Many companies believe that money is the key to motivation, but while cash will always be a great motivator, there are a variety of things that a business can do during difficult economic times to keep their employees positively engaged at work. In fact, studies show that soft benefits, or non-financial incentive programs, are directly responsible for increased productivity among employees and can help boost company profit by up to 20 percent.
Aside from better compensation, employees are looking for and appreciate the following motivational incentives in their work life: opportunities for advancement, flexibility, frequent recognition of accomplishments, and greater involvement within the company. Here are 12 ideas on how to put these incentives into action and encourage motivation in your employees without breaking the bank.
Opportunities for advancement:
- Cross-train employees and set-up informal mentorships between senior and entry-level workers.
- Assign new, more challenging job assignments to encourage growth and show confidence in your employee’s abilities.
- Look into free or low-cost training and education programs offered around the community.
- Develop a flextime program or establish remote work options and offer this benefit to employees who meet your requirements.
- If applicable, assign work schedules more than a week in advance so employees have plenty of time to plan ahead.
- Consider the occasional family or personal day, allowing employees to take a day off without having to use up vacation or sick time.
Recognition of accomplishments:
- Publicize accomplishments by recognizing employees during staff or departmental meetings.
- Pay attention to the work that employees are doing and give clear and positive feedback whenever possible.
- Offer employees meaningful tokens of appreciation for their achievements, such as handwritten notes or small gifts. Remember to be creative, there are many ways to say “thank you.”
- Encourage employees to give their ideas and suggestions and take all comments seriously. Let your staff know you are interested in their opinions by being a good listener.
- Assign group projects to help generate a team environment and a greater sense of responsibility.
- Organize company social gatherings both in and out of the workplace. Ask for volunteers to help with planning.