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20 ways to motivate your employees without raising their pay

By: Dave Worman, Dr. Motivation

It is a costly mistake to get lost in the false theory that more money equals happy employees. Believing this is costing you valuable time, revenue, employees...and even threatening your own job. Cash will always be a major factor in motivating people and a solid compensation plan is critical to attracting and keeping key personnel. But the key is that additional cash is not always the only answer and in many cases not even the best answer. Too many bonus or commission checks get cashed, spent and forgotten just that quickly. Grocery stores and gasoline stations are among the necessary stops that seem to get in the way of using your extra cash on something special for you. One alternative to giving commissions or bonus dollars is to give gifts through a catalog point system. The company you choose will provide you with catalogs, price sheets and point checks at no charge. The structure for your bonus plan can remain the same but instead of awarding cash to your employees you award equivalent points. Those points may then be used to purchase an enormous variety of gifts or travel plans from the catalog. The stimulation involved is long-lasting. It begins with the employee being able to browse the catalog choosing what they will strive to earn. The catalog acts as a tangible reminder of their goal. The gift itself will last as evidence of their achievements. Whenever I have implemented this program, the employees are overwhelmingly in favor of the point system as opposed to cash. This type of program is very popular with employees because they purchase things they would never normally have the "money" to afford. With solid compensation in place, let's look at non-monetary motivation...20 steps to success. 1. Recognition/Attention. When your employees accomplish something they have achieved something. Your recognition is appreciation for that achievement. I believe that most managers don't give enough recognition because they don't get enough. Therefore, it doesn't come natural to do it. If this applies to you, you need to drop this excuse like a bad habit! Become a giver! Look at the price. Recognition is free! 2. Applause. A form of recognition yes, but a very specific form. Physically applaud your people by giving them a round of applause for specific achievements. Where? When? The answer is wherever and whenever. At meetings or company-sponsored social gatherings, a luncheon, or in the office. At the end of a shift, before a shift, and whenever possible in the middle of a shift. Using plaques or trophies is another effective way of applauding your people. Although "wooden applause" is often successfully used in the form of Employee of the Month plaques, more creative ideas are sorely underutilized. Take the time to be creative, matching special accomplishments with unique awards. 3. One-on-One Coaching. Coaching is employee development. Your only cost is time. Time means you care. And remember your people don't care how much you know... until they know how much you care. Whenever the emphasis is on positive feedback, I make sure to do this coaching in "public." Whenever you recognize and encourage people in "public," it acts as a natural stimulant for others who are close enough to see or hear what's taking place. 4. Training. Is training ever finished? Can you possibly overtrain? NO and NO. For whatever reasons, too many people feel "My people have already been trained" or "I've got good people...they only need a little training." But training never ends. Schedule "tune- up" training sessions. These should be led by you or by a supervisor with help from specific employees who show a particular strength in the skills taught. I know this takes time, but these types of training sessions will continually enhance the performance of your people and the productivity of your business.

