Keeping employees motivated is a continuous task, and one that every great leader knows how to get right.
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily – Zig Ziglar
Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to keep your team aiming high and working with the devotion and drive that you’d like them to.
In this post, we share 10 free ways to motivate your employees, along with the truth about what really matters to them. Spoiler alert: it’s not money.
The Truth About Motivation In The Workplace
Money is not the first or only motivating factor for your employees.
Entrepreneur explains that:
Compensation is perhaps the most frequently used motivator. It works, but studies show that only the prospect of receiving money in the near future is a strong enough motivator to change behavior. Once the employee receives the money, its power to motivate ends very quickly.
Of course, it’s essential that you compensate your employees properly for the work that they do, and of course everyone loves (and needs) to get a paycheck, but when it comes to day-to-day motivation, there are other factors that are longer lasting, and take precedence over dollars and cents.
Let’s take a look.
Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Motivation
This is where it’s interesting to understand the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
You can think of intrinsic motivation as things that are inside of you like the feeling of pride from mastering a skill, or that relaxed feeling you get if your employer offers flexible schedules.
You can think of extrinsic motivation as external things like a fancy car or a big house.
All to say, there’s more to fill your piggy bank with than dollars and cents. Employees can also feel rich with the respect and support of their managers.
91% of workers say they feel motivated to do their best when they have leadership support.
26% of Millennials say recognition motivates them to do their best at work.
Despite these stats revealing that support and recognition are underlying factors of employee motivation,
Only one-third of U.S. employees are engaged at work. And only about one in five say they’re managed in a way that motivates them to do great work.
So what can you do about this problem?
How To Motivate Your Employees For Free
One of the simplest and most important ways to motivate your employees is to give them praise for their great work.
According to our real-time report on the State of Employee Engagement around the globe, 63% of employees don’t feel that they get enough praise.
Letting your employees know that you see and appreciate the good work they are doing goes a long way, and be sure when you offer recognition be specific. Overarching generalizations might feel insincere. Bottom line, praise motivates them to keep up the good work.
Another great way to motivate your team is simply to show them that you trust them.
Giving them autonomy to run with ideas and suggest or even spearhead new initiatives will keep them engaged and excited about their work, motivated to be creative and try new things.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge their ideas and push them to rethink decisions, it just means to give them the space they need to think freely in the first place.
Do Team Building Activities
Team bonding is essential to motivation because working day in and day out with the same group of people can either be a positive or a negative experience. When team members enjoy the company of their colleagues work becomes more enjoyable.
Team building activities such as icebreaker games is a great way to get to know everyone.
Make Goals Clear
To motivate your team, be clear about what they’re working towards. Having an understanding of what all the hard work will amount to makes everything all the more worth it. Share company OKRs to motivate your team towards a specific goal. Be transparent with numbers.
According to Hubpsot:
50% of employees say that bosses sharing information and data has a significantly positive impact on productivity and motivation.
A great way to keep goals at top of mind is by having them written around your working area so employees can be constantly inspired when they see them.
Letting your employees work either flexible hours or remotely is another way to keep them motivated. The reason for this is that it gives them the chance to lead a fulfilling life all around.
When you give this opportunity to their employees it does a number of things:
- It allows them to nurture outside of work passions
- Spend more time with their family
- Get to the gym and appointments
- Work from a place that helps inspire creativity
- Avoid the stress of traffic.
In this article, Bloomberg reports that:
When workers have control over their own schedules, it results in lower levels of stress, psychological distress, burnout, and higher job satisfaction.
Let Them Grow
Giving your employees opportunity for growth within the company is extremely motivating. It gives them something to work towards, and it lets them know that you want them to stick around. Think of your employee as a plant – You need to make sure they have constant sunlight and water in order for them to blossom.
Professional development opportunities keep employees growing by building upon their knowledge either in their own area of expertise, or a complimentary area. Simply ask them in a on-on-one meeting what they would like to work on.
This investment in them will result in their investment in your company.
Admit To Mistakes
Motivate your employees by admitting when you’re wrong and owning up to mistakes, showing them that everyone, even management can err. It is motivating in that it creates a culture based on learning, not on fear. Lead by example, showing that it’s what you learn from mistakes and how you rectify them that counts more than anything.
Ask For Their Opinion
Motivate your team by including them in important decisions. Ask for their feedback, input and suggestions. You’d be surprised what great ideas they’ll offer, and they will be so appreciative of the opportunity to share their voice. Feeling part of something bigger is motivating in and of itself.
Encourage A Healthy Lifestyle
You’d be surprised how much of an effect this has on employee motivation. To have an employer show that they care about an employee’s well-being beyond their work is a true sign of respect. Try organizing lunchtime walks outdoors so everyone can get some fresh air and stiumlation.
Celebrating success is a great way to keep a positive momentum on your team. It reminds everyone that their great work does not go unnoticed. If you want to spend a little bit of money, you can take your team out for lunch after a successful campaign, or cheers with champagne in the office. But to celebrate wins for free, simply gather the group and let everyone know how excited and proud you are. The idea is to not pass over the good things that happen but to recognize them. It will motivate everyone to keep working towards greatness.
Before you leave, don’t forget…
How do you motivate your employees?
Share in the comments below!