For Love, For Money?

The top 5 things which motivate UK workers

What motivates us? It’s a question that defines a modern era saturated by choices. Today’s workers switch jobs after just five years and millennials stay for just two years, on average.

This shows a clear trend away from the golden age when workers enjoyed jobs for life. This is partly down to the changing job market, of course, but there is also evidence to suggest that the newest generation of workers simply have different priorities.

So, what motivates the UK workforce? How can you retain talent in a fast-paced world? The answer may surprise you...

1. Job Interest

According to NatCen Social Research, 69% of people would enjoy having a job even if they didn’t need the money. This means two out of three people would still like to work after a lottery win.

What is behind this? Interest could play an important role, since workers in varied and autonomous professional roles are more likely to show this sentiment.

2. Job Security

According to motivation theorist Frederick Herzberg, so-called ‘hygiene factors’ – things that are demotivating when lacking, like job security – need to be maintained. 92% of workers think job security is important, but just 65% think they have it.

This means it is crucial to handle big company changes in a careful and sensitive way. Motivational speaker bureau Speakers Corner even has a selection of corporate speakers specialising in messages around change – whether it’s expansion, restructuring or downsizing.

3. Direct Praise

We all like to be recognised for hard work - 31% of Brits say praise is the number one thing that will spur them on at work.

If you are a team leader, get used to telling workers they are valued – both in person and in writing. Make the praise genuine and reactive; don’t limit these conversations to appraisal meetings with your direct reports.

4. Achieving Goals

Aside from being interesting, a sense of purpose is also important for shaping what makes a job ‘good’. According to NatCen, it is also important to have good opportunities for advancement and the ability to attain a sense of purpose.

This all ties into goals – personal goals, company-wide objectives and even the ability to help wider society. Requesting a consultation with PeopleGoal is a great way to get started with goal-setting.

5. Money

As you might expect, money does play a role. The British are more money-motivated than our neighbours in Europe. After all, positivity doesn’t pay the bills!

It is important to make sure your business is paying a competitive rate. The appropriate salary depends on factors like the cost of living in your location and industry norms.

If your company offers a bonus scheme, the time of year can even make a difference to how effective this is. Research by One4All Rewards found that the optimum time to give bonuses is in mid-December.

If you are going to give cash rewards, make sure they are worthwhile, though. On average, British workers say that these ultra-motivating benefits need to be worth £687 to be meaningful.

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