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April 10, 2000
Top Employees Motivated More By Maintaining Reputation Than By Pay
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HESDA, MD. - Eighty-one percent of top-performing employees - as identified by their employers - say maintaining a good personal reputation motivates them to achieve peak performance, according to a recent Watson Wyatt survey of 551 large employers and over 500 employees. Only 15 percent say expectation of financial reward is a very significant influence on performance.

Pay -- Price of Admission

"In today's tight labor market, competitive pay is the price of admission for employers - it is not a key differentiator," says Rick Beal, a senior compensation consultant at Watson Wyatt and co-author of the study. "Our research consistently shows that intangible factors such as personal satisfaction and recognition of contributions are more effective in driving high performance."

What Motivates Top Employees?

Motivations Percentage Responding "Very Significant"
Desire to maintain good work reputation 81%
Importance of the work 76%
Appreciation of others 66%
Interesting work 51%
Personal desire to please supervisor 20%
Expectation of financial reward 15%

"It's important to keep in mind that top-performing employees are typically well paid, so we're not saying that pay doesn't matter," says Beal. "Our message to employers is not to underrate the importance of non-financial rewards in influencing behavior."

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