As a manager, you might think that money is the best motivator for your employees. However, studies have shown that employees are not primarily motivated by monetary incentives. Instead, intrinsic motivators like recognition, flexible work time, growth, and advancement are much more effective in motivating people. The good news is that these intrinsic motivators are low cost, which means that you don’t need to break the bank to motivate your team. Below are ten pieces of advice on how to inspire your staff without relying on money.
1. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose
According to Daniel Pink, author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” there are three things that motivate people: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
Autonomy refers to the desire people have to have control over their own work. As a manager, you can give your employees more control by allowing them to make decisions, such as choosing the topic for weekly meetings or selecting the snacks that will be present.
Mastery refers to the desire people have to get better at what they do. As a manager, you can provide opportunities for your employees to develop their skills by giving them constructive feedback, providing performance metrics, and creating individual development plans.
Purpose refers to the desire people have to be part of something bigger than themselves. As a manager, you can help your employees feel connected to the business by showing them how their work has benefited the company and aligning their work with their values.
2. Offer specific and sincere praise.
Recognizing and praising your employees is a powerful motivator. However, it’s important to be specific and sincere in your praise. Rather than just saying “good job,” you should acknowledge tangible accomplishments by looking at specific metrics, such as sales volume, contracts won, customers retained, or profitability. By quantifying accomplishments, you show your employees that their work is valued and appreciated.
3. Develop a community.
Building a sense of community among your employees is a great way to motivate them. By creating a supportive environment, your employees will feel connected to each other and to the business. You can use online forums to facilitate communication, but it’s important to also encourage in-person interaction. Encourage your team to eat lunch together, play games during breaks, and celebrate milestones with parties or conferences. By inviting employees and their families to company picnics, you create a sense of community that extends beyond work hours.
4. Engage your employees in the incentive process.
The first step in motivating your employees is to understand what drives them. What do they want? What do they need? Ask them! One of the most effective ways to gather employee feedback is through surveys, brainstorming sessions, suggestion boxes, or questions during employee reviews. Once you’ve gathered this information, you can create clear goals for your team to strive for. Not only will this increase your business’ bottom line, but it also communicates the value of employee contributions. This alone should motivate them to participate in the incentive program.
5. Get to know them as people.
Building personal relationships with your employees is essential. When you understand what makes your employees tick, you can create a work environment that accommodates their needs. For example, if an employee doesn’t like working late because of their dog, consider allowing them to bring their pet to work. When you show genuine interest in your employees, they’ll do their best not to let you down.
6. Offer flexibility.
One of the best ways to motivate your employees is by offering flexibility. This includes flexible work schedules, the ability to work from home, and time off when they need it. Offering flexible work schedules allows your employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It lets them meet family needs, personal obligations, and life responsibilities. Additionally, it reduces stress and gives them a chance to work when they’re most productive.
7. Stay connected.
Frequently keeping in touch with your employees is essential. With the proliferation of email, texting, social media, and apps like Slack, communication has never been easier. Staying connected with your team allows you to offer training and tips that can improve their work. It also lets you share relevant and timely information like the latest updates on the business. Just be sure not to cross the line by communicating with them 24/7.
8. Provide perks and privileges
Creating a positive work environment is essential to keeping your employees motivated. One way to do this is by offering perks and privileges. This can include flexible schedules, work-from-home days, preferred parking spots, longer lunches, or allowing them to work on passion projects. When employees enjoy their work, they are more productive, which is great for your bottom line.
9. Volunteer together
Volunteering is a great way to bring your team together and improve their motivation. It not only promotes cooperation but also helps to attract and retain employees. When selecting volunteer opportunities, consider what your employees are passionate about. Surveying them can be a great way to find out.
10. Offer the opportunity for employees to learn desired skills
People often become unmotivated when they perform the same tasks day in and day out. Offering your employees the chance to learn new skills can be a simple way to enhance their job satisfaction, improve output, and increase their abilities that they can use to improve your business. Rewarding exceptional employees with time during the workday to learn any new skills that interest them is a great way to accomplish this.