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Looking to Motivate Employees? Promotions, Not Salary Increases, May Be your Best Bet

A new study from advisory firm Korn Ferry has provided some surprising insight into the most effective way to motivate employees. Flying in the face of conventional wisdom on the subject, a job promotion, not a salary increase, is the most commonly preferred form of recognition for employees, per the results of Korn Ferry's survey. According to the study, 63 percent of employees prefer recognition of a job well done by way of a promotion without a pay increase over a salary bump without any additional recognition.


UPDATE: Since this page was published, support for PathSavvy has moved! For PathSavvy’s new home, please click here. To explore CAEL's employer solutions, visit us here


These findings affirm the idea that employee engagement is imperative for job satisfaction, said Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry senior partner and the firm’s global head of leadership development, as quoted in the firm’s press release for the study. “To retain the best and the brightest, organizational leaders need to put development and clear career pathing plans in place, not just for top leaders but for those across the organization.”

Results from the study point to a bottleneck within the organization as the most common reason respondents who haven’t received a promotion lately attribute for their lack of recognition. That’s a bad sign for employers: When employees lack line-of-sight into opportunities for growth within an organization, talent flight isn’t far behind. 

While the findings of the study might come as a surprise, the conclusions the firm reached are aligned with CAEL’s findings on the importance of career pathing as an essential strategic initiative to foster employee engagement. The strategic use of a career pathing solution can limit talent flight, help employees achieve development goals and expedite HRIS implementation, all outcomes that can help workers feel as though they’re receiving the recognition they deserve.

CAEL’s career pathing software, PathSavvy, provides clear paths for employees to achieve career goals within their organization, increasing transparency of internal growth opportunities and lowering turnover rates. For more information on PathSavvy or to schedule a demo, click here.


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