visual recognition reflects a changing attitude towards seeing staff as "the whole person" rather than a means to an end.
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2011: Hi Daniel,

          This passport program sounds very interesting..What industry are you in?
          Who awards the staff the badges and one-ups?
      • Apr 1 2011: That sounds like a World of Warcraft like system of keeping employees involved by continually stroking their need for recognition. Is that the kind of model you envision being productive? Do you think it would be effective for all demographic groups or a method better suited to those under thirty? (an arbitrary age not meant to imply a generalization)
      • thumb
        Apr 1 2011: Guy @ Amy, I work for an Internet Service Provider in the Contact Centre, but the program runs across the whole company from Exec to entry level CSRs so an under 30s demographic wouldn't be totally realistic but does make up a disproportionally large section of the work community.
        At this point its only the Human Resources staff who have the ability to badge people and only for set criteria (completed training, KPIs being met on semi-annual reviews, completion of secondments, etc) but I believe the plan is to expand this to mid-management over time and introduce all sorts of different reward categories.
        I'd personally like to see a system or peer reward as well, though the implementation of that would be a little more complex given the internal syystems used.
  • thumb
    Apr 7 2011: As Ted people, I sometimes feel our discussions become largely detached from reality and turn academic. A question like this one is a prime example!
    I do think many good observations have been made, yet become crowded out by academic and esoteric musings.

    (I have an idea I may float to Ted Conversations Community regarding these idea/question/debate forums: those that initiate a discussion also facilitate them and summarize at points during the discussion the
    significant points that have been made - maybe after every 10 comments. To be fair, some already do this.
    But it may help these discussions to be more instructive if we incorporated facilitation and summarization into them - though the potential for networking alone is worth the price of esotericism!)

    We do what we do to make a living. If the work we do brings us nothing else but a paycheck, we find other ways to give meaning to our lives. There are other things that influence what we do to make a living (management, rate of pay,
    • thumb
      Apr 7 2011: I agree with you Jim. It would be a good idea to have these conversations summarised every 10 or so comments!
      I feel this conversation is quite rooted in reality. Everyone has their opinion on the matter. It is comments like yours that help ground the conversation so thank you!
  • thumb
    Apr 1 2011: In my opinion most people want to have a wage that is fair and allows them a decent standard of living. Once they have that other factors become more important. They want to be treated as human beings rather than production units. They want their intellect and observations to be taken seriously so that they are factored in and feel as though they are part of whatever is being produced. In short I think most people want to have dignity in their work and feel as though they belong among the people who are producing the product.
    What they hate is being reduced to insignificance.
    • Apr 1 2011: Debra: Totally agree. But you raise an interesting question: what is a "fair" wage and how do you determine it?
      • thumb
        Apr 1 2011: Hi Revett, there are whole studies in Psychology debating 'what is fair'. Interestingly there are different ways of percieving fairness. Some people believe that being 'equal' or having 'equal' outcomes is fair while others think that things should be equitable which has a lot more to do with what each person puts into the 'pot'.
        Just ask two people in a divorce settlement what is fair and you are as likely to get a good definition!
      • thumb
        Apr 2 2011: Revett!!!
        Love the new picture!
  • Apr 1 2011: I don't see anyone commenting on the idea that the answer to the question may vary signficantly between work groups. As someone who chose to be a lifelong teacher, I wasn't "wanting" a high salary. Research on teachers is pretty clear that what motivates a teacher differs from what motivates many other types of workers.

    I think it's also important to recognize that what leads to satisfaction may be different than what leads to dissatisfaction. We can't simply assume that the absence of a motivator creates dissatisfaction.
  • thumb
    Mar 30 2011: Though it's difficult to find a single factor to be dominant as you asked in your question using the superlative "MOST" , I agree with Daniel survey result didn't change that much. Every year one or the other big corporates are running employee satisfaction survey and try to find out what are the factors that motivates people to work. In most cases Salary or Monetary rewards are not in the top of the list. Recognition, participation in the decision making process , empowerment to do ones task, work life balance, relation with immediate supervisor, image of company etc are considered more important factors consistantly. There is saying which says something like " Employees come to work for company , walk away bosses" , if employees were only working for money or job secuirty or promtion than they would never leave high paying company or comapny with high job security.
    • thumb
      Mar 30 2011: Hi Salim,

      I have always been under the impressions that many people do work for the salary or monetary rewards. I feel in an ideal world, an employee would like to value highly the recognition and participation in decision in the workplace, but when it comes down to reality, they are in need of a salary.
      • thumb
        Mar 31 2011: Hi Amy
        I don't totally disregard the salary. Definitely we work to earn money, but the point is thats not of the prime importance all the timel. Salary does not mean the highest salary of the industry people want , they want a fair compensation. The impact of salary or money is different at different level of hierarchy in th organization. Yes at entry level for a new comer that can be more important than one who is there for longer time and is a bit upper level. You might be aware of the Mashlow's need hierarchy theory that applies.

