Press Release: Dear Culture, We Need To Talk

BY TIFFANY NGUYEN | April 3, 2018

Companies are headed in a new direction. Ping pong tables, bonuses and fancy titles are nice, but employees in the corporate world are progressively losing interest in the pick-up lines. They’re looking for a long-lasting relationship. What’s really motivating them past the pay-check? This is where the effectiveness of a great culture is truly demonstrated.


Avoid messy breakups. They’re costly. The Center for American Progress estimates that replacing a single employee costs approximately 20% of that employee’s salary. These bitter endings are expensive, and the lost opportunities are an even greater cost. Employees don’t want to waste their time just as much as companies don’t. The feelings are mutual, so it’s time to commit to a relationship worthwhile.

Spoiler Alert: You Can’t Buy Great Culture

It’s no longer enough to win over the hearts of employees with showy perks or big bonuses. This is not to discount the value of promotions or fair pay, but the important finding is that these monetary rewards are not the only or even the best, motivator for employees. In 2011, the London School of Economics published a review of more than 50 studies about workplace motivation and found that people work harder when they felt their work was appreciated versus when they received performance-based pay incentives.

The results don’t lie. You simply can’t expect money to be enough to build a lasting relationship. Intrinsic motivations are the true fuel to the fire inside your workers’ hearts. To feel interested and truly vested in one’s work is many times more powerful than any paycheck, and when your workers feel appreciated, their time and effort is validated and the bond inevitably strengthens.

More Than Pretty Words

So people would rather be paid a compliment than a raise? There’s a reason the amount of studies on the significance of culture are increasing. People are complex, and their needs are no different. We get bored, and we begin to question our relationships.

These truths may at first seem like mere pretty statements, but it makes a lot more sense when you think about it in terms of perspectives. Sure, a bonus is nice, but you might be surprised to find that what you assume will matter is quite different from what actually matters most to you while completing a task.

Work It Out

One study done by a pair of researchers from the University of Chicago experimented on gymgoers’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. They found that people who actually found pleasure in running and working out (intrinsically motivated) to have a much different experience than people who would run for the delayed rewards of improved health or weight loss (extrinsically motivated). Many people credited their intrinsic motivation to helping them get through their work out and extrinsic motivation for when they had not yet begun their exercise.

So What Does This All Mean?

It’s all relative to how we think about our work. This study suggests that when people think about work from a distance, they tend to focus too much on extrinsic motivation, and too little on the intrinsic. Intrinsic motivations at work include learning new things and feeling good about oneself while extrinsic motivations involve receiving pay or having job security. When we are at our everyday jobs powering through our work, what motivates us in our daily lives is feeling appreciated and loving the work we do. While a bonus is never a negative, the incentive to work for our bonus only drives us to work until our next one. Bonuses and paychecks are spent or put away. While it may always be a welcomed asset, it must not be our only one. These stimuli are not as meaningful as the intrinsic ones, and the result may be an unsatisfied, stressed out worker who only works for the next paycheck or reward.

How Deep Is Your Love?

Wharton professor Adam Grant explained that the motivational power of money and prestige at work fade more quickly than a sense of appreciation.

“Extrinsic motivators can stop having much meaning — your raise in pay feels like your just due, your bonus gets spent, your new title doesn’t sound so important once you have it,” he told The Wall Street Journal last year. “But the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.” — Adam Grant

Given these conclusions, one can see why a seemingly satisfied worker has decided to part ways. These feelings do not come out of nowhere. They are festered overtime in the gaps of a healthy work relationship. The breakup is inevitable when you’ve built up a relationship only focused on shallow rewards, because sadly, these external benefits fade over time.

Let’s Stay Together

Where do we go from here? It’s time to stop taking shortcuts and show your employees you care. Appreciate their hard work and don’t just substitute cash for compliments. Relationships are a two-way street, and you get back you give. So, give back warm sentiments that solidify a meaningful and strong relationship. Remember the fancy things fade, and their power is all relative in time. Feeling valued and satisfied will mean so much more in the long run, and if you’re in it for the long haul, you’ve got to put in the time to get it back. Don’t be a casual fling. Be the company your employee is willing to commit to, time after time.

GALLANT not only understands the time and work needed to fortify a strong work culture, but we are willing to put in all the effort necessary. There are no shortcuts when it comes to a lasting and healthy work relationship, so put in the time and request a consultation today.

Tatyana Nelson

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