How do you build motivation in the workplace? Many rely on monetary incentives to raise motivation and thus get results. But that’s not always an effective strategy. 

motivation,ways to motivateA leader who can’t motivate their people will not achieve great results. You need some ways to motivate staff to keep them engaged with your organisation.

But money isn’t the solution to your problem. In fact, 65% of employees say they’d take a new manager over a pay rise. This tells you that your people look for more than money to keep them motivated. They’re looking for Great Managers to build a motivational culture.

Here’s how we helped a recent client do just that.

Case Study

Our client had an interesting dilemma. They operate a not-for-profit organisation. But they also realised that such an organisation benefits from good management.

They had tried various methods to introduce a motivational culture into the workplace. They sent their management team on several training seminars. These gave them the basics, but the information they picked up wasn’t always relevant to their situation. However, it also meant the client had to send managers away from the organisation for days at a time to learn.

That left the organisation without management, which sapped motivation.

Great Managers offered a different model.

Our Academy allows learners to divide a lot of training into smaller, more manageable chunks. Learners can structure their education around their work. Plus, they always have access to the materials if they need a refresher.

This motivated the organisation’s managers because it gave them control over their learning. Moreover, they learned about the importance of taking action in the workplace.

Talking about creating a transparent and motivational culture in the workplace is one thing.

Actively working to create it is quite another.

Via our Academy, the client learned about the techniques needed to motivate its people. Best of all, these techniques didn’t require them to resort to money.

Here are 10 ways to motivate staff that don’t require salary increases:

Technique #1 – Praise Your People

Regular feedback is a crucial component of a great company culture. But it’s not just offering words of wisdom that keeps staff motivated. Your feedback must always have a positive slant if you’re to keep getting results.

Praise is one of the simplest motivational tools that you have available to you.

It takes a matter of seconds to say “thank you” or “good work”. Yet many managers don’t praise their people enough.

They overlook the little improvements and small tasks that staff complete on a day-to-day basis. Instead, they reserve their praise for the big moments.

That won’t keep staff motivated during projects that require a lot of grinding. Praising people for the little things is one of the best ways to motivate staff in such situations.

Start by holding feedback sessions in which you praise individuals for their efforts in a one-on-one setting.

From there, move on to praising people in front of their peers. Most importantly, ensure you offer specific praise for good work, rather than general praise with no purpose.

For example, fill in the blanks with specifics:  

“Thank you for __________”

“Great work on this project! I really liked how you _________ and ___________. It showed great initiative”

Technique #2 – Establish AMP

Offering AMP is one of the best ways to motivate staff. But what does it mean?

AMP stands for “Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose”. It relates both to how people want to do their jobs and what they want to get from their work.

Autonomy relates to how your people want to take charge when it comes to their work. A manager who constantly hovers over employees shows that they don’t trust their people. That’s damaging to anybody’s motivation levels. Allow employees to make decisions and use their expertise.

Mastery relates to everybody’s desire to get better at what they do. You can help in this process in a variety of ways. The training opportunities that you present obviously help. But so too does offering feedback on the progress that your people make. Give your people the opportunities needed to master their crafts.

Purpose is a self-explanatory concept. Everybody needs a reason beyond money to work for you. In fact, having purpose drives motivation in the workplace more than most other factors. Learn about each individual’s values and show them how their work aligns with their beliefs.

With AMP, you give your staff control over their working lives and a purpose for what they do.

ways to motivate staff

Technique #3 – Ask for Opinions

How many managers just tell their staff what they want without inviting discussion?

It’s likely that you’ve encountered this yourself during your career. And you likely had the same feeling that most others have. You felt dictated to and perhaps felt like your opinion didn’t matter.

Following this philosophy is not how to be a motivational leader.

Instead of dictating, invite your people into the conversation. Don’t say “I think we should do X.” Instead, ask “What do you think about trying X?”

It’s a subtle difference, but it has a huge impact on motivation levels. Your staff feel like they’re contributing, which engages them.

Technique #4 – Create a Workplace Community

In searching for clues on how to inspire a team, you may forget that your team members can inspire each other. Being a motivational leader involves more than your own interactions with your team. It also involves how each member interacts with each other.

You can help with this. Find ways to turn your team into a small community of people who work together to achieve common goals. Something as simple as encouraging your people to eat lunch together can help.

Encourage them to find out as much as possible about each other. Extend this beyond the professional setting too. Allow them to learn about each other as people, rather than employees.

The not-for-profit client I mentioned in our case study earlier, benefitted from this.

Great Managers allowed them to train their people together. Instead, of sending a couple of people away on a course at a time, our client saw their people group together to tackle the materials as a cohort.

