Comment of the week: Cash bonuses ineffective for motivating staff

Readers believe in the power of the cash bonus, but only to an extent

It’s no secret that pay-for-performance is an increasingly controversial technique. While some companies have opted out of end-of-year cash bonuses in favor of natural career progression, others have begun the process of slowly de-coupling pay from performance reviews. Meanwhile, we reported that just 13% of employees are driven to work harder by the prospect of a monetary reward.

Are cash bonuses just a shallow solution to a deeper HR problem? That’s what reader J Trent said in response:
Cash bonuses are a quick fix, not doubt. But for staff retention you have to go further and offer employees the chance to better themselves and develop. – J Trent

Other readers agreed that the bonus is just one factor in a toolbox of staff retention and engagement techniques, saying:

So removing existing cash bonuses will be more effective? I think not. Perhaps replacing it with real salaries but not out right elimination. – HCJ

Cash bonuses in addition to the other motivators mentioned are very much appreciated and should be given if the funds are available. This is especially true in companies that have very highly compensated executives who should 'give back' to the teams that enable their success. Motivation comes from a portfolio of sources, not point solutions. – G Rider

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