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13 Fun Ways To Motivate Employees Without Spending A Dime

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Ruhani Kohli
June 3, 2016

A recent survey showed that only 69 per cent of employees said they were consistently giving their best to their jobs.

Any business must be able to motivate its staff. A highly motivated team translates to a highly productive happy workforce, all of which will help you in achieving your business objectives. And this should be a strategic goal in your business and organizational plans.

Money/ monetary rewards do not always motivate employees. Instead, intrinsic motivators such as being recognized for their hard work, having flexible work hours, and growth and advancement drive them.

The best part about intrinsic motivation is that intrinsic motivators are really inexpensive.

In today's age, most organizations like to boast about running ‘lean and mean. It may seem nearly impossible to compensate employees for doing good work without breaking the bank.

However, in reality, you can reward your employees for their good work without even spending a dime.

Is it necessary to maintain employee motivation??

If you imagine an unmotivated employee or a disengaged workforce, they will work at a slower speed, spend more time away from their jobs, and possibly distract themselves by surfing the internet or using their phones. But, most importantly, they're mainly unfocused and aren't giving it their all at work.

Employees who are motivated are more productive help an organization achieve higher levels of output. Having a happy workforce has its own advantages and not only keeps the employees at ease but also helps the organization grow.

Employee motivation is critical to a company's success. It's the level of dedication, desire, and energy that a company's employees bring to their jobs on a daily basis.

Without it, businesses suffer from decreased productivity, lower production, and are more likely to fall short of crucial objectives.

Employee motivation, on the other hand, isn't always easy to come by; it's something that managers must cultivate and monitor.

Motivated Employees Have a Lot of Advantages

Investing in employee motivation has a direct impact on company success and yields a significant, compelling return on investment — organizations with strong employee motivation outperform their low-morale competitors by up to 20%.

Having a motivated workforce provides a number of benefits, including fewer absenteeism, employee retention, and low employee turnover, improved management-worker relations, better employee morale, higher worker performance, improved quality, and enhanced customer service.

1. Absenteeism is at a minimal level 

Employees are taking fewer days off for illness or other reasons, resulting in lower absenteeism. Employees that are motivated are more inclined to return to work rather than take time off.

2. Reduction in Labor Turnover 

Employee retention is high, with little staff turnover. This is critical for businesses since employees who stay with a company gain employee experience and reduce recruitment costs. There is also less training required.

3. Building Organizational Objectives 

Employees are most motivated when their own ambitions are aligned with those of the company. This is important for the company culture as the motivated then strive relentlessly to achieve not only their own personal objectives but also the company's objectives.

Employees that are demotivated are unlikely to be enthusiastic about accomplishing company goals.

4. Management and employee relations have strengthened 

Management and employee relations have improved. This could mean that employees are less inclined to seek legal or industrial action against bosses if they accept changes without resistance.

5. Increased employee productivity 

One of the most major advantages of having highly engaged staff is that it considerably improves their efficiency and acts as a major performance incentive. When employees are motivated, they are more likely to put up their best effort in completing the duties that have been assigned to them.

Employee motivation aids in the transformation of knowledge and skills into improved performance.

Tips to motivate employees without emptying the bank

There are some ways to motivate your employees that cost practically nothing except a big heart and good intent. Thus the motivating factors are highlighted below.

Tips to motivate employees without emptying the bank

1. Dial up the fun quotient

Why must work and the work environment be both serious? Bring in some fun in everyday activities and you will see how things lighten up on the floor.

Don't be hesitant to ask your team if you're not sure what will motivate them. For example, through surveys, brainstorming sessions, a suggestion box, or questions during employee reviews, inquire about the types of rewards they would want to receive.

After you've gotten input from your employees, you may set clear objectives for them to work toward.

Incentivize early birds to office, reward zero absenteeism, include games quiz post-lunch to ward off the fatigue or watch the latest Game of Thrones episode on the big screen after work hours.

This will not only improve your company's bottom line but will also demonstrate the value of employee contributions. That should be enough to entice them to take part in the simple incentive program.

2. Praise in public

Yes, follow the classic management rule of ‘praise in public and criticize in private. A pat on the back in front of the team members is often a good enough reward to make any somebody's day as provides the employees with a sense of accomplishment.

No matter how idealistic or committed your employees are to the company, they all want a good amount of external recognition to keep them going.

It may seem obvious but remind your employees – as often as possible and in as many ways as possible – that your company could never do all it does without their support.

3. A Thank you and Please, please

Adapting a culture of appreciation is a major factor that contributes to a healthy work environment.

It is part of their job, yes, but social niceties aren't a bad virtue to have. Being gracious and appreciative of people and their efforts goes a long way.

There is no such thing as too much praise and acknowledgement for your employees. A simple letter of thanks or a shout-out during a meeting should be sufficient. Just make sure you're praising measurable results as this makes the employees go the extra mile.

