We spend approximately 30 percent of our life working. The question is, why? Do you view work as more than a paycheck?
Some folks view work as nothing more than a means to a paycheck — to make a quick buck. Others view work as a livelihood; they need it to support themselves, and in some cases, a family. Other people are career-minded; they have big plans and are committed to achieving their dreams. Last, some folks crave meaning and purpose in life; they want to make a difference and serve a cause greater than themselves.
Long story short, depending on a person’s short-term goals and long-term aspirations, money isn’t always the primary factor motivating them at work. While that may seem obvious, some things that excite people the most do not always receive the proper attention they deserve.
What Turns Employees On?
If someone works part-time to put food on the table, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that money’s a significant motivating driver. But if employers primarily use money, instead of challenging and meaningful work, to incentivize a career-minded individual, their efforts may fall flat. These employees want more than a paycheck because they’re taking a long-term view. In fact, a career-minded individual may be willing to forfeit money for a challenging work environment, an opportunity to learn, and the potential for advancement. The way they see it, they’re investing in their future. In addition, those who seek meaning in a job may view purposeful living highest on their priority list. To them, making a difference is their greatest reward.
Money is only one form of compensation.
Employers and employees must enter into a mutually beneficial relationship rather than a one-sided arrangement. Here are nine ways to put those words into practice:
For the employee:
Can you be bought? If the only thing keeping you at your job is money, you may be selling yourself short. If you’re not growing personally and professionally, you’ll ultimately pay the price.
Invest in yourself. Everything you learn is money in the bank — you’ll be able to leverage that knowledge for years to come.
Take one step back to move forward. One day, in order to assume a new role, you may be asked to take a pay cut. While that may seem unreasonable, you’re trading money for valuable knowledge and experience.
For the employer:
The free market has an invisible hand. If you don’t take care of your customers, they’ll switch to your competitor. By the same token, if you don’t take care of your employees, they’ll leave for greener pastures.
One size doesn’t fit all. Don’t assume that everyone has the same needs. While you may be motivated by your paycheck, others may be driven by challenging and meaningful work.
Stand for something. Companies have a responsibility to make a positive difference in the world. Having said that, doing good also helps attract good employees. While the bottom line is important, profits aren’t everything. That’s the bottom line.
Do more. Say less. Some companies put on a show to appear to be a good corporate citizen. Most people, including employees, can see right through insincerity. That damages trust and credibility. Do things for the right reasons and the money will follow.
Give — without being asked. Some folks want to “force” companies to serve the greater good. I disagree. If giving is made a requirement rather than a voluntary choice, employers and their employees would be robbed of the satisfaction that comes from making a difference.
We can all profit from the experience of not-for-profits. Why are not-for-profit employees willing to work for less pay? Part of their compensation is knowing they’re a making a difference.
Money Talks. Or Does It?
Employees want to work for an organization that they can feel proud of — one that expects a lot from its people and holds everyone to that same high standard. They want to work for an organization that provides challenging and meaningful work; one where policies, procedures, and paperwork are never more important than results; one that rewards its people based on performance rather than an arbitrary metric; and one where winning is never at someone’s expense.
Employees want to work for an organization that has values and viewpoints compatible with their own; an organization that cares about morals and ethics, and one in which doing what’s right is as important as the bottom line. Employees want to work for an organization that does what’s in the best interests of its customers, the community, and the world at large, not because it’ll enhance the firm’s reputation or lead to new business, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Employees recognize that if they spend 30 percent of their life working, they should spend it wisely. Money is something, but it’s not everything.
Do You View Work as More Than a Paycheck?
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