Salary Is the Most Important Factor in Motivating Employees

Category: Employee, Motivation, Salary
Last Updated: 21 Mar 2023
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Salary is the most important factor in motivating employees Motivation plays a significant part in a company in the modern society because only if employees are motivated can they be more productive. In a company, managers usually take measures such as pay increase and promotion to motivate workers. In the past decade, there have been a large number of surveys on factors that motivate employees to perform their best (Wiley 1997). Some experts state that salary is the most important factor in motivating employees. However, others believe that factors such as responsibility and job security are of vital importance.

This essay will argue that salary is not the most important factor in motivating workers and discuss what the foremost factors are. First, it will give evidence to show that salary is not the most important. Then, it will explain what are the most important in motivating employees. After that, it will discuss the importance of salary. Finally, a conclusion will be given at the end of the essay. The reason why salary is not the most important motivation is that companies usually link workers’ salaries with their productive results, which gives employees less opportunities and limits their development (The Times 100 2010).

If workers want to gain more wages, they will work only for the products and become workaholic automatons. Another point is that if pay is considered as the reward of productive results, it is difficult to guarantee equity. Then, employees may be dissatisfied to companies and become less productive. Furthermore, as people value respect and participation, pay is not so foremost and it is important to satisfy people’s spiritual needs. For example, according to McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, responsibility is of vital importance in motivating employees and if managers delegate responsibility to workers, they will be more motivated.

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Another theory, theory Z, suggests that participation could increase job satisfaction (Madura 2008). In addition, people want all their internal and external needs to be satisfied and salary is only a small part to meet their basic need. Even companies can provide satisfying pay; workers may be still unwell to work with all their heart. Therefore, salary is not the most important factor in motivating employees and there are non-financial factors that are more important than salary. Despite the fact that salary-system is an important part in modern enterprise system, it does not mean that pay is the most important factor.

According to a surprising scientific experiment of motivation, people who gain bonuses and commissions spend more time in solving a problem, which suggests that people become inefficient (Pink 2009). In some companies, employees still choose to resign even though they have a high salary. This is because they have no job security in the company. Job security can be defined as the confidence that they can keep their jobs. People who have job security can perform seriously as a result of concern about finding a more secure employment (Madura 2008).

Moreover, workers with a low salary may also work efficiently because they can gain a sense of identity. When employees contribute to companies and gain recognition, they usually work harder than before as the result of a sense of achievement. In addition, people who have high salaries are faced with more pressure because they should work more and perform better than those who have low salaries. Pay increases are on behalf of the increase of responsibility. Thus, employees who have poor pressure coping would rather choose a satisfied job with low pay than work hard with high salaries.

It follows that salary is not the most important factor in motivating employees because career will be hard when they are offered with high salaries. Based on the analysis of why salary is not the most important motivation, the next part of this essay will explain what the foremost factors are in motivating employees. Firstly, recognition and appreciation for work done is often a top motivator, which require feedback to provide reinforcement for positive behaviour. As a result, manager’s positive feedback to workers is a significant form of motivation (Wiley 1997).

Secondly, responsibility can also be the most important motivation. The responsibility to family requires people to work hard so that they can support their family and performing duties to a company is the best method of gaining appreciation. Furthermore, participation can be another foremost factor in motivating employees. When workers participate in corporate decision, they may be more productive in consideration of their own benefits. Finally, promotion and career development in a company are also of vital importance. For example, irms usually offer more opportunities to workers with the growth of the firm so that most employees can promote rapidly (Jackson & Bak, 1998). As a consequence, companies can take non-financial measures such as positive feedback and promotion to encourage employees to work hard. Although salary is not the most important factor in motivating employees, companies still cannot ignore the importance of salary because satisfying wages have been proved efficient to motivate workers for long time. For example, Taylor put forward the first motivation theory in 1911 and the research pointed that people worked only for money (The Times 100 2010).

As a result, pay increases are popular in almost all companies. Thus, it can be seen that salary can motivate people to become more productive. In addition, outstanding workers want their pay increase connected with great work instead of simply increase with ordinary people. Otherwise, these outstanding employees will be disheartened and lose the motivation of work because they realized that the reward they gain is as identical as other workers who spend less time and energy in spite of how hard they work (Gioia, 2009).

In consequence, if a company want to motivate employees by salary system, it must be equal to each person so as to motivate every workers to improve efficiency. In conclusion, it is the core subject in modern company theory research that a company can motivate employees efficiently and salary is not the most important factor in motivating workers because there are a large number of non-financial factors that are more important than salary.

Responsibility forces employees to work hard and they can gain a sense of identify because of participations. Job security is a motivator of increasing importance and managers’ positive feedback such as promotion opportunities and praise would also motivate employees. A successful company is one that establishes different motivating systems for different people to encourage them to be more productive. Therefore, companies should focus more on these non-financial factors instead of only paying attention to pay increases.

References: Gioia, C. (2009) Motivating employees: Is money or recognition more appreciated? Available from: http://www. helium. com/debates/137270-motivating-employees-is-money-or-recognition-more-appreciated/side_by_side. (Accessed 29 November 2012). Jackson T. and Bak M. (1998) ‘Foreign companies and Chinese workers: employee motivation in the People's Republic of China’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 11(4), pp. 282 – 300. Madura, J. (2008) Introduction to Business. 4th ed. Beijing: Post ; Telecom Press.

Pink, D. (2009) Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation [online video] Available from: http://www. ted. com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation. html. (Accessed 23 October 2012). The Times 100 (2010) Motivational Theory in Practice at Tesco. Available from: http://www. thetimes100. co. uk/download-tesco-edition-15-full-case-study_132_396_1168 (Accessed 23 October 2012). Wiley, C. (1997) ‘What motivates employees according to over 40 years of motivation surveys’, International Journal of Manpower, 18(3), pp. 263-280.

Related Questions

on Salary Is the Most Important Factor in Motivating Employees

Is Pay the most important motivator for employees?
No, pay is not the most important motivator for employees. Other factors such as recognition, job satisfaction, and career development opportunities can be just as important, if not more so, than pay when it comes to motivating employees.
Is salary a motivating factor?
Yes, salary can be a motivating factor for employees. It can provide a sense of financial security and can be a reward for hard work and dedication. Additionally, salary can be a source of motivation for employees to strive for higher positions and greater responsibility.
What are the most important factors in employee motivation?
The most important factors in employee motivation are recognition, autonomy, and meaningful work. Recognition for a job well done can be a powerful motivator, as can having autonomy over one's work and feeling that the work they are doing is meaningful and contributes to a larger goal.
What role does salary play in motivation?
Salary plays an important role in motivation as it is often a key factor in determining job satisfaction. It can be a powerful motivator for employees, as it provides a tangible reward for their hard work and dedication. Additionally, salary can be used to incentivize employees to work harder and reach higher levels of performance.

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Salary Is the Most Important Factor in Motivating Employees. (2016, Nov 21). Retrieved from

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