How to Motivate Your Employees Beyond Money
By Mark Evans
You’re a small organization but you don’t have a lot of money to throw around.
So when you want to hire, retain and motivate the best employees, you need to reward them in ways that go beyond money.
It’s possible. In fact, some research indicates that financial perks lead to short-term gains — but staff who are paid decent salaries (and you do have to do this) stay engaged with their employer long term when rewarded in non-financial ways.
Here are some approaches that are proven to work:
Praise: Avoid general comments such as “Great work!” Instead, be specific about what an employee has done or offers. These kinds of comments offer valuable feedback. If a staff member knows they are doing right, they’ll keep doing it. Vague praise leads to short-term warm and fuzzy feelings, but that’s it.
Responsibility: What employees really want is to move up and be part of the action. Giving people who do well a leadership role on an important project or asking them to attend key meetings is a huge motivator to stay engaged in the company. When the company succeeds, the players who were part of that success will revel in it.
Respect: Companies with a great workplace climate retain people longer. Foster respect, kindness and understanding at all levels of your company and no one will want to leave. That begins with great leadership that uses praise and encouragement to get results.
Flexibility and control: Not every company can offer flex time and let people work from home. But most organizations can let staff determine their own start and end time (even if it’s just half an hour off from the rest of the team). Just as important, they can offer flexibility in terms of how someone does their work.
Everyone has their own working and learning style. When you respect that others like to follow slightly different protocol in everything from when they answer emails to how they run meetings, you’ll get better results from that person.
Engagement: Spending one-on-one time with employees provides a more meaningful reward than you might think. When staff gets feedback direct from the top and when they feel leadership is listening to them, it makes them truly feel a part of what’s going on.