7 Easy (And Cheap) Ways to Motivate Your Employees

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7 Easy (And Cheap) Ways to Motivate Your Employees

It’s tough out there right now and many managers have gone through layoffs and pay freezes within their departments. In many cases, employee morale is at an all-time low. While you may not be able to use money as a motivator, there are several inexpensive (and sometimes free) ways to motivate staff.

1. Communicate! In virtually every study ever done managers rate themselves as good communicators, however in those same studies employees rate their managers as poor communicators. You cannot focus on this subject enough. Poor communication only leads to distrust and fear – both of which do not lead to happy, motivated and productive employees. There are always things managers cannot communicate to employees, however whenever possible you should communicate what you can. Even bad news is better communicated than not. Most likely, they will know something is amiss and it will become worse by their speculation and more importantly, it will cause them to distrust you. In addition, communicating work assignments and projects clearly increases morale. Employees are always more productive when they know exactly what’s expected of them.

2. Praise. The key to praise is to give it immediately. If you see an employee doing something right or well, let them know right away. And even better, praise them when others are around. This is good for the employee and good for others to see. Praise always brings good vibes in the workplace. While you need to find good work to praise, try to target even mediocre employees. Find something they are doing right and praise it. This will motivate them to excel. Lastly, make sure you don’t leave anyone out. Missing someone could cause jealousy and negative feelings.

3. Recognition. This is an extension of praise but takes things a step further. Recognition in a company newsletter or with a plaque can go a really long way. It also inspires good natured competition among employees. You could even get creative and personalize the awards. For instance, make up a name for the award that uses the company name or slogan. (If you are the Williams company, you could name the award the “Willy”) You could even give an effort award trophy with a runner or weight lifter on it. All this costs almost nothing, but is amazingly effective.

4. Have a party or social event. You could have a costume party near Halloween or a Valentine’s Day party during the last hour of the work day on a Friday. It doesn’t matter. These types of events bring people together and promote a team feeling of togetherness. The power of these events will surprise you. People are happy and more productive when they feel part of a team and like the people they work with. These events are also great stress-relievers. Schedule one today!

5. Job title. In the TV show The Office, Dwight Shrute takes great pride in his title “Assistant Regional Manager” when the title actually is “Assistant to the Regional Manager”. His office mate, Jim, constantly corrects him and brings him down to size. Funny, yes, but it emphasizes a greater point – people take great pride in their job and the title can be a source of self-esteem. This little change in the language of the job title means a lot to Dwight and doesn’t affect the organization at all. Why not take a little time and re-name everyone’s job title with their input. It will make them feel good and it will cost the company very little.

6. Ask for your employee’s input. It will make them feel involved and who doesn’t feel more inspired when they are part of something? Have meetings and ask for input on everything. Meet with employees one on one and ask for their feedback there as well. The more employees feel involved with their companies and their job, the more motivated they will be. Plus, you will have the added benefit of many minds working together to make your department more efficient. Who knows, maybe the best idea will come from somewhere you least expected.

7. Rewards. Rewards don’t have to be monetary. Maybe the highest sales for the week gets a gift certificate to a local restaurant or maybe the employee with the best work performance for the month gets to take a Friday afternoon off. Both of these scenarios cost a company very little but when people are competing, work performance will go up. Maybe if the whole department meets their goals, you could order pizza and cake for lunch. All of these things help break up the monotony of the day-to-day grind and every employee needs that. Even you.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of motivational training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of motivational programs such as Celebrate What’s Right with the World and Give em the Pickle.

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