Why you DON’T motivate with bonuses only

60 second blog – Motivation


Motivation of staff

We offer bonuses to motivate staff.  This motivation works sometimes, but why not every time?

How to “Double” motivate

There is a saying: we walk towards what we seek e.g. a bonus.  However, we run away from what we fear e.g. a fire.  Hence fear is a stronger motivator than reward.

Desire and fear

So, if we really want to motivate people we have to use both in combination.  Let’s say that we tell a salesperson that if they sell, we will reward them, but if they don’t sell they could lose their job. There is a carrot and a stick.

bonus and motivation
We all favour bonuses – the carrot – it is positive. However, when was the last time you ran to get a bonus? Compare this to running to avoid a parking ticket?  I bet you have lost your breath running to avoid the ticket. Could the same be said about a bonus?

Bear in mind that a parking ticket is a lot less money than a typical bonus.

Loss Aversion

This is also called “loss aversion”: once someone has something, they fear losing it.  They will protect much more what they have rather than try to get more.  More is a nicety, but often just that.

DISC and Motivation

DISC is a behavioural profiling system. Different profiles, different desires and fears – different motivation. Hence, it is a great management and recruitment tool.


If you know your employees’ profiles it is much easier to decide how to motivate them.

Motivation and Management

Management is about changing people’s behaviour, to motivate them to do something they would not have done otherwise. If you don’t make them change their behaviour you don’t manage them.

See also: How to create magic for your clients and your manager

11 Recruitment - Christian Madsen1

Christian Madsen
Managing Director
11 Recruitment

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