How to Motivate Employees Without Using a Raise

vince dicecco

Vince is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on business development and management subjects, primarily in the decorated- and promotional-apparel industries. With 20+ years of experience in sales, marketing and training, he is an independent consultant to various decoration businesses looking to profit and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his website or send an email to

One of the most passionate debates among those who study supervision techniques is whether or not money motivates. I believe money only motivates an individual for what money represents to him or her at the time. Nearly 65 years ago, Abraham Maslow authored his “Hierarchy of Needs” theory and it indicated money can represent need satisfaction at each of the five levels: physiological, safety and security, social, esteem, and self-actualization.

When one or more of these factors are withheld or denied from workers they will become dissatisfied. The maintenance factors are perks/benefits, job security, work conditions, company policies, supervision, and interpersonal relationships.

Frederick Herzberg found that when the maintenance factors were met it did not automatically lead to job satisfaction, only that the worker was not dissatisfied. The true motivation factors were accomplishment, the interesting work itself, recognition, responsibility, advancement, and personal growth. Notice that money was not mentioned on either list. 

Do whatever you can to provide opportunities for your workers to experience those motivational factors—such as delegate assignments that are routine to you but challenging to them, praise them publicly, feed their hunger to learn by providing opportunities for them to attend training, trade shows and conferences, to name a few. And, of course, periodically make a “reality check” that the maintenance factors are present. Good luck!