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What Really Motivates People at Work?

Yesterday in my Introduction to Management seminar, we were discussing the best ways to motivate people. The students brainstormed numerous great ideas such as providing acknowledgment, showing trust, tracking improvement, giving rewards, and offering incentives. When the class ended, I found myself wondering, “What are the most creative rewards offered by employers? The best incentives?”

I remembered back to the first job I ever had as a dishwasher in a local family restaurant. There was a cash prize drawing every month for employees who had been on time for all their shifts. The month I won the big prize, I bought a nice camera that became my most cherished possession. More importantly, I’ve been devoted to punctuality ever since.

Although I enjoyed my cash prize, surely there are other ways to reward and incentivize employees. I’d love to hear about the best reward or incentive you have ever received, or the most popular or creative ones being used at your company.

So how about it, what really motivates people at work?

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