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26 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM

What motivates employees to stay?

Rewarding employees works because they tap into three strong psychological needs of employees
Harun Rashid
What motivates employees to stay?

In today's tight job market, employers must focus on how to attract and keep top talent. Giving away stacks of money may not always be the best incentive, employees desire even more is to feel that their managers appreciate them not only in paycheck terms but in other ways such as flexible work-at-home schedules, motivating for their performances, or even just by saying thank you for a job well done. Cash matters in people’s lives, but it’s not all that matters. What really matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated.

In a lot of organizations, there are no recognition programs for employees whatsoever and employee may prefer non-cash rewards because they often spend cash bonuses on basic necessities like paying rent, bearing medical expenses or buying groceries, which are less memorable and enjoyable transactions like dinner or hangouts. If you reward someone with a nice dinner or trip, they will talk about it with their co-workers, and that can motivate everyone, that trip or dinner is more memorable and emotionally satisfying to them than just receiving cash, so it can act as a stronger motivator.

Sometimes a simple thank you is enough, among the happiest employees, and many people’s say that their managers are good at providing positive feedback. In fact, a simple, heartfelt thank you from a manager is often enough for employees to feel like their contributions are valued and will motivate them to try harder.

Why rewarding employees works; these types of rewards work because they tap into three strong psychological needs: employees long for sovereignty with the freedom to choose how to do their work; they want to appear competent, armed with the skills needed to perform and they want to feel a sense of belonging by socially connecting with colleagues in a meaningful way. When these needs are satisfied, employees feel more motivated, engaged, and committed to their workplace and they report fewer intentions of leaving their jobs. Remember, employees who are engaged in routine work i.e. factory workers, can be motivated by rewards and punishment called the carrot and the stick method. When attempting to apply this method in more educated, corporate positions, it can have devastating motivational effects. What determines job satisfaction is not a one-size-fits-all, but flexibility, recognition, the ability to make a differences and yes, even special perks, can go a long way in addition to being compensated well will always be a top consideration, but we’re seeing work-life balance, telecommuting options and learning opportunities outweigh other job factors when an employee decides whether to stay with an organization.

Of course there are still many people who consider pay to be the prime means of motivation, but if we’re completely honest with ourselves; pay can only motivate us so much. How motivated would you feel earning a six digits salary working in a job where you are worked to the point of exhaustion every day in a dilapidated office, surrounded by people who resent you, reporting into a manager that doesn’t invest any time, effort or appreciation in you? Answer, money is not the be all and end all.

While a company may obtain very valuable information from termination interviews, this kind of approach has two signal defects: It looks at only one side of the coin; the termination side. If a company wants to keep its employees, then it should also study the reasons for retention and continuation, and work to reinforce these. From the viewpoint of a company’s policies on employment and turnover, the reasons why people stay in their jobs are just as important as the reasons why they leave them. An obvious point in evidence is that one individual will stay in a job under conditions that would cause another to start hammering the pavements. And this approach also tends to assume a perfect correlation between job dissatisfaction and turnover. Many a company works for low turnover because it thinks a low rate implies that its employees are pleased with their jobs. This is not necessarily true, by any means. A low rate may also be the effect of a tight job market. Or perhaps the company has put golden handcuffs on its employees through a compensation scheme that emphasizes deferred benefits.  A high turnover rate can be detrimental to the financial health of a company and the mental health of its employees. First, within the company, there is the issue of job satisfaction.

Second, there is the company environment and the degree of comfort an individual employee feels within it. Also, outside the company, there are non-work factors that directly affect inaction, such as financial responsibilities, family ties, friendships, and community relations. Some workers told us, for example, that they would never leave their companies because they were born and reared in their present locale. Others said they stayed because they had children in local schools, could not afford to quit, or had good friends at work. Many of these employees also reported low job satisfaction and yet they stay.

If so, how can retention are improved? A company might do this by reinforcing the right reasons for staying. By right, here, we mean a combination of job satisfaction and environmental reasons that sneers with the goals of the company. By wrong reasons, we would mean any combination of reasons for staying that is beneficial neither to the company nor to the employees.

If managements concentrate on understanding why employees stay, then they can act to reinforce the right reasons and stop reinforcing the wrong reasons. In other words, they can take a positive approach to managing retention, which will be more effective over the long run than the ordinary, negative approach of simply reducing turnover.

The writer is a Certified

inance Specialist



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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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