10 Ways You Can Really Motivate Employees – Without Using Money

Just because people work for you (and therefore are supposed to do what you tell them) doesn’t mean it’s not better to motivate them to actually want to do the job.

Here are 10 ideas from my recent podcast and webinar on Motivating Without Money:

Personal over financial

1. Get Personal. Money is the easiest and least personal way to motivate people (if you have money). If you don’t, you need to make the personal effort to get people to actually care about what they are working on.

2. Persuasion vs. Command. Money doesn’t buy loyalty, it only rents effort. We talked about how to persuade people to work for you, and build real loyalty and support.

Remove uncertainty

3. Create Clarity. The biggest demotivator you can have is when people don’t know exactly what to work on or why it matters. Your job as a leader is to create clarity for your team when it does not exist around you – we talked about how.

4. Deal with chaos from above. What about when management keeps changing direction? Or when your team doesn’t agree with, or is skeptical or angry about where management is heading. You still need to find or create points of certainty for your team. We discussed several approaches.

Communicate a lot

5. Communicate on a regular schedule. Clear consistent communication is a magical motivator that so many leaders miss. You get huge points for leadership and credibility when you communicate well.

6. Build Trust. People are always more motivated to work for people they trust, know and respect. People know you through your communications. Set up the right communication plan with the right content on the right schedule.

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7. Don’t be Invisible. If you you fail to communicate regularly, you will appear to be checked out, even if you are not checked out. People need to hear from you.

Find out what matters

8. Don’t guess what people care about, ask them! Personally ask each person that works for you. You’ll be amazed at the answers, and how many things you can do without money that will make a material difference to them. I shared several surprising examples!

Say thank you

9. Recognize good work. Create a habit in your organization to recognize the contributions of people. This goes a long way to motivate not just select individuals, but everyone if you do it right.

10. Don’t over complicate it with processes, nominations, reviews, and spreadsheets. Just make it clear to your staff that you want to know when anyone in your organization does something remarkable, and then have one of the executives find a personal, direct way to say, “thank you.”

This article was originally published on Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership blog.

Patty Azzarello is the founder and CEO of Azzarello Group. She's also an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/business advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35, and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk). You can find her at patty@azzarellogroup.com .

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4 Comments on “10 Ways You Can Really Motivate Employees – Without Using Money

  1. Patty, great article, but it's important to remember that cash does not motivate, it does not recognize, it does not appreciate. Cash compensates. Pure and simple. (I wrote about this on Compensation Cafe earlier this week, available here: http://www.compensationcafe.com/2010/09/whats-your-recognition-style-mad-men-or-tesco.html

    Also, great points about how to recognize. We do recommend having a formal system/process behind recognition, but not just to reinforce the importance of recognition to the organization. When someone gets a very specific, detailed note of appreciation for their hard work from a colleague or superior, it adds another layer when they know their boss will have also seen that note.

  2. I hate arguing but the granting oif a monetary reward does recognize and certainly sends a message.  And it can be a message of appreciation.

    Money is not ‘the answer’ but its always part of the equation and it has to be managed intelligently.  Patty’s list is great but succesful people expect to be rewarded.  Its deeply entrenched in our culture.

  3. I believe that everyone are supose to have a decent salary. As far as it hapens, the recognition is the most important aspect to the employee.I agree when it was said, that  is important to remember that cash does not motivate, it does not recognize.

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