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Work Motivators - When Money and Coffee are not Enough

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Some managers assume that dangling a higher salary in front of employees will get a good, honest day's work out of them. These are managers in need of a serious reality check. Granted, some employees respond well to financial rewards, but more and more companies are realizing that motivation is subjective. What motivates Jon in accounting may not motivate Daniel who works 12 hour shifts of hard labor. Or single mom Anne who wishes she could spend more time helping her kids with homework. Or young, fresh out of university Erika, who hopes that her medical degree can help her ļ¬nd a cure for cancer one day. Motivation, you see, is like a pizza - not everyone wants the same toppings.

After releasing their CAMOP (Career Motivation Profile) and collecting data from over 6,000 test-takers from every walk of life, PsychTests uncovered just how unique people are when it comes to what motivates them - and just how wrong so many managers are when they assume that money is the ultimate motivator. PsychTests' analysis revealed that the top three work motivators were Achievement (being driven by a sense of satisfaction at reaching goals or rising up to meet challenges at work), Learning (desire to gain new knowledge and insight, as well as learn new skills), and Inspiration (desire to inspire others, either through creative means or by opening minds to new ideas). The least popular motivator was Status, or the desire to achieve a high social standing, title, or rank.

"We need to recognize that motivators can be intangible as well," explains Dr. Jerabek, president of the company. "Offering perks may work initially to draw a new worker, but won't keep the person motivated for long. In general, motivators like money, status, and power will probably work best in conjunction with other intangible sources of motivation. Managers have seen it - all the money in the world won't inspire someone who hates his or her job, lacks passion, or feels that his or her work won't make an ounce of difference in the world. And our data show this."

PsychTests' research also reveals that those who are strongly unsatisfied with their current position scored higher on a desire for a Balanced Lifestyle, Change and Variety, and Financial Reward. They scored lower on Achievement, Creativity, Improvement, Inspiration, Learning, Power, Identity and Purpose (work contributes to feelings of personal worth and value), and Social Factors (desire for contact with other people; to work in a pleasant, friendly environment).

"When we compared people who are very dissatisfied at work to our entire sample, they scored significantly higher on a desire for Creativity and Variety," explains Dr. Jerabek. "This is very telling. Doing the same boring, tedious tasks day-in and day-out - a person can become disenchanted"¦detached even. But I don't think that people who crave a balanced lifestyle, variety or financial reward are more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs. My interpretation of these results is that these motivators gain in importance for those who are dissatisfied because their job doesn't offer them. It makes other important motivators, like Achievement, Inspiration, and so on, less of a priority. These are people who are probably saying to themselves, 'Why set goals or work hard? My job is boring and I hate it'.

The combination of personality traits that translate to successful job performance can vary depending on the type of position.

Motivation is at the heart of every productive employee, and the missing link in those who are not living up to their full potential. If managers truly want to get the best out of their workers, they need to start viewing motivation as a case-by-case issue. Loyalty and commitment can't be bought, emblazoned on a golden plaque, or tucked away in that corner office with the nice view. They are a result of day-to-day interactions between management and employees that fulfills the needs of everyone involved, whatever they may be.

Psychtests' CAMOP (Career Motivation Profile) is available in ARCH Profile for hiring and other HR purposes.

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