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May 06, 2014


Paul Hebert

I already ran my screed over on Sackett's blog but I have one word for those that want to use money as their engagement stick...


Look it up. Money creates greed not loyalty. Everyone (I repeat EVERYONE) lists money as as a driver of engagement - even when research shows they don't engage more for money (even after they said they would.)

Remember - mercenary. You get what you pay for.

For those that may want to think about this a bit more...

For those that want the money quote from the post:

“Despite this strong preference for cash, the gift in-kind has a substantially stronger effect on workers’ productivity than the cash gift. This suggests that the monetary value of the gift is of lesser importance than its signaling character.”


I get that a bump in earnings is not in itself a long-term driver of a person's engagement level, but when I'm awarded a meaningful raise based on my performance, I take that as a signal that the company is investing in me. This is the company using its most precious resource (money) to say "you keep adding more value," or "you are in our future plans," or at least "we are afraid you might leave." The money is a short-lived high, but the knowledge that I'm investment-grade talent in the eyes of my management chain definitely sticks.

In fact, in the context of a monetary reward, each instance of one of the above non-monetary signals (e.g. praise from upper management, added responsibility, access to new opportunities), becomes like a powerful engagement "booster" because now the overall story really sticks together.

But when the non-monetary rewards keep coming without ever receiving any actual dollars, there is something inauthentic about the overall message. In that case each subsequent non-monetary reward takes a larger "discount" to the engagement boost it would normally provide, until eventually they don't really move the needle at all.

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