KPMG recently published figures (shown on yesterdays BBC website) showing that one in five workers in the UK are paid less than the basic living wage. There are arguments on both sides about the moral rights and wrongs of this and this has already been covered by many others. The only thing I will say is that I'm glad I don't have to exist on minumum wage! However what the report also does is to bring the issue of pay into the spot light.
In my experience, I have found money to be one of the most misunderstood motivators. Many of us naturally assume that everyone works for money but substantial evidence shows it is not as black and white as this. Certainly when I take people through a career coaching process it is nearly always the case that money isn’t high on their agenda – even when they first thought it was. I’m not advocating pay isn’t important, but rather, that most people are motivated by other factors too such as a nice work environment, nice colleagues, to be listened to and have a chance to do fulfilling work. The best thing of all is many of the fore mentioned are free! Pay is generally only an issue if it isn’t enough i.e. what people would perceive to be fair & equitable for the work they do. Whilst some people are undoubtedly more motivated by money than others, it is worth considering the limitations of pay when using it as a tool to motivate your staff to do their work (which when you think about it is essentially why you pay them in the first place!). Otherwise you might run the risk of losing good staff to competitors which is definitely costly.