6 ways to motivate and inspire your employees that don’t involve a pay rise

Modern companies offer a lot of perks for employees: healthy breakfasts and fruits, medical insurance, massage right in the office, a gym with personal fitness coaches, and much more. Due to recent quarantine guidelines, most companies had to stop all office activities and move some of them online, such as training and fitness classes.

Even if you have a budget for perks, tangible and intangible methods of motivation should work together. People need to know that their work matters. Perks are great for attracting people, but they have a lesser effect on retaining them.

It’s critical to understand one fundamental thing though: benefits will not replace salary. A person works for money, having all the rest is good but secondary.

However, if pay cuts are needed due to the crisis, there are ways to retain and motivate your employees, as well as preserve high efficiency. Based on my experience of running HR department for a company with more than 800 employees, I’d like to share six ways of motivating people besides salary.

1. Understand the needs of employees

There is a department in our company with zero employee-turnover. The secret of success is hiring right people for the right job – passionate and motivated about their work. In addition, we need to care what people need, and understand their motivation.

Different people have different needs. Some enjoy the freedom or prefer to build a career, while others need to know how valued they are. In my experience, different generations have different values. For example, Gen X needs stability, clear goals, the ability to plan their work. For Gen Z, it is vital to be under flexible rules.

Understanding the motivation of each person is the main objective of the manager. While working closely with a team, it’s easy to notice when someone loses enthusiasm.

For example, in my team, there is a person who’s the most enthusiastic about everything related to automation: testing, writing instructions, and correcting errors. Therefore, when choosing whom to assign the new HRIS testing, I pick this person because I know she will enjoy it.

2. Make employees’ life more comfortable

Another non-monetary motivator is to make employees happier by alleviating their home routine duties, giving access to engaging webinars, online courses, podcasts on healthy eating, meditation applications, back exercises, and much more.

At the end of quarantine, we had a transition phase when employees could go to the office voluntarily. Public transport wasn’t available yet, so it was tricky for people to commute. Therefore, we launched Route Sharing – an internal platform where people discuss the ability to drive somebody to work. It cost us almost nothing, but the employees felt that the company was caring about them.

Also, we help our colleagues to minimize their time wasted on daily routines. We can find a cost-effective dry cleaning service, proper insurance for a car, or even a car. These and many other requests are the tasks of our Care department. As a result, people save time and can work more productively.

3. Give your team more freedom

Some people are more motivated when they can work remotely, get extra day-offs, or rest for several days. Quarantine has shown that remote work at Innovecs is productive. Why not let your employees work from home, even when quarantine is over? You can also allow workers to start their working day at a suitable time and give them additional day-off on birthdays, weddings, or childbirths.

For example, Salesforce (CRM software development) offers employees six paid day-offs per year in addition to regular paid vacation. Patagonia (outdoor clothing and gear) allows employees to go surf anytime. BitSol Systems (business software development) offers “pawternity leaves”. When an employee gets a cat or dog, they can take a week of paid leave to help them accommodate to a new place.

If the company has several offices, you can allow the employee to choose an office and workplace or move between offices and work each day in a new location. A change of scenery motivates and sparks creativity.

4. Promote your workers reasonably

Many people are longing to get a promotion, new knowledge, and skills. In case a person wants to learn new things, and the company cannot pay for courses for them, find a mentor inside the team from whom they can learn. You can create a project where team members exchange knowledge and best practices. Let the colleagues partly work on another project to change the scenery.

One colleague from my team worked at reception for some time. Then she became bored, wanted to move on, and was about to leave the company. We decided to give her a chance to try herself in the HR department. She liked it and stayed at the company. But there are people who, on the contrary, do not want to get promoted. When promoted without asking, they become demotivated.

I know companies that create talent pool programs aimed to develop employees to managerial roles. But when the person is not asked whether he or she wants to get this position, the result can be completely adverse.

5. Be honest with your team

If a person gets a pay cut due to the crisis, it is difficult to motivate them. An essential thing in the company is honesty and openness. Tell the team why you made such a decision, what happens to the business, what possible scenarios are, and when all is back to normal.

My practice shows, if there is open communication, 100% of the employees are understanding of any tough situation and stay at the company despite difficulties.

There are cases when team members saved the job of their colleague who was at risk of ramp down. They refused part of their bonuses and this is a truly fantastic thing.

6. Foster healthy competition at work

Some people like competition. We have a unique project called “InnovateIT”. It’s aimed to find the best ideas for improving office life. We usually bring to life the best ones.

However, you shouldn’t go overboard when dealing with such initiatives. If your employees endlessly compete with each other, they will stop being a powerful and cohesive team. I know the case when a company introduced a rating system of employees by the number of “likes” from colleagues. It suffices to say that not everyone appreciated this idea…

Of course, there are many other ways to motivate people. Just remember, don’t be too extreme with your techniques and don’t push people. Some employees just want to have some privacy and stay alone: they work excellent. And their desire must be respected.

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