        Moreover every year one or the other big companies are performing Organization Climate Survey to understand what moves people best to give their best and consistantly money matter is not on the top of the list,
        Besides the impact of monetary reward or salary increase is the shortest lived one. The moment one get it they feel good than forget. About salary increase , first time when they get the letter of salary increase people feel good but then after they take it as granted. Where as other factors mentioned in my earlier post have much long last impact on people motivation or demotivation.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Apr 2 2011: I agree that many business people work for money. I think that it has something to do with the business model and with the psychology of work. If a person is highly aware that the only thing valued in a business environment and the source of any recognition or esteem is from earnings that will certainly be the case.
          In a different system, if everyone had the sense that the work they were doing was for some important overall goal- and that it was also the company's goal to produce more than just profit- people would be willing to contribute more of themselves for less financial incentive.
          When companies are expecting people to work for less and contribute more of themselves in terms of time away from family etc. it is a pretty tough sell if it is just a profit making manoever.
      • thumb
        Mar 31 2011: Amy, the less you earn, the more important the salary is. If you are in a high management position and have a 6 or even 7 digit income, money becomes much less of importance. At this point more intangible rewards take over I think
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2011: Hi Harald,

          Do you think people in management positions with a 6 or 7 figure income would be interested in a rewards program that provided them with non-monetary gifts as method to encourage a positive working environment?
        • thumb
          Apr 1 2011: Yeah I agree with Harald, Hierarchy of needs is also in effect in our careers.

          I think this is a relevant video to this topic:
      • Apr 2 2011: There is also the possibility (a little cynical) that we believe that we should value non-monetary incentives at work, and that's why so many people choose this option in surveys, even though deep down they may believe that wages are more important.
        • thumb
          Apr 6 2011: Noah I find this point of yours very interesting. I suppose in this instance, a survey doesn't necessarily reflect the true feelings of an employee.
    • Mar 31 2011: Now my only question is who are the people completing these surveys?

      As you said Salim, they all work for these big companies. You need to recognise the inherent subjectivity and the targeted audience in these surveys. (Not saying that it is wrong) It is obvious that salaries would not mean much to these employees especially because they are earning above what most people would.

      Don't you think that the billions of people around the world who don't have jobs or earning minimum wage would choose salaries as the most important thing?

      But I do think that once you are earning a wage that is suitable for you, then your priorities in the workplace shift and you start to want recognition, non monetary rewards and so on...
      • thumb
        Mar 31 2011: Hi Katherine thanks for raising your questions
        Let me clarify myself. Yes many of those surveys are done by big companies. However big companies does not mean they are all big payers. Among them also there are low, median and high payers. So with in those companies also a employee from low paid company does not move only for salary reason. Besides there are also great small companies who run those surveys as well, among them also there are low median & high paid company, and same principle applies. With in even a big high paid companies there are high , median and low paid employee on the basis of their performance after ensuring the minimum wages level.
        When the question is about employee , focus was only to the people who are employed already. You are right for the jobless people money will be the first driving factor but once s/he gets the job it may or may not be a driving factor of leaving employer for salary reason only.
        UN has come up with a treaty named "Global Compact" , signatories of Global Compact are bound to ensure minimum wages level for employee considering cost of living of the country. Please check the link below for more information

        Moreover take the example of Japanese Management System. In Japan there are lot of instances because of loss when employer wanted to close down the business , employees came up and told , not to close and told that rather they will take less salary untill the company turns around. Why it happened? It happened, as those companies gives something more than salary to those people which are intangible. Could I answer your question ?
    • thumb
      Apr 2 2011: Hi Amy, I'm not sure what you mean with "non-monetary gifts", but yes, people with high income probably focus on other kinds of rewards such as power or recognition. Replacing money with another material reward most likely wouldn't make any difference.
      • thumb
        Apr 3 2011: I am referring to gifts such as vouchers, sports tickets, theater tickets, free lunches etc.

