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Motivating Without Money

Motivating Without Money

By Matthew Boyle | BusinessWeek

Fulfilling Work Is the Best Reward Extrinsic rewards are clearly not a panacea—the psychological lift that employees get from doing work that matters to them can be just as valuable. A new tool called the Work Engagement Profile— released by CPP of Mountain View, Calif., the same company that publishes the Myers-Briggs personality assessment—examines the internal motivations that fuel employee engagement. “Research shows that managers underestimate the importance of intrinsic rewards,” says Kenneth Thomas, the profile’s co-creator. “And now they’re in a situation where they cannot use [monetary] rewards as much, so it’s a perfect time for this.” Sherif Mityas, CEO of Movie Gallery, the video and game rental chain, is learning on the fly how best to engage his staff. Here’s a company whose 25,800 employees have every reason to be in a funk: The company emerged from bankruptcy last May, consumer spending has plummeted, and movie rental chains like Movie Gallery are facing severe threats from online rivals like Netflix (NFLX), DVD vending machines, and video-on-demand offerings from cable companies. Mityas’ plan to keep employees motivated includes a new customer-focused training program to show employees how to sell games not just to teenagers, but to busy moms as well. Not everyone was on board with this—Mityas has replaced as many as 30% of store managers. Those who remain are engaged, in part because the managers who do the best job of signing up customers for the company’s new subscription program will earn a trip to Hawaii. But what really inspires employees, Mityas finds, isn’t the size of the prize, but the awareness of it among the staff. “There’s a lot of value in being recognized among your peers,” he says. “It’s about creating the desire to do the right thing every day.” Boyle is deputy Corporations editor for BusinessWeek. ©2009 Yellowbrix, Inc.