“Money Can’t Buy Me Love.” ----- The Beatles
Please bear with me. This post is about money as a motivator --- or in "comp speak" intrinsic verus extrinsic rewards. I can hear the sighs already . . . .
Many of you have already decided which camp you're in. Some believe that money is the most important motivator of all --- nonmonetary motivators are secondary. Others of you believe that money is great to a point --- meaning it's a motivator until basic needs are met --- and that varies by person. Beyond that intrinsic rewards become more important --- things like purpose, recognition, praise from management, accomplishment of a critical goal, etc.
I run across a lot of articles addressing this as I’m sure you do, but I thought I would share some points from this one as it comes not from a Compensation guru or researcher--- but the CEO of a reputable and well known search firm Korn/Ferry that specializes in searches for top executives. He's a guy that's around them every day and knows just a wee bit about what motivates them as he tries to recruit them.
The highest paid CEO is Mark Zuckerberg. He earned $2 billion last year. I read this and thought, “If I made $2 billion, I’d quit.” So why does Zuckerberg still work? Why do other company founders still work after making millions/billions?
Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn/Ferry, is of the school that says people need money to live but it's not a primary motivator. In recruiting and retaining CEOs, he says that, "few executives leave for the money. They are attached to their jobs for purpose. Money can rent loyalty, but it can’t buy it.”
Purpose or a mission is so very important to a company. Facebook’s mission statement was revealed in its IPO filing when Zuckerberg wrote, “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission - to make the world more open and connected.”
Zuckerberg and many others like him are driven by purpose. And, purpose trumps money every time. Burnison says, "Getting any employee --- CEO or not --- to leave a company where they have a deep sense of purpose is almost impossible."
This post may bring out the cynic in you. You might say:
1) Top management is obsessed with money --- no amount is enough. Looking deeper though we might find the real motivation is power and prestige and the measuring stick for power is money. Money in these cases is only the means to an end. Power is the primary motivator.
2) Money is everything even to the extent that ethics are violated.
3) Vilet you are an idealist ---- you live in a fantasy world.
4) All research studies have proven that money is the prime motivator.
5) All the well-known Compensation gures say money is the primary motivator. What makes you think you know more than them?
Well . . . maybe so. But I know what I have seen. I have been blessed by working in the high tech industry my whole career --- both corporate and consulting. It's an industry that is known for companies that are on the "leading edge" ---- and a good many of their employees are driven by the need to create new products/services. I have known countless CEOs and other employees so obsessed with their job/mission/purpose that money is not even in their top three motivators. Are they anomalies? Maybe. But when you’ve seen enough of them, you can’t ignore them.
What do you think? Am I dreaming? Or is this for real?
Jacque Vilet, President of Vilet International, has over 20 years’ experience in Global Human Resources with major multinationals such as Intel, National Semiconductor and Seagate Technology. She has managed both local/ in-country national and expatriate programs and has been an expat twice during her career. Her true love is working with local national issues. Jacque has the following certifications: CCP, GPHR, HCS and SWP as well as a B.S. and M.S in Psychology and an MBA. She belongs to SHRM, Human Capital Institute and World at Work. Jacque been a speaker in the U.S., Asia and Europe, and is a regular contributor to various HR and talent management publications.