Editor’s Note: Vitru puts knowledge into the hands of people who need it: managers, teams, employees. Using psychometric assessment testing, each personality is broken down and segmented into a microcosm of work values and traits. Just as each employee has a unique persona, each work value embodies its own narrative. This multi-part blog series sets each of the 12 Vitru Work Values under the microscope to learn significance of each. What they look like manifested in an employee, and how they affect a company as a whole. You’ll get the most out of this series if you’ve taken the Vitru Assess or used Vitru Compare. Both are free!


Ahh pay day. The satiety that comes along with a direct deposit in a dwindling checking account. For some, money is why we do what we do, the one and only work motivator. For others, money is a byproduct of internal fulfillment, a mere tool to trade with. Though we like to shy away from ‘money as a motivator’ in today’s work world of craft beer fridges and unlimited vacation days, let’s not all pretend it means nothing.

Charge It

Those who value Rewards, and yes there are still plenty of them, work best when compensated with dolla dolla bills. Promotions, raises, compensation…think: the traditional way of work motivation. Straightforward? If possible for the company, maybe. However, if not feasible for corporate plan, maybe not.
“The emotional quality of an individual’s everyday experience, the frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection that make one’s life pleasant or unpleasant — rises with income.”
Industry buzz: Queue Dan Price’s minimum salary increase to $70,000…jury still out?
For your Rewards peeps, start by setting clearly defined goals and subsequent monetary outcomes for hitting those goals. When said goals are nailed, pay up!



Management Tip: It doesn’t have to be a Rolex. Set a small percentage bonus for a big sale, an extra $100 for more responsibility in Q4 or a 1% dividend for bringing on a new client contract.

To Raise or not to Raise

To know one’s audience is not only important in giving speeches. When giving promotions on a case-by-case basis, maybe the money isn’t always the best choice.


Off of a 2015 Kronos study, those who had ever received a past pay raise, 40% said it improved their motivation or general feelings of appreciation for six months or less, while 30% say the raise boosted these feelings for a mere month or less; making day-to-day acts of gratitude and appreciation in the workplace that much more important.



Raises are all fine and straightforward, but how can we better manage those who end up at the opposite end of the Rewards spectrum?
“Money is more of an attractor than a motivator. Which means offering a handsome salary is an enticing way to get a clever candidate interested, but it’s usually only enough to get them through the front door. Once they’re hired, intrinsic motivation is needed if you want them to give you their best.” James Adonis @jamesadonis
Management tip:  Know your employee first and tailor the compensation to what will work best for them.



Not the Primary Motivator

We all appreciate the uses of money, but for those who yearn for more appreciation, responsibility, control, flexibility or whatever else can be used to improve work, other types of “raises” can be used. Twenty percent of survey respondents would take a 10% pay cut for work flexibility options and 18% would be willing to work more hours. Eighty-six percent of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job and most organizations have a rewards and/or recognition program in place.

Management tip: Write a handwritten note

Says Kara Simon, general manager, 3Cheers Recognition & Rewards: “The time it takes to sit down and write a personalized note says a lot in and of itself. By expressing appreciation in a personal note, the recipient will feel appreciated by the effort and motivated to continue to go above and beyond.”
Industry insight:  89% of employers assume that their employees leave for more money elsewhere, but only 12% of employees actually earn more from their next company.

For Love and Money

So maybe we don’t all have to agree whether the psychology money works for work on a grand basis. By nature, what motivates one may not work for the other.  Learn where your employees rank on the Rewards scale. You may be surprised as how much money is in the wrong places.
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Ryan Mead

CEO / Partner

Dad, Chief Enthusiasm Officer, Coach, Tech-nut.