Motivating employees to perform to their maximum potential is the responsibility of an organisation’s leaders. In today’s economy, many companies no longer have the luxury of using money as a motivational tool. So how do organisations motivate their staff - without using money?
- Learn and acknowledge your employees' personal career objectives
Employees who know they are on track for a specific career path are more motivated to perform at a higher level. Employees need to know what opportunities there are for growth beyond their current role. Upward mobility and future promotions can be more motivating to some employees than money. Considering the current state of the global economy, a secure career path is more important than salary.
Most individuals with the greatest upward mobility are also motivated by leadership opportunities. Organisations need to avoid promoting the wrong people, but it is important for employees to know and understand that promotion opportunities are available. Without any upward movement, many employees will lose their sense of purpose and motivation.
- Retain high-quality employees through sound management practices
After investing considerable time and money recruiting and training employees, managers must now determine how to make sure those valuable employees are productive and remain loyal to the organisation. Employee retention is essential in order to maintain client relationships and keep recruiting and training costs in line.
Losing an experienced employee results in significant financial losses to the organisation. The keys to employee satisfaction and retention are founded on strong leadership and sound management practices. Managers who can master these arts will have happy and loyal employees and clients.
- Affirm job security through managerial support in every aspect of the employee's job
When motivating employees, job security is essential. Job security can be a significantly stronger motivator than financial benefits. In most situations, individuals are more likely to be more negatively affected by the threat of job termination instead of a pay cut or missed promotion.
Job security also impacts the work ethic of employees. If employees feel they might be fired or laid off, they are more likely to put less effort into their work.
One of the best ways managers can encourage job security is by showing adequate support in every aspect of the employee's job. Managers encourage job security by taking the time to encourage employees and acknowledging their work and performance.
- Create an atmosphere and culture where people want to work
When employees have favourable perceptions of their work situation, their organisation, and the support they receive from their managers and supervisors, they are motivated to work more diligently and identify with the mission of the organisation. High levels of employee engagement contribute to employee retention - employees are much less likely to quit because they are engaged with the organisation as a whole and are invested in the overall success of the company.
Most employees are proud of their organisations and have a personal connection with the company that extends beyond daily tasks. Creating a positive atmosphere and organisational culture where employees want to work motivates many individuals to stay and not seek employment elsewhere.
A good corporate culture enables employees to combine their strengths with the attitudes and values of the organisation. The leadership skills of the managers are critical in providing an atmosphere where employees will be motivated to perform and remain loyal to the organisation.
- Show employees respect through consistency and empowerment
In an ideal world every organisation would show the proper amount of respect to each employee. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Respect is reciprocal in nature and an organisation that shows respect to employees is more likely to receive respect from its employees. A respectful company has employees who feel valued and supported and show the same respect back to the company through hard work and diligence.
Managers show consistency, provide mentoring opportunities, give employees a voice in decisions, inform employees, and serve as professional role models.
- Redefine job requirements to provide interesting and challenging work for successful employees
One of the most significant motivating factors for employees is the type of work they do on a daily basis. If the work is challenging and fulfilling, the employee is more motivated to complete the tasks. The psychological lift that employees receive from performing tasks that are important to them can be just as valuable as their salary.
Unfortunately, many think that "more interesting" means "more work". Good managers don't make that mistake. Work can be made more interesting by altering the environment, for example, or altering the job requirements. You may be able to refine the position based on a candidate's qualifications and specific skill set.
- Provide mentorship opportunities
For employees who may not be as "company-focused" as others, personal growth opportunities are more motivating than money or stock options.
Providing mentorship opportunities for employees is one of the easiest and most beneficial platforms for personal growth. Although mentorship takes time and effort, it provides professional training at a personal level. The investment of time and teaching into a promising young employee will not only motivate that employee to be a loyal member of the business, but it will also train them to be a valuable asset to the organisation.
Personal growth opportunities also come in the form of educational scholarships. Many businesses now offer to pay tuition fees in return for contract extensions upon the completion of the degree.
- Create a dialogue of feedback with each employee to encourage, challenge, and inform each other
Frequent communication with employees concerning their work is essential to boost employee morale and performance. Positive communication can motivate and reinforce outstanding performance. Prompt discussions of problem areas will help prevent those areas from becoming major issues later.
Whether the message is positive or negative, communication is motivating. On the rare occasion, a critical comment may be the most motivating factor an employee experiences. In most situations, positive encouragement provides the greatest benefit for the individual employee and the business as a whole. The most important factor is that there is a continuous dialogue concerning the performance of each employee.
- Recognise significant performances, or achievements, publicly
Recognition is often more highly valued than an increase in pay and is one of the most effective ways to motivate employees. Employees place an enormous amount of value in pride, personal satisfaction, and recognition among their peers.
Recognition for performance, or an achievement, must be sincere. Managers should seek out special contributions that have made a significant difference to the team or the organisation. Set a high standard for recognition, but be generous when it is reached.
Public recognition not only allows the entire team or company to see the extraordinary effort of an individual, but it also communicates what is expected for the future. Managers must be sensitive to employees as well, considering that public recognition may be the last type of encouragement some individuals want to receive.
- Provide additional training and educational opportunities for upwardly mobile individuals
Advancement opportunities are important motivators that significantly influence employee behaviour. If an employee knows that there is no upward movement in an organisation, they will lose all external motivation to perform at a high level. What do they have to gain if there is no opportunity for promotion? They will likely look for employment elsewhere.Managers can help these individuals understand the core behaviours that will either enable or impede their ability to be successful. Give these people the ability to develop their skills through managing special projects and smaller teams, gradually building more responsibility as they gain skill and experience.