        I think an employee who has a limited potential to earn a greater income, would welcome these gifts warmly.

        The gifts might be of a much smaller monetary value, however they will provide the employee with a sense of recognition and a feeling of belonging in the workplace.
        • thumb
          Apr 4 2011: Hi Amy, I thought we were talking about those who make 6 and 7 digit incomes.
          Yes, for the "regular" employees, these not monetary compensations are certainly welcome. Actually, it's already widely practiced anyway, mostly because there are tax benefits to a company for this kind of compensations.
          I'm not sure if those gifts as you call them changes how people feel about their workplace.
          A good example how you can make people feel good about their workplace is Google. Look at their work environment. I think you even can bring your pets with you to work. they also give their people some "creative" time where the employees just can toy around with any ideas they might have.
      • thumb
        Apr 6 2011: Hi Harald,

        I think that if the employee was able to personalise their choice of non-monetary gifts, this might create a bigger sense of belonging in the work place. From what I understand, many companies will themselves decide what gifts to give out rather than seeking out from the employees exactly what it is they want and giving that to them.
  • thumb
    Jul 18 2011: I think the real question is what do we, the workers, the people want.
  • thumb
    Jul 10 2011: What do employees want most?


    They want nothing more than to get the hell out of work. Give them enough money and they are gone for good. Nobody wants to be forced to do something and that is what employment is.

    Ask any sane slave what they want from their master and they will do a set of quick mental calculations based around: 1) what the master wants to hear and 2) what tiny little concession they might obtain given their assessment of the master's generosity or lack of. The more vicious and intolerant the master is, the more the slave will report they are happy and content with their slavery and how wonderful a master they have.

    In 1949, automation was still crude and people were actually needed to perform work. Sixty two years later, people are clinging to employment only where they are less costly than silicon and software. Their real master is this cold, heartless equation that this obsolete economic model is based on. When questioned, they will say how much they love their employment, and later, when safe, they will close their eyes, see themselves homeless and digging sustenance from a garbage dumpster and they will say a little prayer for their next sorry little paycheck.

    Play violin, beat the world's chess champion, win at Jeopardy! Really Amy, how long do you think you have before a $2000. shrink-wrapped set of disks will do more than you can?
  • thumb
    Jun 14 2011: Repect and integrity from their colleagues and superiors
  • thumb
    Apr 7 2011: Respect for my abilities, appreciation for dealing with things which are not part of my job but end up on my desk with a note of Do it!, and a wage that reflects my ability, contribution to the company and in line with others in the company at my level. Why is that so hard?
    • thumb
      Apr 8 2011: If you read some of the comments you will see everyone wants different things. This is why it is hard!
    • Apr 8 2011: God is seeing you in the heaven,so just do what you can.....
  • thumb
    Apr 7 2011: My preference and modus operandi has been first empowerment and accountability and growth with and through the project/company/gig. If you are happy in there, creating and being challenged, the money follows. Money is great, as it is a medium to exchange for goods and ervices and also helplful in purchasing the opportunity for new experiences and memories ( eg. travel, trying a new restaurant, becoming a member in a museum or contributing to social or civic cause). It comes and goes but memorable experiences and expertise gained through time do not.
  • Apr 6 2011: Employees want to be appreciated by their Boss for the work done and by their Spouse for the Money & Perks earned !
  • thumb
    Apr 5 2011: I want a boss who listens and who acknowledges my dedication to his/her team.
    • thumb
      Apr 6 2011: Hi Aley,
      How would you ideally like to be acknowledged?
  • thumb
    Apr 3 2011: I think I would first ask employees if they go to work because that work answers a dream of theirs or if they go to work out of fear of not being able to pay their bills. The first scenario has certain things going for it: a drive parallel to the effort regardless of compensation and a success and satisfaction factor inherent in answering a dream. People in the first scenario are either lucky, privileged, uncommonly supported, or incredibly persistent. I have a feeling a sea of humanity falls into the second scenario: they show up for work out of fear and do what they have to in order to get by. They may actually be quite well off because of their jobs, but they cannot ever quite completely forget that that compensation is taking the place of a thwarted dream that did not pan out. And I suspect that if true human potential were globally unleashed, it would be as magnificent and profound a phenomenon as Eric Whitacre's virtual choir. It would render compensation and any other "incentives" moot. I believe people are born with dreams and the trick for all of humanity is to fan the fires of those dreams. Then we become not so much our brother's keeper as our brother's liberator.
  • Apr 3 2011: I would work for free if I could get what I want from the employee... because then there is no need for money at all.

