Money as a motivator at work essay

motivation / money / employee / manager / salaries

Essay Topic:

The strengths and weaknesses of money as a motivator at work.

Essay Questions:

In what ways can a worker be motivated at work? Can money be an effective motivator at work? How can be the personnel motivated?

Thesis Statement:

It goes without saying that money is an “engine” of everything but sometimes it may not be enough to keep this “blaze” in the eyes of an employee.


Money as a motivator at work essay

Table of contents:


1. Introduction

2. Money and motivation

1. Motivation of the personnel

2. Money, stimuli and employers

3. The true “picture”

3. Conclusion

Does “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” principle still work?

Introduction. The word “motivation” in this essay will be used in order to indicate the interests, desires and internal readiness of a worker to apply certain efforts, take necessary steps to satisfy the career needs that are significant for him. If there had been an opportunity to ask the company leaders, owners of different companies, HR-managers or specialists what kind of employees they want to have in their companies, the answer would have been unambiguous. All of them would be unanimous about such qualities as the ability to think and act independently, the ability to show personal initiative, take reasonable risks and ability to take responsibility for actions, professionalism, be picky to the quality of personal work and many other qualities. The question how motivated an employee should be to correspond to this list of qualities-demands and is money an effective motivator at work to make each of them to become an “outstanding” employee. How does a company find itself in a situation when a worker that has been chosen exactly by the company authorities starts being lazy and his work turns into a “satisfactory” one? Any malfunctions during the process of employee-selection? Could be. But what about the skill that the majority of the company leaders are proud of – the skill to chose only those with an “eyes blazing”? It goes without saying that money is an “engine” of everything but sometimes it may not be enough to keep this “blaze” in the eyes of an employee.

2. Money and motivation

Managers apply a lot of effort to make the working places of their companies look attractive for professional and skillful employees. It is not enough just to pay the salary now! Money nowadays is not a factor that can make the employee work at his full both at work and even continue working at home. It is simple as that – if a person works in a company only because of money, or is other words is money-motivated, he can be easily “purchased” by a rival. No existing company is interested in letting a valuable employee to work for another company, because it can inflict a considerable damage to the companies. So this is the primary reason why employers should understand that a only money-motivated employee is a potential “vermin” of the company. Money by itself is obviously not a sufficient motivator at work. An employee working for money only will leave work at the very minute of its end and never do anything above his “duty regulations”. He will never work with the company but always for it. And therefore will not see the difference between working for this or that company because it will be only the matter of the salary-issue. This is the point when the authorities of any company think with tension about the motivation of their personnel. As the matter of fact the majority of contemporary employees search other benefits from work, except their wages.

2.a. Motivation of the personnel

It is possible to identify four main motivational-factors. In the first place it is the “compensational plan” which is the collection of material goods, which are given by the company to the employee. The word compensation is the most appropriate because in exchange for these material goods, the employer expects honest labor, time and many other things from the worker. The mentioned above “material goods” provided by the employer includes salaries, bonuses, extra-pays and other financial encouragements. So as it may be understood from the very beginning – money is only one the four major motivational factors and therefore has a ¼ impact on the motivation of the employee. The next factor that keeps the personnel motivated is the condition of their labor. To make a long story short, it goes about making the working place comfortable for the worker and making the atmosphere well disposed. The third factor influencing motivation is the possibility to achieve self-actualization, to go in for a favorite occupation, the possibility to grow personally and professionally. These possibilities ordinarily result from the investments that the company makes into its personnel, or in other words the material and other embeddings into the development of the competency and loyalty of the employees. And the fourth factor is the literal behavior of the company’s management of all levels, promoting professional inspiration, conscious and productive work of the personnel. All these factors are guarantors of the protections of the company’s interests, represented through the employees of the company. So the main question remains the same – how much an employee should be paid in order to make him reveal his whole professional potential? In order to analyze the capability of money as a motivator at work it is very important to understand the existing general system of payments or in other words the existing way of the “compensation plan”.

