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9 Non-Monetary Ways to Motivate Employees

Posted by Michelle Kratzer on Oct 18, 2018 9:30:00 AM
Michelle Kratzer

Would it shock you to learn that the yearly cost in lost productivity from disengaged employees is estimated at $960 billion - $1.2 trillion per year? Ouch! Stop the bleeding!

Since we know as employers that our most important resource is our people, we can safely infer that stoking the fire of motivation is our highest calling.

Treasure people - your most important resource.

However, if the first thing that comes to your mind regarding employee motivation is money, you’re on the wrong track. More money, bigger bonuses, and higher salaries do have a place in employee motivation, but more potent motivators are out there.

Want to find them? Look beyond the dollars and take these non-monetary incentives into consideration:


9 Non-Monetary Ways to Motivate Employees
  1. Flexible hours: Help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance by allowing them some freedom regarding their work hours. This gives them time to attend to family needs, personal obligations, and life responsibilities. It also grants them the opportunity to work the hours that they are most productive and to avoid heavy traffic commuting to and from work.
  2. Perks: If you’ve tuned in to HBO’s hit show Silicon Valley, you have seen tech companies go berserk wooing the most coveted employees with outlandish perks like nap pods, ski trips, arcade gaming systems, onsite massages, pet insurance -- the list goes on and on. The most powerful perks are those that only your company can provide. Nordstrom offers generous employee discounts, In-n-Out offers free burger meals, Starbucks offers free coffee. It doesn’t need to be as generous as Chesapeake Energy Core's $1,000/year "Living Well" program or Deloitte’s employee sabbaticals. For example, if you want to motivate employees and change the world, copy Airbnb and Salesforce  and pay your employees a full day’s wage to volunteer for a nonprofit.
  3. Assist them in mastering new skills: Everyone wants to get better at what they do. Offer training via Internet, Intranet, and Webinars. Invite employees to learn new skills by shadowing coworkers. Provide mentors and coaches. Lay out multiple ways for employees to learn new things and continue to grow their skill set. Meet regularly to encourage them in this endeavor and share how they’ve progressed.
  4. Make it a game: If your employees are seemingly impossible to motivate, entice them with a bit of rivalry. Friendly competition, along with fun prizes make us all work a little harder or do things a little faster. Keep it fun, though. No pitting co-workers against each other!
  5. Granting Employees Autonomy: Daniel Pink, author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” found that having control over their own work is one of the 3 major motivators for employees. Instead of being a “helicopter boss,” give your employees the chance to make decisions.
  6. Recognition: Did you know that 78% of employees said recognition is their main motivating factor? But - why would you heap praise on someone just for doing their job? The need for recognition is built into our human psyche. Recognition of accomplishments satisfies our need to belong as contributing members of a community. An amazing 8/10 employees would rather receive acknowledgement of a job well done than receive money. This can be accomplished in several different ways. Keep a box of thank you notes at your desk so that if the need arises, a deserving employee can get a personalized note from the boss. Schedule a weekly meeting to review team wins (make sure to include snacks). Display the week or month’s accomplishments on a white board, where all of the coworkers can see.
  7. Involve your employees in the incentive process: If you aren’t sure what will motivate your team, just ask them what rewards interest them. Get their input through surveys, brainstorming sessions, a suggestion box, or questions during employee reviews. Asking employees their opinions pays back generously. It communicates your belief that their individual needs are important, fostering a sense of ownership in the process. This causes employees to start to feel empowered and invested in your company.
  8. Career Development: Ask employees about their long-term and short-term goals, and help steer them in the right direction. Record the goals and their progression in a performance development plan. Employees whose managers involve them in goal setting are 3.6x more likely than other employees to be engaged.
  9. Showcase your employee’s unique skills: If you have an amateur artist, writer, software developer, etc., allow them to assist professionals in those roles using their unique skills. This is a win for everyone. It gives the employee a fun chance to shine in a new area and it gives the professional some assistance in getting a project out the door. Set clear guidelines for the amateur, and give the professional approval power. If all expectations are agreed on before the project, this can be a great motivator and engagement tool for employees.

Basically, the bottom line is -- treasure your employees. They are your most important resource. They want to be paid well, but they need other things to keep them motivated and engaged. Hopefully this list gives you some ideas to help make that happen.

Don’t forget what Simon Sinek, leadership guru and famed author of "Start With Why," taught us:

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

Need some help uncovering the specifics of what will really motivate your team? Call the CX team at SurveyMe. We will create a strategic plan together that will get you all of the insight into employees you need. 

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Topics: Business & Marketing, Employee Engagement

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