Can Money Buy Employees’ Satisfaction?

In the context of the modern globalized environment, employee retention and satisfaction become of the major concern for many human resource managers. The business sphere is becoming more competitive with each day, so employers are greatly challenged by making sure that skilled workers retain their positions and continue to bring benefit to an organization. Both private and public companies rely on the expertise of professional workers who must be satisfied with their job. While paying more is considered one the most common solutions to employee retention, research has shown that money may not be the only answer to all problems.

What Makes Workers Satisfied With Their Job

According to the research conducted by Sandhya and Kumar (2011), a good employer is the one that knows how to attract, motivate, value, and retain employees (p. 1778). The authors also underlined that despite the fact that there are many strategies of keeping workers satisfied with their job, motivational activities and the creation of a positive and dynamic working environment have proven to be much more effective. Moreover, the current business sphere is experiencing some rapid changes when it comes to location, working styles, the increased role of sustainability, flexibility, diversification, etc. In this sense, building a creative and dynamic work environment may be the only way of keeping all employees satisfied and working towards the achievement of objectives set by the management.

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Apart from individual characteristics, the environmental factors play an important role in driving employees’ creativity and innovation. If the work environment is structured in such a way that inhibits the impact of individual characteristics on creativity (Sharma & Jain, 2011, p. 5), it is likely that with time a worker will start feeling exhausted and become demotivated. Since the environment directly affects the way many think and behave, shaping an inclusive, flexible, and dynamic workplace can facilitate creativity and drive innovation. Of course, employees want to be generously rewarded for the work they are doing; however, if the corporate environment is too constraining and there is no room for creativity, no money will make sure that a worker retains his or her position (Sharma & Jain, 2011, p. 7).

Creating a positive work environment takes some planning as well as in-depth analysis of the present conditions; however, the basic principles can be divided into five categories, which are the following:

  • Understanding the main characteristic of a creative and positive work environment as well as how it impacts employees’ performance;
  • Improving the work environment through support, motivation, and clarity;
  • Strengthening communication with employees through careful listening, understanding, and constructive responding according to their needs (Management Sciences for Health, 2005, p. 51);
  • Sustaining the commitment of workers by exhibiting supportive attitudes and being a role-model;
  • Setting the tone for the organization at the highest levels (Management Sciences for Health, 2005, p. 51).

Effects of a Positive and Dynamic Work Climate

In order to create a dynamic work environment where employees will be happy to work, it is important to review the effect it has on the overall performance of an organization. First, a creative and dynamic work environment facilitates motivation of team members since they feel inspired to pursue their personal goals while bringing benefit to their organization. Second, the increased level of motivation among workers influences the improvement of their performance capabilities since they try to put extra effort into what they are doing. When staff feels inspired and motivated, they try to improve their performance to achieve the set objectives. Third, motivation and extra effort result in the improved operational performance of a company. As evidenced by the research conducted by Management Sciences for Health (2005), a positive work environment makes the staff feel excited, empowered, energized, overall satisfied with their job, and eager to get started (p. 53).

According to the study by Dul and Ceylan (2014), a creative and dynamic work environment facilitates the introduction of new products and services to the market (p. 1254). Furthermore, products and services created in a dynamic environment are much more likely to succeed in terms of sales. Thus, creativity-supporting organizational processes should be used in the Human Resource Management practices in order to enhance productivity and facilitate innovation in a company. It goes without saying that workers are much more likely to retain their positions if the products or services they develop achieve success (Dull & Ceylan, 2014, p. 1259).

Is Employee Satisfaction is Worth More Than Money?

Researchers have extensively studied the key reasons why employees leave their jobs. According to the survey conducted by VirginPulse (2015), sixty-six percent of respondents said that positive relationships with fellow co-workers directly impacted their satisfaction (p. 6). Fifty-three percent of respondents indicated that an interesting and challenging work was the number one reason why they loved their company and chose to retain their positions (VirginPulse, 2015, p. 2). As to the other part of respondents, thirty-eight percent said that the mission of the company was what kept them occupied and satisfied (VirginPulse, 2015, p. 2). If to apply some logic and look at these responses in a different light, more than a half of survey respondents recognize that if their jobs were not interesting, they would not have retained the positions regardless of income.

According to the same survey by VirginPulse (2015), it is not money that drives employees’ satisfaction and overall well-being (p. 6). Moreover, thirty-six percent of the survey respondents reported that they wanted their employers to pay more attention to mental health. Nineteen percent of respondents wanted social well-being to be a subject of interest for their employers (VirginPulse, 2015, p. 8). Such results of the survey prove that money can’t buy employee satisfaction and it is much more important for the management to facilitate the creation of a positive and dynamic work environment that will encourage motivation and increase the level of effort they put into work.

Concluding Remarks

To sum up the brief research on the effect of creative work environment on employee satisfaction and retention, it can be stated that generous work compensation cannot buy the staff’s satisfaction. Instead, to ensure high levels of employee retention, the HRM department of an organization should invest time, efforts, and funds into developing a creative, dynamic, and overall positive work environment that will motivate employees and improve their performance. It was concluded that the company’s management should understand the key components of a positive work environment and determine how they can affect the staff’s performance, the success of a developed product or service, as well as the levels of retention. Lastly, a good employer is the one who pays attention to employees’ key values, understands the importance of mental and social wellbeing, and is a role model for his or her workers.


Dul, J., & Ceylan, C. (2014). The impact of a creativity-supporting work environment on a firm’s product innovation performance. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 21(6), 1254-1267.

Management Sciences for Health. (2005). Improving work climate to strengthen performance. Web.

Sandhya, K., & Kumar, P. (2011). Employee retention by motivation. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, 4(12), 1778-1782.

Sharma, P., & Jain, C. (2011). Creativity at the workplace. Web.

VirginPulse. (2015). Labor of love: What employees love about work & ways to keep the spark alive. Web.

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