Ask just about any employee out there, and he or she will probably tell you that earning more money is preferable to earning less money. But believe it or not, money isn't necessarily the biggest driver among today's workers. In fact, almost twice as many employees would rather have more meaningful work than an actual raise. Specifically, 61% of workers say they're inclined to ask their bosses for tasks that are more engaging, while 34% are inclined to request salary boosts, according to a survey by cloud computing company ServiceNow.

Whether you're tasked with running a business or managing a team, it pays to invest some time into seeing how motivated your workers are, and what steps you can take to improve their day-to-day functions at the office. It could spell the difference between retaining key talent and losing your most valuable players.

Professionally dressed woman on phone in an office, holding her head with bored expression.


Ignite that spark

Offering nice perks and decent salaries apparently isn't enough for today's workforce. Employees want to feel like they're doing something worthwhile with their time, and when they don't, it can easily impact their morale and productivity. In the aforementioned survey, workers say they spend 40% of their time on mundane tasks that don't have a direct impact on their core job goals. In other words, employees largely feel like they spend a big chunk of their days wasting time and not adding value. One-third of workers, meanwhile, routinely feel frustrated that they're not living up to their capabilities.

The solution? Help employees feel better about the work they do by helping them maximize their potential.

You can start by opening an ongoing feedback loop that allows workers to comfortably share their thoughts and concerns. Hold weekly team meetings and encourage employees to discuss their job-related frustrations in a nonjudgmental forum. Better yet, carve out time for weekly one-on-ones with your direct reports so that they can share their challenges privately.

At the same time, take steps to automate your company's more mundane tasks so that workers aren't as burdened with them. For example, if you have marketing analysts who spend much of their days transcribing data, invest in software that neatly packages up that information for you. Similarly, if you have a customer service department that's frustrated by having to manually log and track orders, invest in tools that make for a more streamlined process so that your workers can spend their time interacting with clients and resolving more pressing issues.

By listening to your workers and investing in some technology or automation, you might prevent a host of employees from jumping ship in the coming months. Remember, in today's healthy economy, it's easier than ever for disgruntled workers to find homes (and paychecks) elsewhere. By making it possible for your employees to do more meaningful work, you might prevent that from happening -- and at a cost that's far less expensive than what a companywide raise would entail.