Owning a business comes with its own challenges. One of the biggest challenges you are likely to run into is how to attract talented workers and keep them motivated.

Understanding what motivates better workers is an important part of making sure you keep them happy and working with your company instead of going elsewhere. I’m a freelancer, so I don’t usually have to make hard decisions, but I do turn down work that I find stressful, or if the client is difficult to work with. If my stomach drops when I see an email from a client, that’s usually a sign it’s time to abandon him or her.

The same principle applies for business owners looking to keep talented people. What motivates better workers? The answer might surprise you because it’s not all about the money.

Quality of Work Life Matters More Than Money

Not too long ago, Fidelity published the results of a study that found that Millennials are willing to take a $7,600 pay cut in order to have a better quality of work life. You want to know what motivates better workers? A better work environment. Here are some of the aspects of work that employees like even more than money:

  • Career development opportunities
  • Flexible schedules to maintain a work/life balance
  • Purposeful work
  • Positive company culture

Workers like to feel as though they are doing meaningful work and contributing in a way that makes a difference. They also like to enjoy a certain amount of flexibility in their work — and they are willing to accept less if there are other perks that make up for it.

It’s not just free food and gyms, either. Advanced technology can be one of the biggest perks that businesses offer their workers. Productivity and job satisfaction are generally higher when cutting edge technology is involved.

I know that I’ve accepted less for freelance work when someone offers me a great deal of flexibility and a minimum of hassle. While it’s nice to earn the big bucks, the reality is that money can only provide so much happiness. There are lots of other things that matter in life. I know that as I strive to live with more purpose and passion, money is valued mainly for what it can help me accomplish. It has little to do with what makes me tick.

Today what motivates better workers is different from what motivated workers of the past. Flexibility, freedom, and meaning, plus access to cool technology and feeling like an insider, have more of an impact. Hiring and keeping talented people isn’t just about the pay (although that helps, too). You need to offer a little more. The good news is that technology can assist you. With the right technology, you can allow your workers to telecommute some of the time, as well as offer a more flexible work environment. But one of the big things to consider is whether or not your company has a mission that helps your workers feel as though they are doing good.

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I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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