. what opportunities there are for growth. Career Path.. Be creative as you think of possibilities for titles. How someone feels about the way they are perceived in the workforce is a critical component to overall attitude and morale. This too is associated with recognition but the key here is timing. 6. briefing the other employees regarding seminar content and highlights. When running contests in your area. When you talk about job titles you are tapping the self-esteem of people. The subject of work inevitably comes up. Most people are stimulated by leadership roles even in spot appearances. Do you promote from within? I hope you can answer yes to that. assign a meeting leader after someone has attended an outside seminar or workshop. Have your employees help you lead a project team to improve internal processes.. Have them lead a post show. A great place to hand out leadership roles is to allow your people to lead brief meetings. Team Spirit. Employers felt "working conditions" was a nine (or next to last) in terms of importance.and pride enhances a positive attitude. 7. Praise people when the achievement is fresh on everyone's mind.. A recent industry study shows just how inaccurate your results can be. you are dealing with pride. Picture a social gathering that includes some of your staff.praise them promptly for what they accomplished or achieved! Don't allow time to creep in and snatch away any ounce of the positive impact that praise can have when it is delivered promptly. or embarrassed. when visitors come to your workplace use this opportunity to allow an employee to take the role of visitors guide. Will your people be proud. Job Titles.5. This issue is a sometimes forgotten ingredient as to the importance it plays in the overall motivation of people. does your office look nice? Are there pictures on the walls. People driving to reach goals together definitely enhance team spirit solely because they must lean upon others and be prepared to be leaned on. chair comfortable? Is there file space and do they have the miscellaneous office supplies needed for maximum performance? Is the temperature regulated properly so they don't feel they're in the Amazon jungle one minute and the North Pole the next? 8. Have a picture taken on your entire staff (including you!). Cosmetically.and a positive attitude is the foundation for continuing success. plants and fresh paint among other features that generally make people feel good about their environment? Does their work space have enough room or are they cramped in a "sardine can?" What about furniture? Is the desk the right size. When there is a reason for praising someone don't put it off for any reason! Promptness equals effectiveness.. Leadership Roles. try to create contests and affiliated activity that are team driven. For example. What is effective is for us to get off our keisters and go out and tell whoever it is what a great presentation it was or applaud them for the sale. Give your people leadership roles to reward their performance and also to help you identify future promotable people. Set career paths within your organization. Employers were asked to rank what they thought motivated their people and then employees were asked to rank what really did motivate them. Or. . If you do this you are sending a very positive message to every one that there are indeed further career opportunities within your organization. Bottom line. have it enlarged and hang it in a visible spot. Your employees need to know what is potentially ahead for them. to share their title and workplace? The importance of feeling proud of who you are and what you do is monumental. The best time to do this is when new people start. Most people like to physically see themselves as part of a group or team. On-the-Spot Praise. 9. Although specific circumstances require you to look for talent outside your company you should always first consider internal personnel. 10. Good Work Environment.. What did the employees say? Number two! Working conditions are very important to the way employees feel about where they work. Utilize your employees' strengths and skills by setting up "tune up" training sessions and let one of your employees lead the training. Have your staff come up with ideas giving them input into the titles.

do it as a team. If this is used too often the value is diminished. Halloween costume parties. Make this reference material available to your people. Be as flexible as you can with breaks during the course of the day.. For those required to "dress business" every day a casual day becomes a popular desire. have an executive either personally call to congratulate someone (or a group) or even show up in person to shake hands and express his or her appreciation. without a doubt. Each of these ideas (such as TEAM: Total Enthusiasm of All Members or There is no I in Team) is placed on a wall. So that production time is not lost. you might consider having a brown bag luncheon with a guest speaker on this subject. Scheduled offsite events enhance bonding which in turn helps team spirit. And in many cases. Because outside seminars are not always cost efficient for most people. Announce a casual dress day for the following work day "just because. late arrivals. Stress Management. consider on-site seminars or workshops for your staff. Put goals in place (padded of course) and when these goals are reached by individuals." Use individual or team casual dress days as contest prizes or awards for specific accomplishment. Outside seminars are a stimulating break. groups going putt-putt golfing or movie madness. they've helped maintain positive environments that have reduced employee turnover by 400%. Then set up a structured plan for those seminar attendees to briefly recreate the seminar to the rest of your people when they return. My favorite is using the '50s and '60s as a theme for a contest that I run at least once a year. Allow early dismissals. Executive Recognition. Spontaneous casual days produce a lot or stimulation based on the element of surprise. All employees are responsible for submitting a phrase referring to TEAM on a weekly rotation. provide the largest opportunity for a wide variety of contests. and extended lunch periods or additional breaks. There are definitely employees in your organization who are begging for and can handle additional responsibility. Outside Seminars. Time Off. creating a collage of Team-oriented phrases. But equally as important. and logo wear. or black and orange prior to Halloween. teams or the entire staff. picnics on July 4th. Holidays. anytime is a good time for a seminar like this to take place. Sports. Use holidays to create theme color casual days such as red and green before Christmas or red. Overall the most successful contests seem to be those affiliated with different themes. 11.. Establish pre-vacation casual days for each individual employee to enjoy on the day before his or her vacation. depending on staff size). Our job as managers is to identify who they are and if possible match responsibilities to their strengths and desires. I have had people pick time off over cash when given the choice. This is the secret weapon. . reward them with time off. Some others that I've used with equal success are softball games (against other companies or among employees. This will add to the impact you're trying to have by calling a casual day in the first place. To add yet another level of stimulation. Casual Dress Day. Theme Contests. Additional Responsibility. sports and culture are examples of ideas to base contests on. Memorial Day or Labor Day. Even Culture can be used to create theme contest. 16. Social Gatherings. Some of the same vehicles can be used here such as memos and voice mail. timing is most critical. And if it is used only for special occasions and rare achievements the value is escalated. That will go up a few notches when it comes from an executive. People will compete for 15 minutes or 1/2 hour off just as hard as they will for a cash award. 12. Now everyone gets educated for the price of one. Use outside seminars as a contest prize for one or two people. buttons. 17. white and blue before July 4th. This will apply more to the Business-to-Business world based on the difference in normal dress codes from the Business-to-Consumer arena. have an in-house seminar on stress management techniques. 14. There are many articles and books available on the subject. anniversaries. and Christmas parties are only some of the ideas that successfully bring people together for an enjoyable time. 15.One very effective idea for me has been building a collage of creative ideas with the "Team" theme. We talked earlier about general recognition and the positive impact that has on your people. Major sports events are a perfect opportunity for casual days to support your local or favorite team with appropriate colors. Over the years my contests have produced up to 170% increase in performance. 18. If possible. Because stress is an ongoing concern. And like any secret weapon. 13. Don't have one person responsible for this. Make sure they know it is available and encourage them to use it. which ultimately impacts your positive work environment. Implement contests that earn time off.

