Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Money isn't everything for 78% of workers

The majority are not motivated to work harder by a bonus worth 10% of annual salary

Bonuses often involve sizeable investment by UK employers, but new research has found that the majority of workers are not motivated by lump sums.

One4all Rewards’ Push the Button Report questioned 1,000 UK workers about what motivates them in the workplace.

The study found that, while rewards and incentives are often effective for maintaining morale and attracting staff, simply handing out lumps of cash is not an effective way of increasing staff efforts - indeed, 78% would not work significantly harder in exchange for a bonus equivalent to 10% of their annual salary.

And even incentives equivalent to 25% of annual salaries would not motivate more than 1 in 2 (59%) of workers.

Similarly, a 10% pay rise would only result in 22% of workers working harder.

These findings suggest that incentivising staff to work harder is about much more than bumping up their bank balances - and suggests that the 64% of UK employers who are currently awarding incentives and bonuses need to design and distribute them carefully, in order to achieve tangible increases in staff output and motivation across the entire workforce.

For those businesses looking at alternatives to financial incentives, the report findings identified several effective options.

1 in 5 workers are motivated to work harder by regular rewards - such as weekly or monthly treats.

And benefits that make salaries go further by covering employees’ monthly costs - such as pension contributions, health insurance, savings on travel or food - would result in an increase in output for 18% of employees.

Declan Byrne, UK managing director at One4all Rewards, comments: “From this research, it’s clear to see that while bonus culture is impactful, it isn’t always an effective driver of increased output or motivation for many employees. As it can be very expensive for businesses, this is an important learning for many UK employers to acknowledge.

“As one of the leading providers of reward schemes for UK small to medium-sized businesses, we would recommend employers clearly define their objectives for an incentive and benefit scheme, and find out which types of reward does and does not switch on the desired results in their employees, at the very initial stage. It is important to define the goals and the likely results from the outset.

“When used in this way, financial incentives can be really effectively utilised to ‘switch on’ employees to work harder - often with great results for the bottom line.”

John Byrne, performance coach at Mindcoach, said: “We know from research in this area that direct monetary incentives work more effectively with some people and some roles more than others. So I’m not surprised that money isn’t an equal motivator for all employees, because we’re human and it’s natural to want different things and value things differently.

"If you want to get the best return on your investment in rewards and incentives geared towards engaging and motivating employees, you are better to tailor your approaches. After all, no one wants to be just another employee.

"It’s very often quoted that businesses lose customers because their clients don’t feel valued, or they feel a perceived attitude of indifference to them. A singular approach to employee motivation has the same effect. Employees leave high paying jobs because their other human needs aren’t being met. It’s human to want to feel understood, valued, cared for, connected and relevant.”

To read the full Push the Button report and to find out more about One4all Rewards visit the website: