As an employer and you want to motivate your employees, how do you do this without money?
True, for a long time now, employee motivation has been driven through incentives.
Many organizations understand that giving employees incentives makes them perform at their best.
However, there are many options or ways to incentivize employees.
Financial compensation is one of these.
Many business owners have resorted to a pay rise, bonuses, or commissions to motivate their employees.
And to be honest, this works in some instances and situations.
Most organizations have recorded tremendous productivity and profitability, all thanks to the financial benefits given to employees.
That is quite understandable, though, as one of the major reasons for working in an organization is making money and caring for yourself and others who depend on you.
Nevertheless, there is a problem with monetary-based motivation.
One of the very glaring problems that come with this is its effect on the business’ finances.
Many businesses are running on a thin budget and cannot afford to use money as a sole motivator, regardless of its effectiveness.
Probably, you see your business organization falling in this category.
Another problem with motivating employees with money or monetary benefits is that it can have a negative effect over time.
What that means is that it gets to a time where employees are no longer self-motivated.
Instead, they develop the mindset that they need to be driven by monetary benefits.
That is a position you would not want to be in as a resourceful business owner.
How to Motivate Employees Without Money
Every business owner or employer’s goal and abiding interest is to run a business where the employees are engaged.
Engagement in this regard would mean they being passionate and committed to the job.
As an employer, if you’ve ever heard one of your employees make the statement: “I take the company like my own,” then you should be excited.
It means that you are on the right track and doing something right.
It would be a very bad idea for any organization to use money as the sole motivating factor for its employees.
In fact, if possible, money should be the least motivating factor.
Your employees should want to work hard for the organization because it makes them feel a certain way, and they love to do that.
And that is your responsibility as the employer to ensure this happens.
Therefore, we will guide you on what measures you can take starting today with your employees to motivate them without money.
Before that, though, let’s get a clear understanding of the concept of employee motivation to get started.
The Concept of Employee Motivation
In simple terms, employee motivation refers to the degree or level of excitement, passion, commitment, and drive that your employees put into their jobs.
It is a measure of how happy your employees are with the organization, likewise their jobs.
And this happiness and commitment stem from the deep satisfaction they feel in their line of duty.
This concept in employee or staff management is very important and can make or break an organization.
The reasons why employees should be motivated in the line of work are quite obvious.
There are times when employees might lose their morale due to personal challenges or difficulties at their jobs.
It might also be that your employees have to deal with difficult customers who may be robbing them of their joy and passion.
These might be taking a toll on the employees’ energy levels and, in turn, affecting motivation.
In such situations, you have to get them back to their top level of motivation.
Additionally, we cannot underestimate the effect of having motivated employees on a business or organization’s growth.
When employees are adequately motivated, they go all out both in their assigned tasks and support others.
These kinds of employees are the ones who make a difference in their organizations and push them towards sure success, and that is the dream of every business owner.
The Types of Motivation
When it comes to motivating people, employees working in an organization are not exempted.
There are two major types.
We have external or extrinsic motivation, which results from external factors or majorly from the expectation of a reward.
This is where motivating with money or other financial benefits comes, and many organizations use it.
On the other hand, we have the intrinsic or internal form of motivation, which is the motivation that comes from within.
For this type, the employee is motivated not because of the promise of a reward but primarily because of a personal feeling of fulfillment that comes with doing the job.
This is what you should be focused on and the type of motivation we have in mind when talking about motivation without money.
Every employer should want to increase the intrinsic motivation of employees on his team.
Whichever strategy is deployed, it is evident and glaring that employee motivation is a must for every business establishment.
And as we go further, you will see just why this is important and many ways to achieve this without crippling your finances.
Motivating Employees Without Money – Why Important?
Consider this scenario.
You have an underperforming employee on your team who isn’t achieving set objectives.
It might be that you believe in the ability and capability of this individual, and it pains you that he/she is not working at full potential.
What do you do?
Well, the first thing that might come to your mind is that perhaps the pay is not enough.
Going by this thought, you might want to take action to give the person a pay rise or offer promises of financial bonuses as a reward for improvements.
This isn’t totally out of place because it has worked and will continue to work for many business owners.
However, it comes with its disadvantages.
While monetary incentives to drive employee motivation have been in vogue for a long time now and have unarguably come to stay, it doesn’t always work for the best.
To be factual, there are many concerns with this mode of motivating employees, with profitability and sustainability at the top of the list.
Here are some of the issues with using money as the primary or, worse yet, the sole motivating factor for employees:
It is Very Expensive
Let us begin with the obvious.
Using money as the sole or primary motivating factor for employees is very expensive.
A lot of businesses work on a tight and stringent budget yearly.
Chances are, your own business is also affected by this.
Many times, there are many projects planned, infrastructures to put in place, maintenance of the office facilities, rent and then remuneration.
All these affect even the strongest of organizations financially.
What about small-scale business owners or startups?
They are definitely affected more by these expenses.
So, imagine that every time you have employees who are not performing well, the next thing you do is give a pay rise?
Any organization threading that path is threading a path of financial calamity, putting it nicely.
It is very expensive to maintain and shouldn’t be indulged in when there are many other working alternatives.
Everyone Already Has Intrinsic Motivating Factors
Whichever you look at it, everybody has something internally that drives their motivation and makes them passionate.
The only thing you can do as an employer is to work on that inner source of motivation and let it play out.
Regardless of how hard you try, there is just so much motivation you can get out of your employees using money.
At best, you might not even get the optimum motivation out of them, and it would still definitely drop.
Therefore, knowing that you cannot particularly force motivation out of your employees, how wise would it be to keep using money to try to achieve that?
We will let you answer that yourself.
It Turns Into an Entitlement
When you start using money to motivate your employees, you can be sure that it isn’t going to stop soon.
You, as the employer, might wish to stop at some point, especially when you notice the damage it is doing to your finances, but what about the employees?
It gets to a point, and they start feeling entitled to monetary benefits before they can work.
You can imagine the situation whereby some employees even start neglecting the regular duties because they want a promise of monetary benefits before they do it.
It’s best to check it at the onset, lest it worsens and makes them start feeling entitled.
Employees Admit Themselves That Money is not a Prime Motivator
Several studies and research reveal what really drives employee engagement and motivates them.
It might surprise you to know that many employees do not agree that being paid a high sum of money motivates them to work.
In fact, many ranks factors such as having a nice boss, good colleagues, and a great work culture work more for them.
There have been quite many experiences of people who earn a lot of money in their workplace and still lack the needed motivation.
Many of these even end up leaving such organizations because of dissatisfaction.
Hence, rather than being a prime motivator for employees, money is more or less like a sub motivator.
It is not Sustainable
Another area you should put into consideration when drafting prime motivators for your employees is sustainability.
From all evidence considered so far, money as a form of motivation is anything but sustainable.
There is always a limit to how much your organization can afford to spend in a business year.
Also, you have your wage structure and how remuneration works in your establishment.
Hence, there is just so far you can go with a pay rise, bonuses, commissions, e.t.c in motivating employees.
It gets to a time, and your hand will drop.
That is because you cannot adequately sustain this pattern.
Wouldn’t it be more beneficial, then, to work out some other ways of motivating employees without spending money, given all the disadvantages?
Definitely, it would. And those tested and trusted ways are what we are about to show you.
How to Motivate Employees Without Money
If you feel your business is running on a thin budget and would love to cut down on expenditures, then this is for you.
Also, even if you have a lot of money to throw around because you are making so much profit, we urge you to pause for a while.
We are about to give you many other ways you can motivate your employees without money, saving you a lot and still giving results.
How to Motivate Employees Without Money – Be a Good Boss
There are no mincing words with this.
The very first thing you can do in motivating your employees in the workplace is working on yourself.
Ask around you.
You will find many people who have become drawn to the companies they work for so much so that they take it as their own business simply because they work for good employers.
Being a good boss doesn’t necessarily mean being soft or giving allowance for indiscipline.
On the contrary, it involves knowing what you want and demand from your subordinates while also having good qualities that are endearing.
There are experiences of people who refuse to leave their place of work for seemingly better options in terms of financial benefits because they love their boss.
Hence, you can never tell how much impact your good behavior, qualities, and personality can have on your employees.
This right here is a way to motivate employees without spending money as it ensures engagement, a sense of belonging, and motivation.
Create a Good and Healthy Work Culture
As important as being a good employer or boss, having a good work culture is also equally important.
While the first point focuses on you as a leader, this one encompasses the work environment as a whole.
A good work culture takes into consideration all the employees and how they relate with one another.
Every employee wants to work in a work environment that is healthy and united, not toxic and negative.
Some areas of a healthy and good work culture that you need to pay close attention to are: employee wellbeing, inclusion, equality, and unity.
That means you would need to provide adequate support for the health and wellbeing of your employees and also carry everyone along.
In the area of equality also, it would be counterproductive to show partiality at work or regard some employees as more important than others.
You will also want your employees to maintain a united front at all times.
When you build this type of work environment, you can get employees who wake up every morning itching to be at work.
This is because they like the environment and have the motivation to give their best.
Recognize Individual Employee Contributions
Employee recognition also goes a very long way in ensuring that you have a highly motivated workforce without spending money.
True, sometimes, some organizations recognize employees through bonuses and other financial benefits.
However, recognizing and appreciating hard work goes beyond that.
Though underrated, simple words of appreciation go a long way to show employees that you value and recognize them.
And this, in turn, can drive their motivation levels.
When it comes to employee recognition, you need to study your staff individually, as what works for some might not work for others.
While some employees might appreciate that you give them open recognition, such as mentioning their achievements in front of others or offering them awards, others might not.
