Money talks – cash as reliable as ever when it comes to motivation, says study

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Over a quarter (27 percent) of UK employees say the hope of receiving a financial bonus is their main motivator. This is perhaps an unsurprising fact, money will always talk, but despite this a large portion of employers do not run any kind of monetary incentivisation programme.

The independent study commissioned by Xactly, a provider of cloud based solutions, revealed that financial incentives are key to engaging employees and boosting productivity.

45 percent of respondents were paid hourly or on a fixed pay rate with no potential for a bonus, and a quarter (25 percent) stated their personal performance is in no way connected to financial incentives.

The scale of the missed motivational opportunity is made clear with respondents who had previously received a bonus, with over two-thirds (69 percent) stating that it motivates them to push towards their next professional goal .


“The UK is currently experiencing a huge productivity challenge,” Tom Castley, ‎vice president EMEA at Xactly comments.

“These findings highlight the gap between what motivates employees and what businesses are doing to engage them. The best way to boost productivity is to boost employee engagement – financial incentives are key. Of course, this isn’t about throwing money at the problem, but smart, performance-based financial reward must be utilised to help the UK pull itself out of the productivity pit,” Castley concluded.

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  1. Let’s see the data please. I can believe this is what employees sampled stated, and they may indeed believe it too. This IS NOT the same as money having been objectively demonstrated to being a motivator and being proved to provide a positive Return on Investment (ROI).

    In my world of professional sales I was astounded when I completed my MA in Strategic Sales Management to find that proven (objective) data demonstrating a categoric link between the payment of cash bonuses and increase in productivity is very very difficult to find. Studies finding objective data that the link simply isn’t there can be found quite easily though.

    Equally, I was amused to read a study which followed ‘ethical’ consumers who had stated with absolute certainty in focus groups that their purchasing behaviour was motivated by how ethical the product was; price had little relevance. When they were observed though (without them knowing), it took only a 2p difference in pricing for them to switch to unethical purchasing. 2p!!

    So as I say, it is not accurate to assume that what people state as subjective belief is the same as hard data and objective observations. It might be. But let’s see the data…

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