It takes more than money to make you happy
"That's because they don't know what their passion is until they experience it. Once they get into jobs, they realize there are other things they need to be fulfilled. It's through working that they discover this."
Sonya Kunkel, senior director of Catalyst Canada, a research and advisory organization that promotes the advancement of women in the workplace, says a 2001 Catalyst study that focused on what attracted Generation Xers to their jobs showed money came in third after career advancement opportunities and the chance to work in a position appropriate to one's abilities.
"Compensation is still an important consideration for people," Kunkel said. "But it's not the only measure."
Money is an extrinsic, rather than an intrinsic, motivator, said Fred Rosenzveig, president of the Institute for Thinking Development (mindrange.com), a consulting firm that specializes in creative thinking and innovation.
"Extrinsic motivators are things like stock options, whereas an intrinsic motivator is something that gets you excited," he said.
"There are six intrinsic motivators: challenge, freedom, resources, work group features, supervisory encouragement and organizational support. These are the things that get people going."
One challenge for employers in motivating workers is to match individuals' skills to the work they perform, he said.
"There needs to be the right amount of stretch in the work."
Workers also get inspired at work when employers listen to them, he said.
Recognition in an organization becomes even more important in workplaces that offer low salaries. One example, Rosenzveig said, is the service industry.
"That's why employers in the service industry often have employee-of-the-month recognition," he said. "It doesn't necessarily supplant low pay but those jobs would be intolerable if, in the absence of extrinsic motivators, there were no intrinsic ones."
However, he added, it's interesting to note that the employers that make the "top 100 employers" lists are not necessarily those that offer the highest salaries.
"People want to work for them because they want to learn and work on special projects," Rosenzveig said. "There's that old saying that if you love your work, you'll never work a day in your life. I think everyone has some degree of interest in creativity and problem-solving at work."
There are certain types of workers who are keenly motivated by money, Brown said.
"Salespeople may be driven by money and the material image of what money buys more than other groups of workers," she said. "But they're a unique group."
"There are people who are extrinsically motivated. But for most people, it's like food at a buffet. Do you want to choose from 2,000 items on the menu, which is overkill? Or, would you rather have a few high quality items that you really like?"
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2006
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