Business Trends: 7 Ways to Motivate Your Employees (Besides Money)

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson, CEO and founder of Virgin Group

Smart C-suiters know that for all his quirks, Branson is right. Keeping employees engaged and motivated is key to business success. In fact, companies that rank well for employee engagement outperform those with poor employee engagement ratings by a whopping 202 percent, Business2Community reports.

If you’re a business owner or executive looking to motivate your employees, you could throw more money at them — that’d work, right? Maybe not. Recent research suggests that money alone is not a good employee motivator.

So what does motivate them?

Two main things: meaning and appreciation. Let’s break that down to tangible ways you can motivate your employees.

1. Help them discover meaning in their work

There’s a parable that goes something like this: Two men are working side-by-side, digging up land on which a giant church will be built. A man approached the first worker and asked him what he was doing. “I’m digging a hole,” he replied. The man asked the second worker what he was doing. “I’m helping to build a cathedral,” he replied.

Help your employees find meaning in the work they do. This is the best motivator of all. According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, eight factors comprise meaningful work:

  • Contributions beyond yourself
  • Learning
  • Accomplishment
  • Status
  • Power
  • Belonging to a community
  • Agency
  • Autonomy

The rest of the tips here are aimed at helping them feel appreciated. To that end:

2. Offer flexible schedules

A 2018 FlexJob survey found that more than 75 percent of employees would be more loyal to their company if they had flexible work options. Offer your employees flexible shifts and/or a compressed work week to better fit their home and family responsibilities.

3. Give them a remote day

Relatedly, let them work from home on occasion. Cloud technology means they can work from anywhere, as long as there’s an internet connection. If they don’t need to be in the office every day, offer them a remote day once a week.

4. Encourage time off

Create an environment where your employees are encouraged to take time off. Then, leave them alone when they ARE off. Your employees are much more likely to step up when they’re needed when they are well-rested and have a little balance in their lives.

5. Hold a monthly raffle

Have your department leaders create several mini goals for employees and then award them raffle tickets as they reach them. Once a month, draw a handful of tickets to win prizes. They could be:

  • Gift cards
  • An extra PTO day
  • A prime parking spot
  • A museum membership
  • An escape room experience
  • Theatre or symphony tickets
  • A ride in private jet
  • A hot air balloon ride

— anything that relays how much you appreciate them.

6. Breakfast or lunch for the whole company

Order food for everyone in the office, making sure to tie the occasion to a recent goal they’ve met.

7. Half-day Friday

Finally, send them packing early on a Friday with pay.

There are undoubtedly scores more ways to motivate and engage your employees, but start with these first. When employers are good to their people, the people are good to their employers.

About The Author

Kyle Goldman

Kyle Goldman is a financial advisor and journalist who has a weak spot for fast cars and far-reaching jets. He is an aviation enthusiast and hobbyist who recently received his sport pilot certificate and plans to buy his own light sport aircraft in the near future. Kyle is one-part entrepreneur, one-part writer, and two-parts book geek. He is on a personal mission to trace the literary travels of Ernest Hemingway.

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