In today’s workplaces, it can be difficult to find ways to motivate employees without a monetary incentive.
Traditional businesses can utilize tools nonprofits have been using for years to keep their workers motivated, engaged and passionate — without having to dish out extra cash.
Guest author Kars4Kids is the nation’s largest car donation charity, with an average of 1,000 volunteers at any given time throughout the year, and over 15 years experience dealing with the unique issues that surround volunteer networks.
1. Make your employees feel needed and appreciated
No matter how idealistic your employees are and how dedicated to the business, everyone needs a healthy dose of external appreciation to keep them going.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but never forget to tell your employees — as often and in as many ways as possible — that your organization could never accomplish all it does without their help.
When employees feel that they and their work are valued, they are motivated to produce their best work.
Including regular employees in high-level decision making will show them that you value their input and advice.
2. Ask employees to help in specific, actionable ways
If you really want people to help you, avoid the general “we need to do better’’ and “work harder’’ kind of calls to action.
Be specific in giving practical ways that people can work harder for you and make it easy for them to follow up.
Most of all, make an effort to be friendly and available so that your employees will actually want to communicate with you more.
3. Inspire your employees with the cause, not the organization
Don’t ask your employees to help your organization, but the cause. Inspire them with stories of real people they will be helping and real challenges that their work will be addressing.
4. Stay connected, and make sure your communication channels go both ways
Keep in touch with your employees on a regular basis. With the proliferation of social media, e-mail, texting and the like, communication is easier than ever.
You can offer training and tips to help their work, and relevant and timely information including updates on what’s new at your organization.
5. Develop a community in your workplace
Build a sense of community among your employees — they should feel connected to each other, and not just to the business.
Online forums can be helpful in this regard, but there’s no substitute for good, old-fashioned interaction — in person. Hold a conference, or even better, throw a party to celebrate the dedication of everyone who works for you.
Develop community and a sense of family by encouraging after-hours bonding. Invite employees and their families to fun events like company picnics and the like.
When employees feel they are part of a family, they will be more motivated to work hard.
6. Show your employees how they made a difference
Highlight your employees’ successes to show them how their hard work helped the business.
Whether it’s the smile on a client’s face when your company fulfills their key goals for the month, or positive feedback from a difficult co-worker, let your employees see the results of their efforts. There’s no motivation as powerful as knowing that you made a difference in your workplace.
Have your employees interact with the end users of the products they work on. Back-end employees often don’t realize how much value they are adding to a product or how much their work benefits people in the real world.
Invest in your employees’ training to send the message that they are valuable to you. Send them to industry conferences; besides demonstrating their value to you, this will increase their sense of professionalism.