    Who cares what one prefers. Give them the freedom of choice, while being ready to "push" to the side that is less expensive for you - in case they don't know what they want...?
  • thumb
    Apr 3 2011: As a fresh employee I think it would be nice if employers stopped considering graduates as a 2nd option for hiring. Most of them (I'm talking about the situation in Russia now. Can't judged about what's happening somewhere else) think we don't have enough experience in disposal. Yes, that's right, we don't, but they forget about our flexibility and swift mind for new things and getting necessary skills is a matter of a few months. That is what quite important for me at least.
  • thumb
    Apr 3 2011: They want fun, recognition, friendship and leaders who are visionary, honest and take interest in their people. Many also want opportunities to do positive things for the community and the environment.
  • thumb
    Apr 2 2011: I have another question to ask:

    Is a well structured rewards/recognition system imperative for staff retention?
    • thumb
      Apr 2 2011: Hi Amy, Most countries have certified human resources organizations that can help with questions like this. A well structured rewards/recognition system is imperative for staff retention and I think the competition for great staff will become increasingly stiff.
      As to gifts and perks- if they are well targetted and meaningful to the recipient what they mean is that they are cared about and cared for -thus enhancing a sense of belonging.
      • thumb
        Apr 3 2011: I completely agree.
      • Apr 3 2011: You mention, "the competition for great staff will become increasingly stiff". Do you think a well structured rewards/recognition system could also be a valuable tool for attracting new employees, as well as retaining current employees?
        • thumb
          Apr 3 2011: Hi William, I think a company's reputation has the most significant impact on attraction of new employees. High profile companies with good reputations are most attractive keeping in mind that individuals have strong preferences for large or for small companies. This is primarily based on their own personality profile. After the initial attraction, in the deliberation phase, rewards and recognition are important but increasingly the meaningfulness of the work or of the potential individual contribution are more and more important.I loved the article in Harvard Business Review a few years ago by Porter which said that well run for profit companies are the most hopeful enterprises on earth for making profound social change. By doing what they do best and pursuing profit they can do things that NGOs and governments cannot do. In fact, I changed career directions and joined the company I am currently with in order to make a difference in the field of infection prevention. The company's reputation was precisely why I did this.
    • thumb
      Jun 8 2011: I think a rewards/recognition system is a great idea. After a company gets to a certain size, we don't always know what someone else does for the organization. To have a recognition program would allow the entire company to know when someone goes above and beyond.

      It does have to be monitored, though. After some time, these things tend to be a pat on head and 'here's your glass of water, now go to bed' kind of thing. I'm not sure how to keep it 'real' but recognition of and by peers is always a boost - even if people won't admit it.
  • thumb
    Apr 2 2011: depends on what type of workers you ask-

    blue collars/laborers may want ; money,time,benefits,praise for good work, support on personal issues, car fare, idea implementation, new responsibility. the list goes on.

    white collars may want ego boosts,more responsibility, more work challenges, a raise.......

    workers in other countries may want more pay, healthcare,human rights and to not slave the majority of their life awawy in a truly dead end sweatshop job or the like. but that's applicable to all workers. just saying.
  • thumb
    Apr 2 2011: i would like FIRST is respect FOR SURE, to me it's comes above all... I used to help people out in many different places (without being paid) and I enjoyed at some because of how they trated me.

    second would be my future: can I see myself at that place for 5 years( cz I believe that a person should change every 5 tears in order to get more expeirences)

    then after that come the wage if your happy and can picture yourself then it's a matter of finance
  • thumb
    Apr 1 2011: employees want their personal growth..
  • thumb
    Apr 1 2011: I think that each employee have to give the best in yourself.The people think only about salary and this think prevent to give of himslef 100% and a lot of people doesn't think how work they will make.Every country the situation is very different.I think that every one person could be think how I be came the best
  • thumb
    Apr 1 2011: I would want a resource based system that actually is economic. Not a screwed up, complete scam called the "monetary economical system" that is the equivalent of 21st century, modern slavery. It's only a matter of time until the system changes owing to the state our world is in and the understanding that we can have abundant resources.
  • thumb
    Mar 31 2011: The best possible way to get to know about any being about their wants, are the exact things you will come to understand when putting yourself in his/her shoes..wants can be more than needs and same goes for vice versa.

