Employee motivation is a complex and controversial issue in human resource management because managers and scholars cannot identify a single specific factor that can motivate workers better than the rest (Asaari, Desa, & Subramaniam, 2019). For instance, there is contradicting evidence regarding the impact of higher pay on employees’ motivation because some studies consider intrinsic motivation while others focus on extrinsic motivation. However, Maslow’s theory of motivation and the efficiency wage theory prove that higher salaries are the best incentives for workers.
. Higher salaries push workers to work harder so that their contribution is directly proportional to their income. According to Alfred Marshall’s efficiency wage theory, workers’ motivation, commitment, and productivity are significantly and positively correlated with higher salaries (Bibi et al. 2020). Paying employees higher salaries than what is currently offered in the market motivates them to work harder to avoid dismissal, get a promotion to earn more money, help the organization attain its core objectives (Fritoli et al. 2021). This justifies why Amazon, Google, Nvidia, and Amazon pay their workers better than their competitors. Therefore, higher salaries are the most impactful incentives in motivating the workforce.
Money is the greatest motivator because it helps individuals to realize other motivators. According to Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation, people are motivated by the desire to achieve various needs beginning with the most basic to the most advanced ones. Paying employees higher salaries makes them motivated because the money would help them achieve physiological needs, self-esteem, safety needs, love and belonging, and self-actualization (Thiagaraj, & Thanggaswamy, 2017). With money, a person can afford shelter, food, healthcare services, and clothing, thereby achieving their basic needs. Higher salaries would also enhance security needs because well-paid employees can rent or build homes in secure places or buy high-end cars with high safety standards.
Besides, having money enables one to actualize love and belonging needs because they can afford to pay for vacations, night-outs, dinner parties, and other social events, which solidifies intimate relationships with friends and family members due to a sense of connection created. Money can boost self-esteem because it is a source of respect, status, power, and recognition. According to Asaari, Desa, & Subramaniam (2019), higher salaries are better than promotions, appreciations, job security, working conditions, and other non-monetary incentives. Notably, higher salaries motivate employees because, with money, they can achieve a considerable number of needs and live happily.
In conclusion, higher salaries are the best incentives for ensuring that employees are happy and motivated. Efficiency wage theory shows that higher salaries make employees happy and motivated because they perceive it as an exchange for their efforts, commitment, and contributions. Maslow’s theory shows that people are motivated by the urge to satisfy their needs by paying bills. People go to work and make money to live a decent and happy life. Generally, higher salaries remain the best perk for keeping workers happy and motivated.
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