Monday, October 18, 2010

Business for the Greater Good

According to the video above, productivity goes up by 40% when employees have the feeling they work for something greater than financial results. This study, done by the Notre Dame University, corroborates the idea that financial motivation is sometimes not the most essential part of the package. I would argue that in the majority of cases it is not. No doubt, money is important and there are many, who are primarily driven by the financial gain: a vivid illustration to that would be the recent financial crisis, a Shell reserves overstatement scandal, Parmalat or Enron fairy tales. It is not surprising that the human greed dripping from the top surprisingly quickly permeates the very essence of the companies.

Still, according to research, financial motivation increases employee performance for the period up to 6 months. What then? Then comes the non-tangible part of the rewards package, such as the corporate culture, or access to development opportunities, or the employer image, or an ability to do something that will make this world a better place.

No matter how much money British-American Tobacco are going to put in their employer brand campaign, it will forever bear the stamp of "smoking kills" over its shiny corporate logo. I am not sure how people working for them feel, but I know for sure that I would not enjoy contributing to the success of a company that is (indirectly) responsible for lungs cancer of thousands of people. Conversely, working for a "green" company, for instance, would make me want to achieve more, make an effort, go an extra mile... Call me an incorrigible romantic or a fool, but pay goes beyond the dollar.

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