More than Money: 7 Ways to Motivate Your Employees
Today most business leaders understand you can’t buy employee engagement or improve satisfaction with a higher salary, a better bonus, or fancy perks. In fact, research indicates that the relationship between the money an employee makes and their level of job satisfaction is relatively weak.
Of course no one wants to work for free; however, assuming that an employee can fulfill their financial responsibilities with their current wage, there are other ways you can motivate them, meet their needs, and keep them engaged:
1. Create a strong company culture. Your vision, values, language, assumptions, and habits all make up your workplace culture. It’s the personality that lives within the four walls of your business. A healthy culture motivates employees to perform, stay engaged, and deliver results because they’re invested and know they have a role in keeping that culture alive.
2. Deliver recognition. Say thank you. Whether you make a formal award, send a handwritten note, or publicly express your gratitude during a staff meeting, tell your employees that you recognize the contributions they’re making. When you genuinely show your appreciation, you’re building trust with an employee that will inspire and motivate them in a much deeper way than money ever could.
3. Promote job autonomy. Micromanaging does not motivate people—allowing them to carry out their work as they see fit does. If you hire the right employees and train them, you should trust that they have the needed skills to be effective. Employees may not do things in the same way as you, but if you allow them the space to perform, it’s more likely they will not only meet expectations, but be motivated to exceed them.
4. Establish clear goals. When people say they want to lose “some” weight, it rarely happens. When people say they want to lose 10 pounds in one month, they have a goal that motivates them. Work performance is no different: establish clear goals and most employees will have the intrinsic motivation to achieve them.
5. Select skilled managers. You’ve heard it a thousand times because it’s true: employees don’t leave a job; they leave managers. When you promote high performers to management, make sure they have the skills and abilities required to motivate and inspire others. What made someone a great salesperson will not automatically make them a great sales manager. Provide training and mentorship to get them where they need to be when it comes to effectively managing people.
6. Provide flexible work options. Technology has made remote work a reality for many employees and it’s an engagement driver—especially for millennials. Providing flexible work options (part-time positions, job-shares, varied schedules, etc.) demonstrates that you value employees not only as part of your workforce, but also as people who have interests and responsibilities outside of work. Flexible work options are what keep many employees engaged and motivated to stay with an employer for more years than they originally intended.
7. Promote teamwork. Working together to meet goals and achieve results motivates people. It’s exhilarating and exciting to be part of a good team. Make sure your culture and management practices support and promote a team environment.
The bottom line is if you know you’re paying your employees a fair and equitable wage, don’t waste a lot of time worrying about motivating them with more money. When you motivate your employees with a more creative approach—that’s directly tied to the unique value they bring to the organization—you create a powerful connection that’s much stronger than your contributions to their bank account.