What Motivates Employees Today?

Employees high five in coffee shop

Everyone is motivated in different ways. I used to believe that money was the ultimate motivator, but didn’t last very long. The more I earned, the more I wanted, leading to a never-ending pursuit of higher income and material possessions. For most, this mindset is short-lived. Even when receiving a substantial bonus, it only served as a reminder that I needed to work harder next year to maintain or improve upon that reward.

The motivational landscape dramatically shifted with the advent of COVID-19. Remote work and flexible schedules became highly valued benefits. Employees sought more time off and better overall benefits. As businesses transitioned to remote work during the pandemic, employees grew accustomed to the convenience of not having to commute or adhere to traditional office norms.  Remote work gave people more time with their family and they were able to move work items to earlier or later in the day to address personal issues or simply relax without their boss walking into their office asking questions.

This shift poses challenges for the company to instill culture with the employees, especially new hires. Questions that have had to be addressed are, will the employees get sufficient communication, do they get sufficient interaction with their colleagues, will the employees be disciplined enough to meet deadlines and how does the company measure this.   

Having meaningful connections with coworkers is what motivates many employees to wake up in the morning and eagerly go to the office. A company’s culture, particularly if it fosters a familial atmosphere, can significantly contribute to employee satisfaction and loyalty. While salary and other financial rewards are motivating factors, workers tend to stay because of the people they work with and the culture of the business.