Money may once have played the biggest role in driving employees to perform better, but looks like things sure have changed today.

In fact, a recent survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) found that recognition at work is the highest motivator, regardless of age, industry or location – even outstripping monetary reward.

Irrespective of their age, industry or location, more than half of the respondents said that getting better recognition for their work was the most highly motivating factor.

Having more challenging work and getting a more senior position were the two second highest motivators, followed by job security, earning more and lastly, contributing to the public good.

Harnessing the views of almost 2,000 ACCA finance professionals from across the globe, the survey highlighted recognition was found to be particularly important in areas such as academia and education.

ALSO READ: Can you scare staff into being more productive?

Around 90% of those working in this field said that they were motivated or highly motivated by getting more recognition for their work and by having more challenging work.

“The survey highlighted some clear distinctions between employees across regions. For example, in Asia and Africa rules and procedures play a larger role than for respondents in Europe,” Jo Iwasaki, ACCA’s head of corporate governance, said.


The survey highlighted another drawback of relying solely on pay to boost performance.

Although half of the respondents conceded that performance-related pay schemes could help foster best performance, up to 70% of respondents in East Asia, the Pacific and Africa agreed or strongly agreed that people may exaggerate or otherwise falsify their performance measures to meet their targets.

“This shows the fine line employers need to tread when putting in place performance related targets and the need for careful consideration when linking them to pay,” a press release from ACCA stated.

READ MORE: Only 4% of staff think performance reviews are useful

Nearly 82% of those surveyed asserted that self-interest is the most influential factor in potentially causing such people to override corporate procedures and rules.

Not surprisingly, there were calls for upper management to send the right signals by behaving ethically themselves, thereby reinforcing the idea of ‘walking the talk’ and not allowing double standards to persist.

Image: Shutterstock

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