Tuesday, 4 January 2011


I feel sorry for bankers. They had a horrible 2010. They’re next in line for one of those entrapment scoops by one of the papers – probably the Guardian. And they’re about to make things worse by paying themselves large bonuses because (as everyone knows (sic) money is the only way of retaining talent.). No it isn’t. Never was. It’s a poor second to job satisfaction, interesting colleagues and so on. As long ago as 1959 Frederick Herzberg produced his “two factor theory of motivation” that still holds good.

So why fly in the face of this by suggesting that bonuses are so important.

Because they aren’t.

Unfortunately there is another myth with a body that believes global economics is a science.

The truth is well expressed by Sir Martin Sorrell boss of WPP the marketing services group:-

“All business decisions are marketing decisions and all marketing decisions are about people.”

Success or otherwise in 2011 will come to those who better understand what makes people really tick – customers, colleagues and employees. In a shrinking world where nearly all ideas seem to be conceived spontaneously and simultaneously, it’s the people who shape and execute the ideas and the teams who shepherd the gathering of ideas that make the difference.

Look at the spirit and creativity at Google, Apple, Nike and John Lewis – places where people really want to work. Places where people feel they’re making a difference.

What Steve Jobs said to John Sculley one-time CEO of Apple when he was trying to hire him out of Pepsico still holds true:

“Do you want to spend your life selling sugared water or do you want to try and change the world?”

No brainer.

Engaging with people and making them enjoy what they do will always be the key to real success.

Not money.


David Chernick said...

Great post, Richard.

You're dead right that pay isn't the most important factor affecting staff turnover. Pay does make a difference. But that's mainly when employees see pay as unfair.

I found that out when we researched staff turnover at Reed. Thousands of job leavers looking for work online told us the same thing: In fact, the most important factor behind staff turnover is a lack of development opportunities. People want to progress. And not necessarily in hierarchical, promotions. Don't we all just want to get better at doing stuff? (And to be recognised for that!) Especially if it's important work!

David Chernick

Richard Hall said...


It’s amazing that we miss out on the cheapest way of motivating people isn’t it.

The four most valuable and effective words in the management lexicon that cost nothing are “well done” and ”thank you.”


We all want to learn and get better.

That’s the real driver.

Thank you.