This created a camaraderie between the participants. It also allows for the creation of peer relationships that may not have occurred using other methods. Through our training, the organisation developed an internal community.

This achieves something very simple. It creates deeper staff bonds that ensure your people look forward to coming into work. They like the people they work with, which means they’re happy in their working environment.

A happy employee has the motivation needed to get results. Better yet, you didn’t have to spend any money!

Technique #5 – Avoid Direct Criticism When Finding Ways to Motivate Staff

There’s no quicker way to demotivate an employee than to scream and shout at them when something goes wrong. You can’t foster motivation in the workplace if you’re seen as an ogre who only speaks up to talk about the negatives.

But corrective feedback is an essential part of working life. So, how do you give it and use it as one of the ways to motivate staff?

It’s all in your delivery. Simply telling somebody that they did something wrong isn’t a motivator. It gives them nothing actionable to work from. Instead, ask questions about the situation. Ask the employee if they feel like they took the right course of action. If not, why not?

The key here is that you’re working together to come up with a solution. You’re offering a criticism, but you’re doing it in a corrective way that doesn’t make the employee feel bad. Instead, you’re showing them that you trust in their ability to learn from their mistakes. Plus, you’re demonstrating a nurturing side that shows that you want them to learn.

Technique #6 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Ways to Motivate Staff

Perhaps you have no idea about what motivates a team member. How do you find ways to motivate staff when you don’t know anything about what drives them?

There’s a simple solution. Ask the question.

Talk to your staff about the reasons why they work with you. Find out about what incentives would work best for them. Your staff is the best source of information when it comes to methods of motivation. Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions to figure out what they want.

You don’t have to approach this in a direct manner either. You could hold brainstorming sessions in which your staff talk about what motivates them. Or, you could create a suggestions box for reward and incentive ideas.

The key is that you’re learning about ways to motivate staff from your people.

ways to motivate staff

Technique #7 – Remember the Work/Life Balance

Everybody has responsibilities and commitments outside of the workplace. If your people can’t keep up with those, they bring their problems to work.

Personal issues cause stress, which drives motivation down.

A little extra money isn’t going to solve a personal problem that requires time, rather than cash.

A little flexibility goes a long way in such situations. Offer your people some choice in their work schedule.

An employee may need an extra hour to get the kids to school in the morning. Or, they may need to head out for an hour during work to pick them up and get them back home.

Offer them that opportunity and you help them to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Your people will feel happier at work because they’re not stressing about how they’re going to solve personal issues.

Technique #8 – Take a Break for Fun

Sharing in some fun together is one of the better ways to motivate staff. This is especially important during long projects. It’s possible that motivation levels will dip when you’re all grinding to get to a result. After a couple of weeks of monotony, anybody would start to struggle.

Offer the occasional break from that monotony. Have the team take an hour out to chat about anything but work. Or, create a game to play to inject some fun into the proceedings. This can give your people a lift at a vital time, which helps them to push through.

Here are 100 fun office games that can make work awesome.

Of course, there is a caveat to this technique. Focusing too much on fun means you’re not focusing on work.

Create the occasional break, rather than making fun the key theme of the workday.

Technique #9 – Volunteer With Your Team

A United Health Group survey revealed some interesting statistics about volunteering. It found that 94% of those who volunteer experience an improvement in their mood.

Simply put, volunteering makes you happier.

Managers can use this fact to the benefit of their teams.

Organise volunteering trips for your team. Importantly, make sure you play an active role and join in with the activity.

Volunteering shows that your organisation has a community focus, which can be a huge motivator. Plus, it helps your employees feel happier in themselves.

This translates into results in the workplace.

ways to motivate staff

Technique #10 – Allow Some Personal Flair

An organised workplace is an efficient workplace. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for some personal flair. Remember that each of your team members has individual tastes. Allow them to express those tastes in small ways in the office.

This could be as simple as allowing employees to place pictures of their family on their desks. The key is that the employee makes their workspace feel more comfortable.

Nobody likes to work in an organisation that feels sterile and soulless.

Allow your employees to showcase some personality at work and you’ll reap the motivational benefits.

The Final Word

Does money motivate employees?

It certainly plays a large role. But it’s not the only thing that keeps an employee motivated. Most people look to their managers, their teammates, and their organisation to provide extra motivation.

You can do that without spending a cent on higher wages. This article offers some useful techniques to help you along. But there’s so much more to learn. That’s where the Great Managers Academy can help.

A Great Manager can DOUBLE the capability of their people.

Register for our next free webinar to learn what great managers do to motivate their teams and improve results.