12 Ways to Incentivize Employees Without Money

by Corey Philip //  December 5, 2022

According to a startling Harvard Business School research study, over 80% of employees feel they are not adequately rewarded or valued by their employers. Even though their wages are above US market rates.

Fortunately, there are ways to incentivize employees without money, such as providing generous benefits. It also involved autotomy, purpose, flexibility, work-life balance, team-suggested incentives, personalized gifts, special privileges, professional development, a fun community, fostering leadership, and more.

Like most people, employees need to feel valued. Favorably, the most effective incentives won't break the bank. And in some instances, it might only require a heartfelt thank you. So, read on as we’ll discuss some ways to motivate your team to strive for excellence.

Let’s get started.

1. Promote Recruitment Employee Benefits

Research studies have proven that job ads with generous benefits like favorable family leave policies, flexible working hours, and skills development opportunities attract top candidates.

Emphasizing generous employee perks in your recruitment campaigns, in addition to standard benefits and a great working environment where they will be valued, demonstrates that your company truly cares about their wellness in all aspects.

2. Empower Employees with Autonomy and Sense of Purpose

Let’s face it, no one likes to be micromanaged! Thus, it’s essential to give your employees “room to breathe.” Hence, they feel empowered to make certain decisions without constantly asking for your approval.

A level of autonomy will make your employees feel like valued members of your team and free up your time to focus on critical business matters. However, it is essential to check in with your team members regularly and provide constructive criticisms based on their performance metrics as they take on more responsibilities.

Most importantly, give your team a sense of purpose, as it will amplify their motivation and level of fulfilment when they understand how essential their work is to the company's overall success.

3. Provide a Flexible Working Environment

One of the most profound incentives you can give any employee is the gift of time. So, it’s no wonder that most employee surveys on leading job sites highlight the importance of a flexible workplace.

Employees who can work from home and choose their own hours and assignments are far more productive and motivated to succeed than those working in rigid or authoritarian environments.

4. Foster a Work-life Balance

Most productive employees work for companies that enforce a work-life balance and encourage them to fully disengage and spend time with their families when they are out of the office. Employees who know their private time is respected and are not expected to work on their vacations or after hours are far more focused and motivated.

5. Reward Excellence with Personalized Gifts

A fascinating 2017 sales department study noted that employees were only given cash rewards. Instead of the previous prize and cash reward incentive, their sales declined significantly, and the company lost millions of dollars.

So, rewarding a hard-working employee with a thoughtful and personalized gift aligned with their interests or hobbies is a better incentive than cash. Because they often use the money to pay for necessities like groceries.

6. Create Special Privileges

There are numerous ways to incentivize employees without spending a dime. So, reward employees who meet their objectives with special privileges. Small gestures like extended lunch breaks, casual Fridays, or more paid time off will motivate your team to go the extra mile.

Also, creating a healthy level of competition with these privileged-based reward incentives is an excellent way to motivate your team members to meet and exceed their objectives.

7. Focus on Professional Development and Training

Most employees resign and look for new opportunities if they feel there is no room for growth in their current role, and their working environment is not conducive to learning. So, it's vital to focus on your team’s professional development and encourage them to take advantage of workplace training initiatives to hone their skills and broaden their horizons.

8. Create a Fun Working Environment

Fun activities after stressful projects, like potluck lunches or allowing your team to clock off a little earlier on a Friday, are highly effective.

9. Foster Leadership Skills

Reward gifted employees with opportunities to take on junior leadership roles with appropriate tasks like overseeing a new project or presenting a customer proposal. Encouraging promising employees to hone their leadership skills will not only aid their professional development but also their level of motivation. So, it's a win-win for companies and employees.

10. Build a Tight-Knit Community

Employees who know each other well and feel like they are part of a workplace family are far more likely to consistently support each other, and work as a strong unit. So, creating a sense of community, or a home away from home, is an effective way to motivate employees and retain valued team members.

11. Promote Mental and Physical Wellness

You must provide opportunities for your team to promote their physical and mental well-being by offering lunchtime meditation, yoga, and walking sessions. Or any wellness activity that piques their interests.

12. Simply Say Thank You

A sincere word of thanks for a job well done is often more rewarding than any other incentive, especially if you have high expectations for your team. However, it’s essential to point out that you need to highlight your team’s specific contributions as it will motivate them to continue their pursuit of excellence.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, there are numerous profoundly efficient ways to incentivize employees without spending money. Creating a thriving company culture that adequately rewards outstanding workplace performance make its employees feel deeply valued.

On top of  that, to determine which incentives will genuinely motivate your team, you must engage with them and ask for their input. Apart from getting some great suggestions, their input might be invaluable. They will also be more likely to participate in the incentive scheme and exceed your expectations.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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