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… really, I hear you say? Apparently not! Giving staff additional time off and throwing some extra cash their way may sound like the perfect way to motivate and get the best from them. But while this wouldn’t get turned down by most, it shouldn’t be your only means of motivation. Nowadays, instead of thinking about the dollars, most people in the workplace are motivated by simple things like being recognized for their hard work, flexible working arrangements, autonomy at work and growth and advancement opportunities. So, as a leader and a manager of people, how do you motivate and engage your staff beyond a pure monetary incentive? The best part is, intrinsic motivators, do not break the bank.

Great managers and owners of businesses can and should motivate teams with the aim of driving better business performance. One of the most important, and often one of the hardest jobs a leader of a team has, is to help their staff be as productive as they can be, both individually and as a fully working unit. To do this, you need to motivate each and every one of them to strive for greatness through reaching their personal goals and creating a collaborative environment to work.

A good leader will know their employees and know what makes them tick. You will know what they like to do on the weekend, which football team they support, what their dog’s name is and where they are planning a holiday. But do you know what really inspires and motivates them to give their all at work and makes them come to work with a smile on their face? If you have a demotivated, under performing team, if most were honest, the answer to that question would be, probably not…

The right non-monetary incentives motivate employees just as effectively because they allow your team to work for benefits that improve their work life and general morale. The first and most important technique and rule to follow is communication – have your own ideas about how to motivate and involve them but ask your team member what rewards they would like to receive and encourage them to be creative. Use this information in their KPIs and incentive program – make them feel like they have participated – objectives, KPIs and goals are essential, in and outside of the workplace for people to have something to strive towards.

Recognising commitment and hard work seems simple enough – but can often be over looked – never underestimate the impact a quick public recognition (and this can be a shout out in the office, a company-wide email or a mention at the end of a meeting), can have on someone’s general attitude and confidence at work. If someone feels proud and good about themselves about something they have done, this will have a huge effect on how motivated they are and on their overall performance. Tick.

One of the main reasons employees can feel unmotivated at work can be the fact many (and most of us) do the same thing day in, day out. Work becomes routine and boring, which can very quickly demotivate people. One simple way to overcome this is to ensure your staff are constantly learning new skills or taking on additional responsibility. Ownership of something, learning something new or knowing you have done something well, will naturally lead to better performance and greater output and ensure job satisfaction. It will naturally motivate.

At the end of the day, employee motivation is a two-way street. If you have an engaged and happy team, you will definitely become a better leader. And if you are a respected and engaged leader, you will have a happy and motivated team. So it really doesn’t always take money to motivate people and help people realise their potential. Some interest, time, effort and commitment on your part is often all it takes. And can be fun along the way!