Bonuses are not the only way to motivate your staff, though the extra money is nice, it is quickly taken up by the tax man, spent and then forgotten. In addition to this, bonuses can easily mount up costing the company a lot of money, for this reason there are plenty of small to medium businesses who simply cannot afford to give their workers a bonus. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to motivate and encourage your staff, which do not have to cost much but make a much more lasting impression.
Why should you motivate your staff?
Ensuring you have a motivated and engaged workforce can have massive advantages for your business, maximising your profitability and reputation. Some of these benefits include:
• Less staff absenteeism: if workers are happy in their job, they will be more dedicated to their role and less likely to call in sick unless it is necessary.
• Low staff turnover: if workers are happy then they will be less likely to leave their job. This means that employers won’t have to go through the often lengthy and expensive recruitment process as often. It also means that the company can make savings on the amount they spend on training new staff.
• Higher quality service/goods: motivated employees will make more of an effort when it comes to their work, they will be more meticulous and will provide a higher level of service. This in turn will lead to enhanced customer satisfaction.
• An increase in productivity: with work being completed to a higher standard and on time. This could lead to production costs being lowered allowing the company to either take more of a profit, or reduce their selling price.
• Enhanced reputation: having a happy workforce gives the company a good reputation as prospective employer, which in turn means the company will have more interest in job roles and will be more likely to secure the best professional in the industry.
For this reason, it is important that you motivate your staff by providing them with benefits and rewards.
Inexpensive rewards for employees
There are plenty of rewards employers can give their workers that do not have to cost the company much money and can help the business to be more profitable. Some of these include:
1. A pizza/cake/ice cream party: this is a fantastic way to motivate a specific team or an entire workforce. Ordering pizza into the office for lunch not only gives everyone a break that they can enjoy together but it also means the employees don’t have to worry about sorting out their lunch.
2. A picnic basket: fill a picnic basket with lunch, provide the employee with an extended lunch break and allow them to invite one other person, which can be anyone such as a partner.
3. Pay for transport: this could include a fuel card for petrol, a railway or bus card or even parking close to work. Another idea here is to pay for an employee’s car to be professionally cleaned and detailed.
4. Tours: take your employees on a tour to one of your vendors or suppliers’ premises. Though you will make losses in the sense of having an employee out of the office, you will also benefit from the worker learning about who they are working with. You may also see that these types of visits help your company to form stronger relationships within the industry.
5. Create your own currency: make some simple money (something like monopoly money) and hand this out as rewards for achievements. Then provide some gifts that your employees can redeem their fake money for.
6. Pay for a course: allow the employee to select any course they like (it doesn’t have to be related to their job) and offer to pay for it.
7. Massage: consider bringing a masseur or chiropodist into the workplace to give staff a relaxing massage at their workstation.
8. Let’s go to the movies: buy tickets for the cinema and allow your employee to go and see a movie, with one other person of their choice, during work time.
9. Make your own Oscars: host your own Oscars evening where you distribute trophies to the winners of pre-determined categories.
10. Pick a door: buy three gifts and put them in three different offices, allow your valued employee to pick a door and keep whatever gift is inside.
‘Fun and Free’ rewards
If you have no room in your budget for rewards do not panic, there are plenty of completely free rewards that you can give to your employees. Here are some ideas:
1. Allow flexible hours: this will allow your staff to work around their personal commitments, potentially saving them money on things like childcare. This can also help to reduce the time pressures that workers who have families and other obligations are likely to feel, making them less stressed.
2. Office games: have fun, team building games in the office, such as ‘guess the baby’. In this game each worker brings in a baby photo of themselves, these photos all get placed onto a board, the aim is to guess which baby photo belongs to which work colleague.
3. Be the boss: give the workers some of the boss’s benefits for a day, such as the manager parking spaces or the boss’s office.
4. Shout-outs: use the radio, television or even a concert to get a shout-out to your employee(s).
5. Pet day: allow your staff to bring their pets to work. Though this is a good idea, be sure your employees keep pets in their habitats, such as birds in cages and reptiles in tanks, otherwise the day could go disastrously wrong.
For more ideas on motivating employees for free, click here.
As motivating your employees has so many benefits for your business, it can’t do any harm to give it a go and it might be fun for you too.