Ask a manager how they think their staff want to be rewarded and a good proportion of them will assume the answer is ‘more money’. The question should be “How well you know your staff and what truly makes them tick?”.

In an increasingly demanding workplace, do managers really have the time to understand each individual? Is their answer simply an uneducated, blind stab into the world of psychology? Are they also shifting the blame on to other parts of the organisation that they themselves cannot control[1]?

More to life than money

A study by Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research, for Sainsbury, measured what really matters to Britons and looked at quality of relationships as well as factors including debt, health and social media [2].

This study, the inaugural ‘Living Well’ index, found that income has surprisingly little impact on how people feel, above a basic level required for sustainable living.  A 50% rise in income contributes to just a 0.5 point increase in a typical Briton’s Living Well score.

Increased sleep quality alone can account for 3.8 points – differentiating between the typical person and those in the top 20% of ‘Living Well’ – and can therefore have the same impact as a person suddenly having more than four times their usual disposable income!

Amongst those in work, 43 per cent of those with the highest ‘Living Well’ score stated that they felt they had excellent job security, while worrying about the health of a close relative can contribute to a 1.75 drop in their score.

Community connectedness

In the same study, researchers found that stronger connections with the people in their workplace community were an important factor for those experiencing the highest quality of life in Britain. Regular communication with their colleagues can add 1.6 points to their score.

The office, showroom, work site, or establishment is indeed a community.  In a perfect world, it should be a pleasant environment with a team of individuals who set out to achieve the same goals whilst supporting one another.

Unlike pay, a great community spirit is something that every manager can influence. Taking small steps to change a worker’s day to day experiences, such as facilitating discussion in the workplace, allowing staff downtime together to bond, or removing wall dividers to create an open plan office can all aid a theoretical ‘Working Well’ score.

Building on every level

Successfully increasing workers’ satisfaction requires a sustained commitment from senior management. With many in Britain working longer hours [3], under more stress [4], and with less security, maintaining the feel-good factor has to be part of a value-based strategy.  Remuneration and reward policy has to be applied intelligently, as cash is not the most powerful motivator.

Many organisations now recognise the power of events when it comes to rewarding, recognising, and motivating work forces, but pressures on profits mean that the investment must produce a measurable and worthwhile return. There is no denying that we’re all kids at heart, and a bit of glitz and glamour can make the grumpiest of us become animated. The research doesn’t lie – a great event is one that brings people together, allows them to relax, and builds a sense of community.

This outcome isn’t driven by cost, but by working hard at the outset to lay out your objectives and ensuring that you check they are being met at every step of the planning process. Working with a professional event organiser will aid the process. Their experience can help guide you, utilising your budget in the areas that will have maximum impact on your working community spirit and advising on how to make savings whilst still adding a dash of the glamour to makes the event memorable.