Which benefits will motivate your employees?

Modern approaches to motivation

Motivating employees is more critical than ever before.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

Platforms such as LinkedIn are only a click away, on which every even remotely qualified person receives job offers in countless ways today. Nevertheless, conflicts arise repeatedly concerning benefits, bonuses and extras for employees. Approaches fail, fade away without effect, and some miss the target so severely that they cause demotivation.

How can your organisation offer more modern and up-to-date approaches?


We have to look at three main issues.

Firstly, certain managers still think that a strong employer brand, often self-proclaimed, exceeds all benefits. The personal exaggeration in statements such as “Everyone in the industry wants to work for us” is hard to beat regarding narrow-minded arrogance. Such views are beyond scientific evidence and practical realities.

Secondly, many organisations still choose to generalise when it comes to benefits. Everyone receives the same, and everyone has to be satisfied with that. A practical example: for their birthday, everyone gets a bottle of wine, flowers and a greeting card signed by the management. One employee returned the bottle of wine to the HR department without comment. He was quickly accused of ingratitude and arrogance. None of this was the case. The employee was an abstinent alcoholic. That’s how well generalising approaches to motivation work.

Benefits, which are not benefits at all, are a special category. With texts from job advertisements such as “We offer a job that allows you to align your private and professional life” — really? How very generous…or maybe not. Do not offer pseudo-benefits or try to pretend that obvious must-haves should be considered a voluntary gift from your organisation. Your applicants will distance themselves from you faster than you can imagine.

Is this a benefit?

To check whether benefits are benefits, the so-called reverse method helps. You take your offer, reverse it and come to two possible conclusions. An example will illustrate this approach.

Let’s assume that you offer your employees a railcard, which may also be used for private matters. The opposite would be that you do not provide a railcard or that it may not be used for personal travel. The reaction is “what a pity”, because such an offer is advantageous, especially nowadays. If the opposite result is “what a pity”, it is a benefit you can use in marketing.

Let’s take the example of “We offer work-life balance”. The opposite is that you do not offer a work-life balance — an outright impertinence. Here you conclude that this would be an impertinence. In this case, we do not have a benefit.

A simple method helps you assess whether real benefits are present or only fine-sounding phrases without real-world benefits are being uttered.


The management level now plays a central role in implementation. The larger the organisation, the more likely it is that you will not be able to meet every single person, talk to them directly or know their wishes. However, the leaders acting closer to them can do so. Team, group, or department leaders often know their employees better (excellent leadership and trust are a must-have to get to know your employees beyond work-related matters). They can determine their preferences in terms of personal benefits and act accordingly. The more unique and personal the benefits are, the more you know and serve the so-called inner mission, the ultimate drive of the employees, and the more the benefits offered will be accepted and have the desired effect.

More on the topic of benefits, motivation and employees in this week’s podcast: click here to listen and learn.

Is the topic of employee benefits and motivation important to you?
Let us talk: NB@NB-Networks.com.



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Niels Brabandt

Niels Brabandt

Niels Brabandt is in business since 1998. Helping managers to become better leaders by mastering the concept of Sustainable Leadership. Based in Spain & London.