There’s nothing more effective than a hefty bonus to keep your employees motivated. Apart from this, a permanent raise and a promotion can be equally effective. Sadly, your budget and internal structure may not be able to handle this set-up for too long. Try giving each of the team members a bonus after every single project and you’ll be shocked at how quickly the deficit in your budget starts growing. Fortunately, a skilled manager has more than a couple of ways to keep their team motivated even with the limited funds. Here are some handy low-budget motivation techniques.
1. More autonomy
In order to be motivated, your employees need to feel like their work in your company matters and that it really makes a difference. The only way for this to work is to give them more power over their day-to-day tasks and allow them to feel like they’re in charge of the success of the entire project. By being overbearing and monitoring their every step closely, you’ll make them feel less confident, less important and, overall, less content with the workplace.
2. Face-to-face conversations
Your employees may suspect that you don’t care about them as a company if you, as a manager, fail to notice their problems. They might feel unwanted and underappreciated. Sure, they can talk to the HR representative but this is not the same as having a chance to talk to you directly. As a manager, you’re a person who’s going to determine whether they’ll get promoted or not, or at very least, this decision will be made based on your recommendation. Therefore, they need to know that their side of the story is being heard. Let them tell you about their problems, about the extraordinary work they believe they’re doing and many other things that matter to them. This can all be easily achieved through face-to-face meetings.
3. Small personal gifts
Giving bonuses in cash is a double-edged sword. In order for it to mean something, not only does it need to be proportional to the amount of work done but it also needs to match the personal perception of the employees when it comes to their evaluation of their own work. In other words, by giving them too small of a bonus, you risk insulting them, while risking losing money at the same time. On the other hand, with small personal gifts, or carefully picked MasterCard gift cards, such a thing is highly unlikely to happen.
4. Pay attention to personal milestones
Every single person in your company has their own personal triumphs and milestones that should be mentioned and even publically commended. Think about it, if you have a 10-person sales team, why only commend office record for most sales made in a day, week or month? Why not keep track of the personal record of every one of your employees? Imagine just how strong an incentive this could become. Work anniversaries are yet another thing to pay attention to, especially since they’re much easier to track.
5. Don’t allow them to get overworked
Finally, some people in your employ are workaholics who can never be persuaded to take a leave. Nevertheless, even though they’re highly-motivated, they’re at risk of getting overworked. Therefore, a good manager knows the limits of their staff even when the staff might be oblivious to it. Here, the greatest challenge for you is the ability to explain to them that they’re not actually being punished when they’re forced to take a leave. One of the ways to do it is to create a corporate culture where taking a leave is encouraged instead of being frowned upon.
At the very end, sometimes you will be forced to give a promotion or a raise. No matter how thoughtful you are and how friendly your employees are towards you, their career will simply come first. If they feel like they’re not going anywhere, they might feel down or even compelled to abandon you. Still, when it comes to a day-to-day or a week-to-week moral boost, the above-listed five hacks are more than enough for you to begin with.