Managers who understand what motivates each of their employees can not only save money, but they can improve morale. Offering incentives for a job well done can generate great return on investment, unless that incentive is of little interest to the employee. According to an article in Manage Smarter, when rewards don't match the needs of individual workers, they are a waste of money.

A recent study from St. Louis-based Maritz Research found that there are six distinct worker groups and identified exactly how they prefer to be rewarded by employers.

Award Seekers — This group of people are motivated by monetary items such as trips and gift cards. These employees are typically female and younger workers.

Nesters — These workers value their home life and rewarding them with time off will mean the most to them.

Bottom Liners — This group has little interest in public recognition for work well done. Instead, they want to see tangible rewards such as cash bonuses or points programs.

Freedom Yearners — These people traditionally make more money to begin with, and therefore have little interest in monetary recognition. Instead, keep them motivated with flexible scheduling and the opportunity to choose upcoming challenging projects.

Praise Cravers — All this group wants is to be recognized, whether it is written or verbal, public or private.

Upward Movers — These workers are typically young and highly engaged and are anxious to move up within an organization. Rewarding them with anything that would further their career would keep them motivated.

To read more about what drives certain groups of people, click here.