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Employees Say Money Talks When It Comes to Motivation

Annual reviews alone don't cut the mustard . / Credit: Monetary motivation image via Shutterstock

Employers that rely solely on annual performance reviews to boost morale and decrease turnover are barking up the wrong tree, a new survey shows. U.S. workers say promotions or bonuses are the most effective way to keep them engaged and on the job.

While more than a third of workers (36 percent) say promotions or bonuses are among the most effective motivators, only 28 percent say their companies have a formal system to recognize and award employees, according to the survey of more than 3,000 adults currently employed full time.

The survey was sponsored by Randstad, a global provider of human resource services.

Forty-four percent of employees say annual performance reviews are the most commonly practiced employee engagement activity by their employers, but only 16 percent of employees rank them as an effective means of keeping them engaged.

Though the study points out several engagement disconnects, it also confirms where companies are getting it right. Employees, for example, agree on the effectiveness of engagement tactics such as encouraging them to share their ideas and opinions (45 percent) and investing in their careers through training and professional development and continuing education (38 percent).

One of the most challenging obstacles for employers is finding the best way to keep workers invested in their work and company, Randstad said. Though compensation usually ranks at the top of the list, research shows it is important to offer a full package of motivating tactics that not only provide benefits but promote leadership and professional development.

"It is important for employers to assess their employees' needs and create programs that stimulate and inspire their workforces," said Jim Link, managing director of human resources for Randstad U.S. "An investment now in promotions or bonuses, along with impactful programs aimed at motivating, recognizing and rewarding employees, will help with retention efforts, increase productivity and boost employee confidence in their companies."


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