T. picnics. 8. 3. Employees motivated by "family" value family events. time off to spend with them. theater tickets. finding ways to improve processes. creating new jobs in a plant or office's new location) . 20. for out-of-this-world performance. Employees motivated by "principles" value opportunities to use their talents and abilities in a meaningful way (seeing the results of their work improve working conditions for them and others. 5. pot-luck events. our company against their company. 11. Employees motivated by "spouse/partner" value extra money they can spend on their partner. and going. 9. The Eveready Bunny for those that keep going. other get-togethers). special parking place). allowing them to express their own creativity). They should be recognized as status symbols in your environment. Cardboard stars for star-studded performances. Employees motivated by "church" value money if it supports their church and/or family activities. California raisins for those with the highest percentage of "raisin" their productivity. fancy desk. or cookie days will help break up that everyday routine and help people stay motivated. Employees motivated by "money" value cash incentives. Because it is a natural tendency for people to get excited in anticipation of something. 4-day weeks. The key to awards is establishing the perception of priceless value that is associated with them. Every now and then pizza. 1. Special Mountain Dew can for that person who exemplifies the "can do" attitude. 6. Employees motivated by "self" value incentives that give them freedom of expression and self-development (allowing them to be part of the team creating a change program. or incentives such as dinners or vacations. becoming #1). 7. Use different gimmicks as awards to help inspire performance increases from your people. bonuses or pay raises. commissions. 2. working with company-sponsored community programs. Special parking space for the person who drives the hardest.19. Plastic phonograph records for setting a new record. Large Tootsie Roll replica for those on a "roll. 10. and going. 4. company picnics or time with their family. Toy cymbals for those "symbolizing" total effort. structure some of these days in advance. A figurine of E. Employees motivated by "enemies" value the challenges associated with competition and winning (Blue team vs. Gags and Gimmicks. Employees motivated by "friends" value social incentives (parties. Pizza/Popcorn/Cookie Days. Employees motivated by "possessions" value status symbols (corner office. Pillsbury dough boy for the person raisin' the most bread. Employees motivated by "work" value doing a good job and receiving recognition. Then buy some pizzas or different cookies or even whip out some different types of popcorn. popcorn. Gold team. Employees motivated by "pleasure" value "fun" incentives (tickets to Disneyland or local entertainment)." A drum for the person that "drums" up the most business. Here are some of my ideas: y y y y y y y y y y y y Plastic/rubber whale for "whale" of a performance. public awards. They will be motivated by incentives that fit with their beliefs or their faith.

if a team composed of many people with a need for self-development/freedom is headed by a manager with a deep need to control employees. companies should consider developing incentives that satisfy several motivations. the team will not function at its optimum capacity. For example. When management takes the time to understand the motivating factor of employees and bases rewards on appropriate factors. The opposite of positive incentive is negative incentive. everyone works more productively. . rather than a single incentive program directed to only one area.In order to encourage maximum employee participation.