It may be news to you, in the consulting world it’s cliché: money is not at the top of the list for employee motivation. Just Google the term “employees motivated by money” and see the countless studies and articles about the importance of respect, culture, recognition, etc. Are we surprised? The stock language variations of “money won’t buy happiness” goes at least as far back as: “Money can buy material things, but real happiness must be truly earned.” —Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1750 Then again, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes proved the earth was round over 2,000 years ago and some folks are still not bought in. Everyone has their own timing, it seems. If you get this thing about money, congratulations. If not, you might as well stop reading now and I wish you well on your journey. Understanding that how your employees feel is more important than what you pay them is critical. But this is the barest of beginnings. Managers who learn this don’t usually take it far enough, and their employees remain disengaged because they don’t know how to engage with them. Other than the potential financial strain, giving an employee more money is far easier than mentoring, right? You change a number in a spreadsheet and it’s done. Truly engaging with an employee requires deep listening, attention, and care over a long period of time. These are skills most managers don’t have, so notice: It is far easier for both employees and managers to make the issue about money when it’s actually not. The disengaged employee says they want more money. The disengaged manager believes them. Employees want to be challenged to grow in a way that serves them personally and then recognized for it, but the vast majority don’t ask for it. And managers have no idea how to give them that, so are secretly glad they don’t ask. This is why despite studies about how money doesn’t solely motivate people that go back forty years, employee engagement in the United States remains a flat 33% for the last two decades. Journalists call it a worldwide disengagement crisis, but they don’t provide accountability so well anymore (that used to be the job). Let’s call it what it is: a worldwide management crisis. If managers truly knew how to manage well, disengagement statistics wouldn’t be where they are. But nobody talks about this, the same way the parents of serial killers aren’t held accountable despite the fact that such murderers consistently have abjectly traumatic childhoods. I’m sure their parents did “the best they could.” Sometimes doing the best you can is not enough. You need to do better. But people passionate about excellence don’t need to be told that, they already know they can do better. They’re already working toward it. Is that you? Do you have a sense that you could be doing a lot more, yet something is holding you back? That’s what Clear and Open Members have in common. It’s a community of leaders and managers brave enough to look in the mirror and say, “I can be better.” Click here to learn more about becoming a member.