Pay plays only a small part in the motivation of employees



From the variety of the two questions I have chosen to focus on the second one, "It is widely acknowledged that pay plays only a small part in the motivation of employees, Discuss." In this discussion paper my theme is in support of this widely acknowledge concept. In support of my work I have used theories on the subject. I have then continued to explain other point of motivations excluding pay that supports this concept.

Main Body:

the competitive environment is a major drive of change in the world of work: changing social, demographic, ethic and culture has put pressure on organisations to respond and adopt quickly (Armstrong and Brown,2001). Some organisation can survive on traditional hierarchical structure and are able to deliver goods and services. For example, training and development is one things a business could improve on. It was believed by (Harrison, 1992) that businesses did not recognise the difference between training and development and therefore treated them as part of the same process.

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However with unavoidable changes, organisation have been forced to review there management strategies. Amongst this strategies, is human resources management. Its been established that humans are a very important resources a business could have, therefore the way humans are managed in recent years will be different to how it was being managed ten to fifteen years ago.

The aims of these strategies are to achieve a close relationship between the employees and the employers. The objective of any business is to maximize its use of its resources to end up producing the maximum level of output and most importantly make profit. For example a a pen machine in a factory is an investment to a business, its expected that the machine produces the maximum amount of pen that it was intended to. Humans are also one of this resources need to give there maximum to a business. However unlike machinery humans need to constantly be motivated to get up in the morning and get to work. Its understood by businesses the necessary steps needed to be taken in order to get the maximum output from its one of its important resources the employees.

It is an easy assumption to make that pay is the main element that people go to work: especially with the current economic environment., People are trying to keep up with the recession and inflation. However this is not applicable all the time, its a proven concept that, workers wont go to work if they don't enjoy their work hence the necessity of motivating employees.

Motivation is a drive within a person to try to achieve a goal to meet a want or need, commit ones self to work or achieve there full potential (Weightman, 2002). Motivating people at work is not just a case of pressing the right button to switch them on; Its checking that they are willing to work to a standard.

It is true that employees and employers do have some unwritten or written (either in statute or collective agreement) a mode of conduct in their relation known as a "psychological contract" these are not defined formally, however they are understood by both parties: this are mutual expectation between employees and the organisation Maslow(1943) with such ice breaker phrases like being treated as human ,to be paid ,to have a safe working environment the opportunity to develop and be promoted etc. This are a basic necessity for an organisation to have for it to have employees. In addition there are the bare minimum things that an organisation must use in order to have satisfied employees, amongst this are:

Communicating with employees.


Pay and pension

Working hours and time off

equality and Diversity

If a business motivates there employees successfully their cost is highly likely to decrease (Harrison R, 1997). To support this, studies have been carried out by different people on motivation theories, the results were different with each person. Some of these people are:

Maslow's hierachy of needs






These authors theories are constantly used in the current businesses world. Despite the variance, they all tend to agree on the need to motivate employees to get the most out of them. Below there are some of the examples of these theories,

Maslow's hierachy of needs:

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Dr Abraham Maslow(1943) theory was based on his clinical experiences with people. His theory was based on human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs. He continued by saying that the lower factors need to be satisfied before higher needs. These needs include Physiological, survival, safety, love and esteem).

Maslow continues by calling this needs as "deficiency needs"

physiological needs:

Maslow explained that these are the basic needs that will have to be satisfied before anything else. Its impossible to work when someone is tired nor hungry, to help with this

an organisation can provide: Lunch and rest breaks.

Safety needs:

He continued by stating that once the physiological needs are meet, security follows.

For employees to be able to do there work they need to feel safe in the work place. This could be done by: safe working environment, benefits such as health services or retirement benefits

social needs:

This follows after security, he described this as needs to have love and friends.

In terms of employees, it is necessary for them to have friends and feel loved and appreciated by the business they work for in order to give there all. This can be achieved by creating group events, common room where workers can get together on there breaks.

Esteem needs:

He continued with addressing the issues of employee needing to feel important and wanting to belong somewhere. A business can achieve this by making employees feel appreciated by going out for a staff meal, having awards such as worker of the week.

self actualization:

The quest to reach full potential is what Maslow concluded his theory on. This unlike the other needs will never be satisfied as there is always opportunity to grow said Maslow

by providing workers with continues challenges and opportunity to reach the career.

