Most when asked this question would usually say it could be money, safety, security or pressure that drives employees at work.
When a wide ranging study of employee motivation was conducted by Professor Teresa Amabile from Harvard Business School and Psychologist Steven Kramer, they discovered that 95% of Managers when asked got the answer wrong.
Amabile and Kramer call the most important motivator for employees at work was"the power of small wins"
Employees are highly productive and driven to do their best work when they feel that are making progress every day toward a meaningful goal.
Psychologist Susan David also discovered in her study into what made highly engaged employees so engaged and excited about their work. Results showed that 96% didnt mention pay but rather these highly engaged employees highlighted "feeling autonomous and empowered and a sense of belonging on their teams""
So whats the best way organisations and managers at all levels can motivate staff,
Give them Autonomy (over Time, Task and Techniques for their job), and
Ensure they feel they belong