Apple Learns a Lesson About Rewards

I say most things repeatedly - sometimes because of a new audience, sometimes because repetition helps retention, and sometimes because people just don't believe me.

Here is an example: money is not your best reward for people. I know you think it is, but it isn't. Once people pass a certain threshold, money is not a motivator.

Perfect example of this comes from Apple. They saw the Great Resignation happening at other companies and wanted to make sure they didn't lose their talent. Being a company flush with cash, they decided to throw some of it around. They gave their technical personnel bonuses, large bonuses. Depending on the person, they gave somewhere between $50,000 and $180,000.

That has to be enough to motivate and show appreciation, right? Guess where I'm going with this.

It had the exact opposite effect. People appreciated the bonuses, but they also saw it as a sign of disrespect. Those who got $50,000 felt under appreciated because they got the lowest amount. They started to leave to go somewhere they could feel appreciated. It led to hard feelings between managers and employees.

I could make the argument that the employees were wrong because they were treated generously. But that misses the point. When a company thinks that money is the motivator, then they need to realize that employees will gauge how you feel about them in a very numeric way.

Imagine if the company would have done something different to keep the talent. I'm not sure what - remember, managers need to get to know their team so they can figure out how to reward them.

A huge amount of money didn't do the trick. Maybe people will start to listen to me now.