Motivating with More than Money

A lot of businesses motivate their employees with financial incentives. But are they as effective as they seem? TheĀ Harvard Business Review conducted a study on incentive pay and its correlation to employee satisfaction. It showed that, surprisingly, employees aren’t always motivated by money. At least, not long-term.

Employees can feel less commitment to the company and to its goals if their only incentive is money. This is in part because pay is not even throughout a company, and depends largely on status and position.

Tying benefits to the company’s profitability can backfire especially. This is because, though employees contribute to the company’s success, they can’t control all factors, especially if your business is struggling. Again, using profit-based compensation is uneven through a company and doesn’t always correspond to the amount of work being done.

You’ll need instead to create a strong company culture with constructive feedback and respect between you and employees. Here are our tips for motivating your employees with more than money.

Giving Direction

Your employees will want to understand how their day-to-day activities contribute to the company’s goals. No one likes to feel replaceable or unimportant. So show them how even their small tasks help the company run efficiently.

However, if you can’t find a reason to do these small tasks or a reason why an employee contributes to your company’s success, you might consider asking yourself if you need that position or task filled.

Use Verbal Recognition

When you talk to your employees, is it only to make small talk or to reprimand? Or do you offer praise as well? Verbal praise is important for motivating employees. This is especially true with millennials, who want plenty of feedback.

Offer specific praise and compliments when you do. Name what it is they did well, and how this helps the company specifically. This goes back to helping your employees understand how their day-to-day work drives the company’s goals.

Public recognition can also do a lot to motivate your employees. Bring up their accomplishments at meetings, whether through an announcement or with a certificate of some kind.

Hold Friendly Competitions

One great way to encourage your employees to get excited about a project or a new goal is to combine it with competition. Try to encourage your company to meet a goal or come up with a new product or process that betters your business. You can divide your employees up into teams or let them fly solo–whichever you feel will foster more enthusiasm. Of course, competition should come with a prize! Make sure it’s going to be worth the effort without draining away your newly-found success.

Motivate With Consequences

Some employees will tick differently than others. Different personalities motivate hard work with avoiding punishment, rather than chasing a reward. Make sure that you outline consequences for specific actions–or the lack thereof.

This is not to say you should use consequences alone. Carrots work best in tandem with a stick, but if you use a stick by itself, you may chase away employees just as fast as if you didn’t use any incentives.

 

How have you motivated your employees? What’s worked for you and your business? We’d love to hear your motivation tips.