Some might prefer that you give them praise and recognition in private rather than public.
Hence, you have the task of figuring out what works best for an individual and following through accordingly.
Whichever form of recognition you decide to use, note that this is a very effective means of motivating employees without necessarily spending money.
Outline How an Employee’s Work Contributes to Business Growth
When working on a team or as a group, it might be especially difficult for an individual to see the worth of their contributions or impact on the team.
They might have self-limiting beliefs, or it could be that the work of other team members outshines theirs.
In such circumstances, some employees may lack morale, and motivation could be hard to come by.
Therefore, as the business owner or employee, you would need to show each employee how their work affects business growth.
You can do this using metrics and statistics that show what particular impact of their duties and responsibilities on the overall business goal.
When your employee sees this, it shows them they are very valuable.
And that feeling on its own builds employee motivation.
Accept Feedback and Implement Their Suggestions/Recommendation
Few things demoralize and frustrate employees, like ignoring their contributions or opinions.
Some business owners do this either deliberately or unconsciously during staff meetings and other times.
If you make it a custom to shut down your employees’ opinions as though they do not matter, you will only crush their spirits and morale.
An employer who wants to build motivation should always give and accept feedback.
You need to let your employees know that your door is always open and you are ready to listen to what they have to say.
During open brainstorming sessions, do not be quick to discard suggestions and opinions as being “dumb.”
Even if you feel at that moment that the suggestion is not wise, don’t show it, but appreciate them for speaking up.
Additionally, do not make it a pattern only to collect suggestions and opinions and not work on them.
Implement some of these suggestions coming from your employees and let them see how their contributions work out for the company’s good.
This is also another way to motivate employees without money.
Show Trust By Delegating Responsibilities
Imagine telling an employee: “I will be away for a while, and I want you to take charge of this and this. I trust you can do it”.
Even if that employee does not initially feel he has it in him to accomplish such a task, he will find the needed motivation to do it.
Hence, it is essential to avoid trying to control every aspect of work or doing everything yourself.
With more work comes more responsibility for your employees, and this can drive motivation.
When you make it a goal always to delegate assignments and responsibilities to your employees, they get the message that you trust them, and they would not want to betray that trust.
Hence, they will get the motivation to work harder.
Do not Take All the Credit
Another terrible thing that some employers do that might negatively impact the motivation of employees is taking all the credit.
It hurts to put great efforts into a task and watch someone else take the plaudits.
You will want to avoid this if you do not want a bunch of demoralized employees around your workplace.
When you get great contributions from your employees, give them the credit they deserve.
If the advice of an employee is what inspired you to develop a new product or service, let them know of this.
In seemingly little things like this, you can lift the spirits of your employees and make them motivated to do more.
Redirect the Focus From Making Money to Helping Others
Some people say that the best way to develop a business idea is to identify a problem and then come up with a solution.
Afterward, you can figure out how to monetize this.
If your business model doesn’t follow this yet, you might need to find a way to tweak it, so it does.
This is because giving your employees a feeling of purpose and fulfillment in their work motivates them.
Just think about the Covid-19 pandemic that engulfed the world in the year 2020.
Many frontline workers were willing to put their lives at risk in the fight against this pandemic.
This is not for the money, but because they felt a sense of meaning and fulfillment.
You can get this same level of commitment from your employees.
However, you will need them to understand that the focus is not solely on making money but on helping people and impacting lives.
It always works.
Support Their Personal Career Path
You can motivate employees even without money when they know that you are not just about enriching your own pockets.
Every employee, or the top talents, wants to forge a career path of personal growth and development.
Hence, show your employees that you want to invest in their personal growth.
One way you can do this is by letting them take on learning projects.
Some of this you can provide for them and others which they take on themselves.
The important thing is to show you fully support them on this in all you do.
When you do that, it can help build your employees’ motivation, and that too without money.
Allow Them Grow Within the Organization
So far, we remove the focus of primary employee motivation from money.
But it doesn’t mean that you should stunt the growth of your employees.
If you have employees who have been with you for many years and are still in the same position in your organization, something is wrong.
It would be very difficult to motivate such individuals and get their best performance.
In line with that, it is good to have a structure that allows for growth and progression in the workplace.
You can do this by promoting or giving new roles and duties to the employees.
If you also need to fill a senior position in the office, you might do well to look within first instead of external.
All these go a long way to show you value your employees and motivate them as well.
Conclusion on How to Motivate Employees Without Money
We live in an era when running a business is hard on its own.
This is due to many policies, personal doubts, and expenditures.
Given this, you should be looking at every area possible to cut down on expenses, so you can keep the business afloat and beyond borders.
Using money as a sole or prime motivating factor for employees is simply not helpful.
The good news is that there are several other ways to motivate employees without spending a lot of money or even spending any at all.
We hope that these would help you manage your company’s purse better while using those funds for more important projects.
And, of course, you still have a well-motivated workforce that increases revenue and profit.