Ten Ways to Motivate Employees Using Little or No Cash

Motivating people without monetary incentives is one of the most challenging functions of management. There comes a point in every situation where increasing salaries and other forms of pay, will not bring sufficient improvement to justify the expense. It may also be that you are prevented from granting cash benefits because of policy or budget constraints.
You are tapping only a portion of your employee’s capabilities if they are not motivated. Assuming that your wages are already competitive, it is management’s responsibility to find other was of motivating you. Fortunately, there are plenty:
Disrupt the monotony. Sometimes there is nothing seriously wrong with the work except that it has become too boring. Take every opportunity to inject energy into the work place by having activities that perk up the mood.
Give due recognition. Besides the traditional perks and awards given for seniority, there are many other achievements you should recognize. The rewards need not be cash, but a token of appreciation.
Listen to employee suggestions. Take the time to get feedback from personnel. Frequently, they can see problems that are invisible to management because they are in the frontline interacting with customers or equipment. You could also institute some sort of compensation to further motivate people to come up with useful ideas.
Have a career path they could look forward to. This is a major problem in small- and medium-sized firms which have very limited positions to aspire for. However, even in large companies, some people may feel they have reached a dead-end in their career path. Frequently, there may still be a chance to get a better position, but the employee should be informed of this possibility and what it takes to have a good chance of being promoted.
Have an impressive but suitable job title. It often happens that a person acquires more responsibility along with higher compensation over the years. However, especially in small- or medium-scale businesses, his job title remains the same. Entrepreneurs usually fail to see the importance of having an impressive title because most think that having a fair salary for the tasks is enough. Just imagine how the employee feels every time he is asked by friends or relatives what his position is in the company.
Improve working conditions. There are many things you can do that will upgrade the working conditions at little cost. One of these is to implement a 5S (Sorting, Straightening, Systematic Cleaning, Standardizing, and Sustaining) campaign so that the workplace would be better organized and efficient.
Emphasize the nobility of the mission of the company. This style of motivation works well if your company’s mission is truly inspiring. Examples of this are the non-profits; they usually have missions that uplift society like caring for street children, feeding the destitute, etc. I have observed that one of the best ways to accomplish this with an emotional impact is to describe a dismal scenario which would happen if your company were not there. If you are in the transport sector, you can picture the chaos that would result if there is no transportation. Show the significance of the work they are doing.
Empower subordinates. Although the opposite is sometimes true, most managers tend to fear delegating. Even insignificant tasks frequently need approval, and this red tape not only results in delays but can also sap the morale of personnel. Having more authority empowers employees and boosts their spirits. The productivity increases brought about by the increase in self-initiative will reinforce the advantages of delegation.
Have employees stand in for you in certain events. A boss may sometimes too busy to attend a convention, which he already finds a bit boring and time consuming. Realize that for a subordinate, however, attending that event may be quite a treat. He will probably absorb more knowledge and feel energized by the occasion. Upon coming back to the company, he will likely implement what he learned so that he may be sent to the next onel!
Support professional development. Your employees will appreciate learning new skills especially those connected to their profession. Send your staff to seminars and workshops. Besides motivating your personnel, your company will benefit from the new skills learned.
Management’s work here is never finished. What is highly motivating last year may no longer be exciting this time around. You must always be on the lookout for new and better motivating tactics and strategies to stay ahead of the competition.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. BB1, Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.