To put it another way, you must measure their achievements through the use of precise metrics. This could be increased sales volume, customer retention, or profitability.

4. Strike up a casual conversation

Ask them about their interests, their weekend over a coffee in the cafeteria. The key is to keep it casual and not to be nosey. Such conversations usually warm people to each other and show your light-hearted side too.

Maintain regular effective communication with your workforce and develop a personal connection. You can provide relevant and current information, such as updates on what's new at your company, as well as training and suggestions to assist them in their work.

Also, make yourself available to hear what your staff have to say. They have a lot of good knowledge to provide because they are on the front lines.

5. Wall of fame

Set aside a nice space in the office, cafeteria or reception perhaps, and place photos of the employees who have performed well during that week or month, thus helping in employee recognition. Public appreciation is a good morale booster and shows real progress.

6. A shorter workday on special days

Birthdays, anniversaries, and other non-work successes are celebrated in the office to foster a sense of community among coworkers. Employees are not only motivated by these events, but they also feel cherished. 

It may not sound much but along with celebrations in the office, the employees can be motivated by allowing them to leave early on birthdays and anniversaries, and thus this is a sure shot way to win hearts and thereby, increase productivity.

Team motivation ideas like these might help a team become more productive in the long run.

7. Flexi work hours

Allow them to organize their calendar to fit their own demands if you trust their organizing skills. This, combined with the option of working from home, will result in increased efficiency and drive.

A flexible work schedule is one reward that rises above the rest. For most industries, Flexi work hours is the perk that offers the most gain, with the least pain. As long as the employee is not abusing the privilege, this one scores the best.

8. Be accessible, to people and new ideas

Give your employees the confidence to walk up to you whenever they have a concern that needs to be redressed. And also when they have a new idea, they should be able to pitch that forward without the fear of being put down by the seniors.

Encourage them to contribute, make comments, provide constructive feedback and encourage creative thinking by creating an environment that encourages them to do so.

You might come up with a brilliant business idea. What's more, you'll boost the working environment and encourage employee engagement.

Employees who believe their work – and their ideas – are valued are more productive and less inclined to leave. As a result, there will be less turnover, fewer headaches, and lower expenditures.

9. Open Mic nights

Your team will be full of talent and you are not even aware of that! Organize open mic nights post-work and encourage stand up acts, karaoke sessions. You could also hold a morning yoga class if one of you is an avid yoga practitioner. Basically, keep the interest alive. 

10. 'Bring your pet to workday

Have a day when you all can bring your cute pooches, purring cats to work. Employees who bring their pets to work are more likely to be productive and engaged at work.

Throughout the day, they are frequently happier and less anxious. In a survey about pets at work, between 75 and 95 per cent of workers said the practice enhanced morale, work-life balance, relationships, and work hours.

However, do watch out for roars and meows while on a client call!

11. Muffins to go with the coffee

Who doesn't love a chocolate or blueberry muffin while they are sipping their coffee in the morning? Surprise them on a morning over coffee.

Whatever the purpose, hosting a "Morning Coffee and Muffins" event is a terrific way to reward your workers. It is inexpensive, and you may have a good time with it.

Not only will you be able to recognize the entire team for a job well done, but the social nature of the team event will also assist to develop team cohesion, which is an engagement driver.

12. 'Dress up to work' day

Find a day in the month when everyone comes to the office all dressed up as per the theme. This is not just fun but also lightens up the otherwise bad moods, bruised egos at work.

A casual day becomes a widespread wish for individuals who are compelled to "dress business" every day. Use holidays to create casual days with a theme, such as red and green before Christmas or black and orange before Halloween.

This will enhance the impact you're aiming for by declaring a casual day in the first place.

On the basis of the element of surprise, spontaneous casual days provide a lot of stimulation.

13. Legalize the catnaps

You see them with their heads down for some minutes. Go on record, say it is ok to nap for a short bit and we all live in peace!

Concluding thoughts

These suggestions and motivating factors are a great place to start for any manager looking for ways to boost staff motivation and have happy employees.

Despite the fact that they won't cost your organization anything, they're nonetheless incredibly effective strategies for improving staff motivation, which leads to improved performance and overall company success.

You don't have to increase salaries or give out hefty bonuses every time your team is in the need of some motivation to work hard. Talk to them, understand their cause for worry, add some fun elements to everyday routine and make the work environment light and healthy.

You would be surprised at how you did not have to spend any money at all and the motivation level of the team is up.

If you are looking at automating your HR processes, sign up here for a free demo of sumHR's Payroll and Attendance Management Software. Your HR woes will be history after that.

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Written by
Ruhani Kohli
Ruhani is an aspiring marketer who is currently pursuing her BBA with a specialization in marketing. She is creative and believes in the attainment of her goals through hard work and past experience. She enjoys learning new elements from every experience that she has had
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