How to motivate your employees without giving them a raise

It’s every manager’s responsibility to motivate his or her employees. A motivated workforce will be productive and positive in their approach to the job and help you to achieve your company goals. But if you don’t have the budget to offer your employees a raise, what can you?

It’s important to remember that money is just one motivator among many. There are plenty of other ways to get your staff invested in their work. Here’s how to motivate your employees without giving them a pay raise:

Praise their efforts

When employees feel valued, they’re much more likely to work hard. Praise goes a long way and there are a number of ways you can go about it. You could take a structured approach and give out congratulations at the start of each weekly meeting. Or you could choose a more informal “great job” to show that their efforts have been recognized.

Offer incentives

If you can’t give your employees a raise, consider whether a bonus in keeping with company profits would be possible. This will get staff really invested in working toward company goals. If this isn’t possible, choose other more affordable incentives. For instance, an extra paid day off, a gift card, or tickets to a big sporting event.

Give them in-office perks

The little things can make a big difference to employee motivation. You may not need to spend a huge amount of money to improve your workplace culture and productivity as a result. A few in-office perks could be just the ticket. Your team may appreciate a regular supply of healthy office snacks, an office game room for their downtime, or a relaxing shoulder massage at their desk.

Allow them space to innovate

Employees who are expected to do rather than think are unlikely to be particularly motivated. When following instructions, we don’t tend to take proper ownership of our work or take particular pride in it. Give your employees targets rather than specific ways of working and see what innovations they come up with. Using their own initiative, they may be able to improve operations or come up with original solutions to age-old problems. You just need to give them the space to do it.



Set a good example

As a manager, you need to lead by example. Your enthusiasm can be infectious. So be sure to show how motivated you are for the job you’re doing, and always discuss new projects and company goals with positivity and drive.

Listen to them

Motivation can be a personal thing — one size is unlikely to fit all. In order to find out what motivates each of your team members, you need to ask them and then listen to what they have to say. Seek out their feedback on current company operations. It may be that your employees give you some useful and actionable pointers on how to help them feel more motivated.

Let them in on the bigger picture

When employees are focused on their own tasks within their own department, they might not have much sense of how they’re contributing to the whole. Understanding the part they play in achieving overarching company objectives is important to their motivation. Be transparent about where your company is at and where you’re heading.

Motivating your team effectively is a skill that can be learned. As a manager you need to be a good role model and learn how to communicate effectively. Then, with a range of non-monetary incentives, a great workplace culture, and regular praise, you’ll have the ability to motivate your employees without committing to bigger salaries.

Rachel Jackson is senior content manager at NYBizDb and, both online business information resources.

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