This post was originally published in 2014. It has been revamped with additional research and advice for managers in 2019.
What, by a long shot, is the most important motivator for employees at work? Is it money, pressure, or praise?
Typically, managers believe the idea that pressure makes diamonds. The thinking is that if you want exceptional performance, you align employee objectives with end-of-year bonuses for hitting certain milestones and then employees will turn up their work ethic to reach them.
Long-held conventional wisdom on management dies hard. That’s because it’s based on gut instinct and superstition — and managerial understanding of motivation is no different. A massive 95% of managers are wrong about what the most powerful motivator is for employees at work.
Not only that, they’re thinking about employee motivation fundamentally wrong.