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Beyond the bonus: driving employee performance

We asked employees about the things that motivated them most, from how much they are paid to how their manager treats them, to better understand what UK managers and organisations can do to help their businesses succeed.

What we found

The study of over 1,000 employees found that people’s enjoyment of their role was the single most effective motivator, with 59% rating it as one of their top three motivators. Other emotional factors such as getting on with their colleagues (42%), how well they are treated by their managers (22%) and how much control they have over their work (22%) also rated highly.

The value of money 

The majority of employees say a good basic salary is important, with 49% saying they were motivated by how much they are paid. Performance-related bonuses, however, were considerably less effective as a motivator, with 13% choosing it as one of their top three most important motivators, coming in eighth place in the table.

Positive part-timers

Part-time workers are more motivated (76% classed themselves as highly or fairly motivated) at work than full-time workers (68%), despite being paid less pro rata (£10,793 a year, less than half of the average salary for a full time employee at £22,328). They are more likely to have a higher level of respect for their manager (57%) than full time colleagues (52%) and a more positive attitude towards their employer (57%) than full time staff (49%).

Managers as motivators 

Four out of five (82%) managers say that their staff know exactly what is expected of them and how their performance is assessed, while 84% say they get on really well with the teams they manage. However, employees feel less positive about the impact their managers are having, with 58% saying they know what they are supposed to do and how their performance is assessed and 61% saying they get on really well with their manager.

Motivating men and women

Overall, women were significantly more motivated than men and more likely to choose positive options when asked about their level of motivation (75%) than men were (66%).

For women, enjoying their job is the most important motivator (64% chose it as one of their top three), followed by ‘how well I get on with people’ (44%) and base salary (41%), while men chose base salary and benefits (58%) as the most important factor, then enjoying their job (53%) and how well they get on with colleagues (41%).

Under 30’s more financially focused

Those under 30 are more financially motivated than their older colleagues, and are more likely to currently be in a job where they receive financial incentives for work. Some 55% of under 30’s indicated that money was either very or pretty important to them, compared to 43% of over 30’s.

A similar pattern is evident in their attitudes to money generally, with 12% of under 30s saying that money is the root of all happiness compared to 9% of over 30s. 

Appraisals aren’t working 

Two thirds (61%) of employees said their workplace had an appraisal system, but a quarter of respondents (25%) think that appraisals are performed poorly by their manager.

Appraisals are less effective at driving the performance and motivation among female employees. Women are more likely to give examples of poor practice in the appraisal process (29%) than men (21%). In contrast, men were more likely to say the appraisal process had a bigger impact on their careers, with 40% of men saying appraisals impact their financial reward compared to 26% of women and 24% saying they lead to promotion compared to 15% of women.

Key links and downloads

Technical documents

Beyond the bonus infographic

Beyond the bonus infographic

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