    In case of employees' want, I think they need respect in their work domain, and above all a chance to prove themselves in best possible manners, to take challenges and spreading thier point of views of looking at that particular goal, given/assogn to them. Wages can't make them satisfied upto the limits they wish to be, they need good relationships and care in terms of the needs thay can come across while leading a good life. Again good life can't be fullfilled only with money :)

    • thumb
      Apr 1 2011: This is why I believe that a personlised rewards system would be very successful as it would create a sense of 'belonging' in the workplace.
  • thumb
    Mar 31 2011: Balance.
  • Mar 31 2011: Money or Stability.
    • thumb
      Mar 31 2011: I don't tend to disagree much on this forum but I have to here. Of course we all need those things or we will never settle into a career or job. The thing I believe most people want is to know that what are doing has some meaning and that the eight hours they spend working is not a waste of time. We want to be inspired and valued. We want a certain amount of autonomy (this will vary depending on the individual) we desire responsibility and a creative work environment and we want to work with like minded people who have passion and enthusiasm. Sadly this is missing a lot in many work environments and either people simply move on or just fester in a non productive situation never realizing their true ability.
  • thumb
    Mar 31 2011: A lot depends on the cultural background of the employee. I have discussed the book "4-hr workweek' with various people in Taiwan and everyone looks at me as if I'm mad. Free time, except on special occasions, is viewed as wasted time. If you only have to work four hours a week then you can get another job and earn more money. Even if you're earning more than you need, you should try to earn more and save it for your future. Obviously, this is a sweeping generalisation, but it's definitely the dominant paradigm.

    I have a local client who tries to send his staff home at 5pm. He wants them to be happy, fulfilled, and get their work done efficiently. But they all stay in the office for an hour or two extra, telling him that they still have work to do, because nobody wants to be the one who walks out leaving their colleagues still looking busy. In reality, everyone is making work, nobody really needs to be there.

    Incentivising those people is really difficult. At the 'average' level (ie not high fliers) people here want security first, high salary second, and promotion/advancement is a very distant third because it entails the dreaded R-word. Nobody wants responsibility.

    Being appreciated means being noticed, means being accountable and given responsibility. Being involved means being responsible. Also to be avoided. A lot of people do get sucked into deep involvement with and responsibility for some aspect of a task, but very often it's the bit they feel most comfortable with rather than the most important one. They stay in their comfort zones, or complain about unfair pressure.

    In my work, I meet a lot of people who complain about not being valued or appreciated. They're not happy about the hours or being a small cog in an impersonal machine. But these feelings are less important than the accepted values and expectations of others, so their responses to incentives are conditioned by outside forces, not their true feelings.

    Is it the same in other countries?
  • Mar 31 2011: Wow! I cant believe that. Well, thats good. Our effort in work should be recognized to inspire us in working. Whats the use of big wages if your not happy with your work. We need to learn this.
  • Mar 30 2011: Employees don't want little gifts or even monetary rewards (though that would be more acceptable). They wantrespectt and this is shown by autonomy, consultation and involvement, and readable remuneration for work done. I don't believe the gaming idea works because work is not a game. I sell my skills and my time and expect respect for that. I want bosses to be interested, encouraging, and supportive of my work needs, and to respect what I do. This is a very interpersonal thing. Nothing else will do.
    • thumb
      Mar 30 2011: The concept is not about turning work into a game or not respecting the work of a valuable employee. It is about recognising good work on an ongoing basis, through a means of various symbolic and tangible rewards, as a way to encourage more positive company culture.
    • Mar 31 2011: I agree with Amy; in that the use of "games" in the workplace is not intended to undermine the importance or value of the employees work, but rather encourage them to interact and engage with their work / co-workers / incentive schemes.
    • thumb
      Mar 31 2011: I agree to you Denise, in the sense that employees wish to be respected for the work they do and have done. But let me ask you something: How do you want to experience this respect and what encourages you? Wouldn't rewards be exactly the right thing to show respect and approval of your work?

      By saying "it is an interpersonal thing" do you mean it is just between you and your boss? Isn't there a danger of subjectivity?
  • Mar 30 2011: Firstly the first thing which Employees wanted is Job satisfaction,secondary comes the surroundings ie colluagues...and next comes salary benifits etc
    • thumb
      Mar 30 2011: Sathish,
      Is this based on your experiences as an employer or as an employee?