Incentives are used by employers to endorse a certain level of performance, to promote certain styles or behaviours (e.g. teamwork, efficiency, working by values of company) and motive employees. Employee engagement can be improved by feeling that they are valued and appreciated within the company. Using cash incentives can have a negative effect on your company, they can lead to unethical behaviour and cause rivalry among colleagues, it can also be difficult for small companies to provide monetary incentives. If you were to ask employees would they prefer cash benefits or non-monetary incentives, it is likely they will choose cash, however cash may not actually lead to a more motivated workforce; because it is something everyone receives anyway it is not memorable and usually ends up being spent on boring things like household bills. Receiving extra cash won’t make an employee feel as if they have done or achieved anything, this isn’t memorable and won’t motivate them to do it again. By using alternative incentives, not only could you save money, you will probably do a better job of motivating your staff. Here are eight ways to motivate your employees without breaking the bank:
Personal Incentives: For small business it could be a good idea to find out each employee’s preferences, such as what is their drink of choice or hobbies. For example, a voucher for their favourite restaurant or tickets to a football match. Not only does this save money, but it also shows your employees you care and you personally think of them.
Training: Training programmes can also incentivise employees. Especially in a small company, attending conferences or training programmes are less commonly offered and often people appreciate being able to learn new skills (- to earn more incentives!).
A reserved Parking space/clean their car: If your company has a car park this can be completely free and something an employee may really appreciate – not more worrying about the weather! Having someone’s car cleaned can be a really nice surprise and it definitely brighten their day. If they don’t have a car replenish their bus or train pass.
Office incentive: Receiving a new office chair or footrest can make an employee more productive and items like this need to be bought from time to time anyway, so this can also save money.
Recognition: This is so simple but it can be really motivating. Simply sending a letter or mentioning your employee’s achievement at the weekly meeting can improve relationships and confidence. Having someone higher ranking who was effected by their work pop in to the office to say thank you can also be a good motivator.
Time off: Allowing employees to have a day off, getting the option to work from home or flexibility on coming and leaving work for a day. This costs very little, as employees will still be doing work, and if they are given an extra day off they will be more motivated and productive on their return!
Task swap: If all employees are willing, allowing employees to swap tasks can motivate them, as they may not enjoy that task or would prefer to work on something else. This could also be beneficial ask getting in to a new or leaving an old project they did not enjoy could improve productivity.
Let them bring their pet to work: This fun idea could really boost morale among everyone in the office, but be wary of allergies!