2.b. Money, stimuli and employers

The longing for finding a compromise between the interest of the company and the interests of the employees should imply the principle of simplicity and transparency. This means, that the personal of the company has to have a clear “picture” of the system of payment of the company, in other words to know what actions and result should be financially encouraged and what – not. So, basically saying – money can be a good motivator if this system is clearly set and understandable to the employee. If the model of payment is too complicated, in this case it confuses both the employer and the employee, and becomes the reason of misunderstandings between them. Complicated schemes do not stimulate, but truly confuse the personnel. Each employee should feel that he is very important for the company, even if his work belong to the undermost category. These are the conditions that do make money a good motivator, but it is important to remember that it is not the only necessary motivator that will bring results at work.

If the leaders of the company fail to combine all the listed above factors, they turn to the easiest and quickest, but the most unproductive way of motivation – money motivation. It may be in some way compared to negative reinforcement – brings results immediately, but in the long run causes a lot of trouble. According to Jim Clemmer, only weak leaders use money as a motivator [3]1. Basically saying is an employer does not want to invest into the employees in the long run and is interested in the instant, short-live result – than he may be called a weak leader focused on money as a motivator. When it comes to the motivation of the employees it is very important to understand the difference between a stimulus and a motive. Everything is rather easy. A stimulus – is an external impetus to any activity and a motive- is an internal one. So for instance, the salary – is a stimulus, but the desire to achieve a certain level of professionalism is a motive. The level of motivation strongly depends on the managers of the company. The level of motivation for every company is the statistical feature, defining in what degree the given motive is capable of influencing the respondent’s choice either to do or not to do the given work. “…But the big problem is that managers have consistently listed money as the number one factor that they think motivates people. So they keep fiddling with pay, bonus, and financial incentives in a futile attempt to find the elusive combination that will motivate people to higher performance” – the words of the Clemmer’s article completely reveal the true situation concerning to question “money as a motivator”.

2.c. The true “picture”

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has already become legendary. The Journal of Extension has applied this hierarchy to the sphere of employment2. According to Maslow’s theory and the possible critical analysis what can be made on its basis of the problem of money as a motivator leads to the understanding that a worker will never reveal his full potential only because of the monetary motivation. There is a time in the life of every employee when motivation through money plays an extremely important part in his or her lives. The maximum level of the money-motivation is the age of 24-27 years and at the very end of the professional career or in other words the pre-retirement time. This happen due to the fact that in the beginning of the career a person strives to become independent financially. And during the pre-retirement age a person wants to provide a financially independent retirement. The most vital part of the information given above is that these two ages are the most sensitive periods, when money can be a sufficient motivator. So money as a motivator is productive only for a short period of time and the money-motive cannot move the person onward constantly. It should be never forgotten, that thought money are vital in the contemporary world they are no the only thing that matters to people, especially when it comes to their career and such things as recognition are much valuable for each given employee in particular.

Conclusion. Money is definitely now a good and certainly not the only motivator that should be used at work. A number of misunderstandings occur when it is considered as the only motivator, because the individual peculiarities of each employee are not taken into account. In order to take into account the individual peculiarities of the personnel, add flexibility and controllability to the system of money-based motivation it is necessary to constantly provide additions to the salaries, but these additions should be clear and for certain reasons that the employee need to know. So the most important is that the system of motivation needs to be absolutely transparent and understandable for the employees and it has to react at the changes in the external and the internal situation of the company.

Sometimes the authorities of the company need to think first before paying an employee because may be it is the time for a “thank your o for your outstanding work” letter. Money is not an effective motivator, because it cannot make the employee works at his full. There different types of employees. Some of them need power, some need authority, others prefer money, and another type will choose stability and many other preferences. And what is really important to remember that no money will change this needs and money by itself is not sufficient to make the person successful in his career.

1 “…Money always shows up as fourth or fifth on any list of motivational factors. Pay gets people to show up for work. But pay doesn't get many to excel. More important is interesting, challenging, or meaningful work, recognition and appreciation, a sense of accomplishment, growth opportunities…” – Jim Clemmer, leader of the Clemmer Group.

2 There five levels of needs: physiological, safety, social, ego, and self- actualizing


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