6 More Ways to Motivate Without Money

Posted on June 12, 2013.

Back in November, I wrote a blog on 6 Ways to motivate without money.    It received a great response so thought I’d provide a few more examples of ways to help engage and motivate your team without money. Let’s face it, the economy isn’t that much better.

So here’s a few ideas that have worked for me when I was pretty limited with $$$:

1.    Empower them.  Select someone to lead a task force to look at a critical issue. Maybe it’s the communication between sales and credit or end users and developers.  Give them limited direction and let them run with it. They get to pick the people, design the solution and implement it.  Feeling like you have some control over your environment can be very motivating.

2.    Set up skip level meetings. Big boss in town? Great. Set up a one on one meeting with one of you high potential employees.  Make sure it’s just the two of them so the executive get’s to know your employee.  Let them share their ideas and get some feedback firsthand. Getting exposure to top level executives can be highly motivating.

3.    Have a team building exercise.  The best way to do this is go back to #1 and let someone on your team plan it, organize it and run the event.  Give them the budget and any limitations and then let them go to town. You can kill two birds with one stone, as the team building itself should help motivate the team.

4.     Send them to training. If your company offers internal training, great. If not, look at companies like Fred Pryor or HemsleyFraser and see what you can afford that would be meaningful. High potential people crave learning, so anything you can do to provide this is motivating.

5.     Start a newsletter. It would be great if you have a wannabe journalist in your group, but if not, no problem. Putting out a quarterly newsletter isn’t really that hard. You can make it one page and include information about recent business successes, training that’s offered, or more personal information such as someone’s upcoming anniversary or marriage.  Make it “their” newsletter, so it becomes what they want to read about. Maybe include some pictures. This is also a great way to keep your remote teammates engaged and feeling part of the team.

6.     Make sure all opportunities are transparent. Whether it’s a promotion, a transfer or a high profile task force, communicating all these opportunities is important for both the company and your employees.  Finding out someone got a promotion you didn’t even know about is highly demoralizing.  Be up front about what the qualifications are and if asked, be honest about their chances.  Too many managers are so afraid of losing great employees they fail to communicate this kind of information. In the end, you’re going to lose them anyway.

I realize that some of the suggestions above like training and team building will cost a little money but not the kind of money that raises or bonuses require. When times are tough it’s never good enough to say things like ” you’re lucky to have a job" (which I’ve heard way too often). Instead, try to be creative and find ways to keep your employees engaged and motivated.