Answering the Billion Dollar Question

HR Professionals,

The time has come to analyze our survey on what are the most important factors that motivate people in their jobs.

Why should you care about this? Well, our survey answers this billion-dollar question. As HR people one of our most important roles is RETENTION, and employee satisfaction is essential for employee retention. Organizations need to retain talented and deserving employees for guaranteed success and long-term growth. If new employees always leave you after being trained, then ultimately your organization would be in a huge mess. Yes, you can hire new people but no one can deny the importance of experienced professionals. It is important for organizations to have experienced people around who can guide new employees.

The Survey:

Over 100 people all across the world answered our question: What are the top factors of a job that motivates employees?

Here were the options they could choose from:

  1. Having your opinion heard
  2. Money
  3. Opportunities to learn and develop skills
  4. Positive work environment/culture
  5. Career advancements and progression
  6. Strong, cooperative leadership/management team
  7. Recognition and award for performance
  8. Interesting work that you are passionate about

I received feedback from many of the survey participants, saying that answering the question was actually more challenging than what they thought to be. One individual mentioned that the survey was challenging due to “trying to determine what answers go first depending on mindset. Isn’t everyone’s end goal to retire and live their best life? Thinking strategically with that end goal in mind.”

The Results:

There were 3 top clear outliers when analyzing the results of what motivates employees.

The top 3 factors are as follows:

1. Interesting work that you are passionate about (31.97%)

2. Positive work environment/culture (22.13%) 

3. Money (18.03%) 

The other factors go in this order:

4. Career advancements and progressions (8.20%)

5. Opportunities to learn and develop skills (6.56%)

6. Having your opinion heard (5.74%)

7. Strong, cooperative leadership/management team (4.10%)

8. Recognition and award for performance (3.28%)

What the Results Determine

Having 3 clear top winners ultimately identifies what motivates employees the most. HR professionals, use this information to your advantage for successful employee retention results.

1. Interesting Work That You Are Passionate About:

Passion is a state of mind. When you are passionate about a job then you not only love doing it, but it seems interesting to you. Being happy at work and loving what you do is an overall productivity booster and enhances performance. People who enjoy their jobs are more likely to be optimistic, motivated, learn faster, make fewer mistakes, and make better business decisions. It’s no surprise that 32% of employees want to be passionate about what they are working on for roughly 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

2. Positive Work Environment/Culture:

Employees working in a positive work environment feel that the culture better reflects their beliefs and values and, in turn, they are more effective, efficient, and fulfilled in the work they do. 22% of people feel motivated when they have a positive work environment because it builds a supportive culture that fosters growth for individuals and your organization. Moreover, this is why people don’t feel motivated in negative working conditions, as it can lead to increased team conflict, hostility, fears of dismissal, stress, and unhappiness. So as HR professionals, the more we can develop a positive work environment/culture, the more it will pay off for everyone.

3. Money:

Money makes the world go round. It is also a crucial incentive for work motivation, as determined by 18% of employees. Money is a medium of exchange and the means by which employees can purchase things to satisfy their needs and desires. Therefore, It also serves as a scorecard by which employees assess the value that the organization places on their services. Employees can also compare their value to others based on their pay.


Employee satisfaction is extremely important for employees to remain happy and also deliver their best efforts and work. Satisfied employees are the ones who are extremely loyal towards their organization and therefore, stick to it even in the worst scenarios.

The survey we conducted demonstrates what factors motivate employees at work. First and foremost is that employees want to be passionate about their work and passion comes only when employees are satisfied with their job and organization on the whole. Employee satisfaction leads to a positive environment/culture at the workplace. This, therefore, has a positive impact on employee retention.