What Really Motivates You?

Some will see Sliips as a tool of greed; leverage for an employee to hold in front of their boss and demand a pay rise. I’m here to put forward a different view. Sliips removes the secrecy and frustration around pay, meaning more headspace for people to understand what really motivates them.

I am motivated by recognition. I really hate the word, but a pat on the back will see me happy for days. I’m not talking cash here, I’m talking about the “I heard what you did there, good job!” stuff. That stuff is like a drug to me.

When I first started my career, my tolerance for this new found drug was pretty low. Much like the idiot fresher I was after being introduced to large doses of cheap alcohol for the first time, I was running through walls to seek my next fix. No matter the problem, no matter how tough the client, no matter how rubbish the location; I’d come running…

Looking back, I wince at my naivety. At my susceptibility to this ‘recognition’, much in the way I wince at my first year antics… enough said there as my Mum will no doubt be reading this.

The rat race!

When I first started my grad job there was an incredible sense of community across the starter group. The notion of a corporate ladder rat race could not feel further away.

My starter group — the work fam.

Fast forward 12 months, and the game is well and truly on! The tight-knit cohort is split into two; those ‘going for promotion’ and those ‘who are not’. You’re playing inspector trying to work out your chances. “Peter’s got partner feedback on their annual review, Lucy has closed £150k of sales, shit! I’ve got no chance.”

Everyday conversation has moved from “how fun was Infernos at the weekend?” to “how’s your promotion case looking?”. Fundamentally, you’re in a competition for promotion and you’re ‘playing’ against those closest to you. I found it uncomfortable to say the least.

Looking back and past the discomfort, the factor I find most interesting was the motivation at play for people. Promotion did mean a salary jump, and for some that was good motivation. For most, and certainly for me, it was not the primary motivator. It was something much less tangible but much more powerful. It was recognition. Recognition for hard work done, and the first major milestone that reassures you are on the right track in your career.

Mixed Messages!

Two years into the scheme and I felt like I was flying. I’d worked my arse off on one of the large client account teams and felt like I had made a name for myself as “a smart, enthusiastic and hardworking” graduate (real feedback). Recognition from the client and account team was coming in thick and fast — it felt good. Really good.

I’d been preparing for my promotion for over 12 months, making sure I knew the exact criteria and choosing projects to ensure that I had all the requisite experience checked off. I made sure my internal manager knew how good my client work was going. I was sure that my promotion was a done deal.

Salary wise the promotion would mean a £6k pay rise. This wasn’t why I was doing it though — I craved the formal recognition and status that it would offer above all else. The next major milestone of recognition.


Promotion time came around and by now you’ve probably guessed how this worked out: ”the business is having a really tough time right now…we didn’t get the full budget for promotions that we were hoping for…you were very close but unfortunately this time you didn’t get it.”

It’s fair to say I was pretty heartbroken. A month later I had found another job and had handed in my notice to my employer. I’d said in my exit interview that the money was the problem and I’d moved job to get the additional salary elsewhere. On reflection I don’t think that was entirely true.

I left because I felt like I had been lied to. Leading up to that promotion I had only heard good feedback. Being told that I wasn’t getting it felt like the final reveal in a bait-and-switch.

Why am I starting Sliips?

A few months after, happily positioned in my new gig, I’d arranged for drinks with some old friends from my tight-knit starter group. After a few beers I found out that only one from that group of 30 had actually been offered the promotion.

This was an odd thing to be hearing. It changed my mind about the whole experience. In the cold light of day I thought I was quick to judge the situation and maybe was wrong to have such high expectations of the process.

The biggest problem I had in this whole process was that the complete lack of transparency about the promotion rounds and about salaries.

Sliips is about giving people that transparency and as a result developing much more trusting relationships between employee and employer.

We take the salary question off the table and show you what the real career progression looks like for a company. This also applies to the wider industry outside your company. At Sliips we want to provide the most honest view of company to company comparisons so that people are not left in the dark about their career or their salary.