How to Motivate Your Employees on a Shoestring Budget

Employee motivation is a fickle thing, but that’s something you already know. Each of us has a different driving force for doing our best at work. While some may be motivated by climbing up the corporate ladder, for others, it’s securing their family, or financial benefits of a promotion.

That is why we’ve made a brief overview of all important ways in which you can make employees feel better about their place in the company, and all with a modest budget.

Accept the Facts

From the get-go, you should be prepared for challenges and possible failures. Realise that despite your best efforts, not everyone likes or wants to participate in the “corporate culture“ trend. For a lot of people, work is just work. And that is okay.

Focus on the bigger picture, and on improving employee emotional health overall.

Work on Your Image

Work on Your Image

One of the first things you can do that requires no budget at all is to sit down with your department and brainstorm. Try to find out what kind of perception the employees have of their HR department, whether through an anonymous online survey or by interviewing those willing to share eye-to-eye.

The most important thing you have to communicate is that you’re not the devil’s advocate. They need to know you’re on their side. Try and work on how you can first reinforce that idea of togetherness in your day-to-day.

Onto More Specific Advice:

1.      Flexible Schedules

When you follow an employee’s workflow, you’ll know when they do a great job on a project or a longer task. When a specific milestone is reached, offer those involved a more flexible schedule for a period of time. Or, let them work from home for a week or two, if possible.

This nurtures a sense of trust and motivates employees to put their best selves forward. Knowing they’ll earn a breather at work after a difficult task is an incredible boost.

2.      Start a Newsletter

Believe it or not, a monthly company newsletter does wonders. Like a school newspaper, it documents employee accomplishments, offers insight into company milestones, and even entertaining pages showing company culture.

You can offer the newspaper in print or online, via email. Include team building photos, inside office jokes, and spotlight other useful skills your employees boast. Interview them, make short videos, etc. The options are endless.

3.      Customising Office Space

Customising Office Space

If this isn’t a policy in your company already, let every employee customise their office space. They should bring plants, memorabilia, action figures, and decorations, pictures, photos, and posters. Of course, it should all be within your company policy and limited to their own space.

4.      Remind Them of Their Importance

One of the most important motivators an employee can get is to be told they matter to the company. We live in an age where layoffs come around more often than not. So, naturally, employees across the professional spectrum feel like their jobs are at stake, regardless of their performance.

Organise bi-monthly meetings with individual departments or teams, where you will discuss their achievements, group or individual. Have a meeting with each employee every now and then to ask about their satisfaction with the company and how they’re feeling. Learn of their fears and hopes and reassure them that they do belong there.

5.      Offer Skill Sharing

A good team-building idea for the whole company is to hold skill sharing events. Discuss with the managers to have a work day where employees will be able to share their knowledge and skills. These can be workshops about particular work-related skills, or something more personal – like the basics of learning how to play an instrument, or a language lesson.

HR can also offer talks on assertiveness, for example. Or organise a more personalised session where you can help the employees find out what their career goals are, and how to achieve them.

6.      Small Events – Big Impact

Even with a small budget, you can turn any working day into an impromptu event the employees will love. Here are just some of the examples:

  • Pyjama day – an even more casual version of casual Friday, when people are encouraged to show up in their pyjamas.
  • Bring your pet to work day – very successful, but some rules should be established for the animal and employee safety.
  • Pizza Friday – or whatever fun budget food you can get (tacos, pancakes, etc). People can spend the last hour of their workday casually hanging out around the office with a meal.

In the end

The options to motivate company employees are numerous. But one thing to note is that they’re not YOUR employees, per se. Work with the management, and make them aware of the staff’s emotional wellbeing. Find solutions together that can slowly, and with time, improve waning motivation.

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