Surprisingly, you’ll discover that money doesn’t always talk, or at least not out loud. Money was ranked No. 8 out of a list of 10. Input from more than 700 companies showed us that employees are more likely to want to give that extra 10% or more when they feel like they’re an important part of the corporate puzzle, when they feel what does matter.

What else beat money as a motivator? Good communication, appreciation, respect, good examples and role models, believing in the employee, recognizing progress and not demanding perfection.

Search the net and you will find many articles saying that money is a powerful motivator. Talk to the employees, though, and you’ll discover that money doesn’t always talk, or at least not out loud. Time and time again, sales organizations implement bonus structures that anyone should be able to achieve, and yet only a handful of people reach the highest levels. Typically, the same people who were on top before the new reward structure was announced end up on top afterwards as well.

Why don’t these potential prizes cause people to change their behavior and start producing more? Simply put, because rarely do companies also do something that effectively encourages their people to work harder or give them additional training to help them perform better. They also don’t give employees a reason that actually motivates them to work harder.

Input from more than 700 companies showed us that employees are more likely to want to give that extra 10% or more when they feel like they’re an important part of the corporate puzzle, when they feel like what they do matters.

For years, good managers have known that turnover rates are lower in companies where there is good communication throughout the organization, especially when people are aware of the direction the company is heading and why. But it goes beyond simply telling employees what’s coming up.

When managers can tell their staff members why a specific action or change is needed, and how their contribution will make a difference, then people are often up to the challenge. This is especially true when you can foster a sense of “team,” when people feel like they are working together toward a common goal.

As a noted author and speaker put it, “You can pay people to perform. You can’t pay them to excel.”

What are some of the other factors that motivate employees to go above and beyond?

1) We found a second common theme in the interviews: people at various levels of different types of organizations, from blue collar to white collar to no collar, felt more compelled to do their best when working for someone who a) appreciated what they were doing (and they expressed this appreciation with ease and sincerity) and b) stepped up.

The latter is especially important during critical periods. He said a factory foreman, “We got a rush order on a Friday afternoon to ship 1,000 expansion valves Monday morning for our best refrigeration customer. They had a fire and needed the valves to keep one of their best customers. Martin, the manager of the refrigeration plant, he called all together and we explained what was needed and why and he asked if we could do it. We said yes and he let them know they could say yes to their client. Which really got us all working 24/7 without worrying about who was supposed to be on shift or not, was Martin asking us before committing to the company.He then stayed with us all weekend, cheering us on and doing whatever it took to help, even working the line “.

Why did the employees accept the challenge? Martin did all the right things: he clearly explained what was needed and why, he created a “team working together” environment and went out of his way to help. He was part of the solution. Perhaps most importantly, he showed his employees true respect by asking if they would and could help.

2) Respect and appreciation are integral to any strong relationship and key to maximum performance. According to the employees we spoke to, many managers understand the importance of respect, but fall short when it comes to recognizing the efforts of their employees and peers. Over and over again, respondents told us that a lack of appreciation made them look for a new job. Research by others supports this. According to Dr. Zimmerman, “Compensation is a right, but praise is a gift.” And without the gifts, the party isn’t so much fun, is it?

3) Acknowledging progress was also high on the list; this is particularly true when a major project is underway. When leaders divide a job into milestone sections, rewarding and acknowledging each goal as it is accomplished, employees become more motivated to reach the next milestones and complete the task. It is clear that it is also important that employees are recognized for their personal progress. Whether it’s doing a better job turning in reports on time or doing well in a training course, employees like to feel that their extra work (or renewed efforts) is being noticed and that their improved performance is making a difference.

4) Another key point to keep in mind is that the more you believe in others (kids, employees, whoever), the more they will do to prove you right.

5) Demanding perfection is demoralizing. Rewarding progress does indeed produce good results.

So if these were the top 5 reasons employees gave for being motivated to do a task, where did the money come into play? It was 8 out of 10, but the employees will also tell you that this does not mean the bonuses should be removed!