There are some limitations to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, foe example not everyone can go through the levels ticking as they go. Maslows theory of motivation had not focuesed on pay whatsoever


Frederick Winslow Taylor's theory also known as "Scientific Management" was based on the idea that workers were mainly motivated by pay, to him humans were there to increase the productivity levels. in the early 1900s theory known as instrumentality emerged. This was based on assumption that work has no outcome other than economic ones. Employees motivated by money needed to be put in a situation where they have no choice but to work. Taylor simply added to this theory. His theory was popular and was quickly adopted as the benefits were obvious for example, increase in production and low levels of production. Henry Ford was the first to use this method on the production of "Model T Ford"

His theory focused on increasing specialisations and division labour which he said will make a processes more efficient

have written procedures for tasks and have quality control system

get maximum prosperity for employer and employee by linking pay and other rewards directly to work output(piece rate)

as much as this sounds good for the business on the employee side this has led to low morale amongst workers also it could be argued that he didn't see the workers as people and rather as machinery.




other practical ways on how to motivate its staff.

Innocent drink company, this is one of the companies most people would like to work for. (below I have attached research that I carried on this company). With policies such as providing free breakfasts to staff in encouragement of bright start to the day.

KFC , chain do give for its employees amenities like free lunch, dinner, refreshment and other benefits in social occasion like birth days , family day out etc. [1] 

The practice of some business in transport business - bus, train, airlines giving for the employee family a free bus/train/airlines thicket are some of the things. [2] 

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Flexible working hours, regular tea &coffee break, support in tuition fee for further studies, amenities at the work place , canteen,

Pension ,Bonus, and shares in the company (John Lewis or ,Waitrose) [3] 

Training, giving priority to the employees to internal vacancy ,etc...

Holidays ,Christmas drinks, holidays, sick or /and maternity leave

Room for promotion, equality and diversity

Discounts, support in staff housing, child care, leisure and other facilities

Above all involving the workers in the administration by using secession in once weekly, or quarterly, bi-annum in the form of consultation committee, workshop, as feedback secessions or just to get innovative ideas from the workers as to know the way forward and making them feel as part of the company achievement and progress. In addition developing a competitive award scheme in which the employees would get a token of appreciation such as vouchers, family holiday or giving them a title such as, "worker of the week, month or year, would invigorate the workers routine work habit and create a challenge.

From a personal point of view as an employee of AsDA, some of the things that will motivate me is things like equal treatment, knowing what needs to be done by training and being informed on what is going on

reward methods


To conclude

indeed pay is one motivation to workers however its clear from my piece of work its no way the only motivator.

It is costly mistake to get lost in the false theory that more money equals happy employees.

Pay is not the only motivation for an employee to put there full potential, commitment and dedication on the output to the company. It is unwise to recommend or advise pay as the best mode of motivation to businesses.

in addition with things such as the competitive award schemes (planning a target for the employees to meet should have to be realistic or it should have to be achievable), each company or business should have to search the best means to achieve the goal of receiving back from its employees their potential.

Supporting employees to develop and grow through training, experience and eventual promotion. It does not need to go that far to show the effectiveness of motivation, the recent Bonus to the Banks.


communicating with emploees:

poor communication is one of the most common mistakes made by the business. Its also one employees complain about. Employees complain mangers give poor instructions, they also feel uninformed about what is happening within the company. They also feel that their views are unheard, unacknowledged or even ignored. This can lead to misunderstandings, poor performance, law morale and wasted time. More seriously poor communication could mean you breach employees rights and break the law.

(accessed on10th December 2010)


selecting effective training for employees can vastly improve the chances of success within the company. It can help build your competitive advantage and equip employees with the skill that the business needs.

equality and diversity

this looks at bullying and harassment, understanding the disability and the equality act 2010 and giving total equality to everyone in hiring.

working hours and time off

most workers have the maximum working hours by law (working time regulation). A business should be able to accomidat this rules and give it employess fair amount of working times.


flexible working times

company known for its employee motivation.

It's not every day that a food and drink company (chocolate manufacturers aside) has people begging to work for them. But for smoothie and juice maker Innocent Drinks it's all part of a day's work. A quick glance at the company's internet message board says it all. Take, for example, a message posted in June last year which reads: "I may be only a lowly student but PLEASE give me a job! I worship you all." Innocent puts its success with people down to staying true to its original five-point strategy. Although its central objective is to produce high quality drinks, its four other points, each of equal weighting, are the development of a strong brand, a robust supply chain, solid customer relations and a happy team of employees. Take the company's induction process. New recruits are given a two-week timetable which consists of meetings with every member of staff to give a picture of what they do and where they themselves will fit into the overall structure of the company. In addition to this, the company runs what it calls its lunchtime programme, which for the first two weeks assigns a different member of staff each day as a lunch partner. "In your first two weeks you don't have a new person panic when you start work, but get to meet lots of people on an informal basis, the company's policy of providing free breakfasts to staff to encourage a bright start each morning -- every staff member has their own breakfast bowl, mug and plate -- and how it runs a two-hour bar tab every Friday after work at a selected pub to ensure the opposite each Saturday. "It's knowing the company is looking after you that counts," Such novel motivation policies clearly seem to be working for Innocent, which records a remarkably small annual staff turnover.