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Motivate your employees without raising their pay (Part I)

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In the false theory, it is a costly mistake to get lost that more money equals happy employees. Believing this is costing you valuable time, revenue, employees...and even threatening your own job.

Cash will always be a major factor in motivating people and a solid compensation plan is critical to attracting and keeping key personnel. But the key is that additional cash is not always the only answer and in many cases not even the best answer.

Too many bonus or commission checks get cashed, spent and forgotten just that quickly. Grocery stores and gasoline stations are among the necessary stops thatseem to get in the way of using your extra cash on something special for you. One alternative to giving commissions or bonus dollars is to give gifts through a catalog point system.

The company you choose will provide you with catalogs, price sheets and point checks at no charge. The structure for your bonus plan can remain the same but instead of awarding cash to your employees you award equivalent points. Those points may then be used to purchase an enormous variety of gifts or travel plans from the catalog. The stimulation involved is long-lasting. It begins with the employee being able to browse the catalog choosing what they will strive to earn. The catalog acts as a tangible reminder of their goal. The gift itself will last as evidence of their achievements.

Whenever I have implemented this program, the employees are overwhelmingly in favor of the point system as opposed to cash. This type of program is very popular with employees because they purchase things they would never normally have the "money" to afford.

With solid compensation in place, let's look at non-monetary motivation...20 steps to success.

1. Recognition/Attention. When your employees accomplish something they have achieved something. Your recognition is appreciation for that achievement. I believe that most managers don't give enough recognition because they don't get enough. Therefore, it doesn't come natural to do it. If this applies to you, you need to drop this excuse like a bad habit! Become a giver! Look at the price. Recognition is free!

2. Applause. A form of recognition yes, but a very specific form. Physically applaud your people by giving them a round of applause for specific achievements. Where? When? The answer is wherever and whenever. At meetings or company-sponsored social gatherings, a luncheon, or in the office. At the end of a shift, before a shift, and whenever possible in the middle of a shift.

Using plaques or trophies is another effective way of applauding your people. Although "wooden applause" is often successfully used in the form of Employee of the Month plaques, more creative ideas are sorely underutilized. Take the time to be creative, matching special accomplishments with unique awards.

3. One-on-One Coaching. Coaching is employee development. Your only cost is time. Time means you care. And remember your people don't care how much you know... until they know how much you care.

Whenever the emphasis is on positive feedback, I make sure to do this coaching in "public." Whenever you recognize and encourage people in "public," it acts as a natural stimulant for others who are close enough to see or hear what's taking place.

4. Training. Is training ever finished? Can you possibly overtrain? NO and NO. For whatever reasons, too many people feel "My people have already been trained" or "I've got good people...they only need a little training." But training never ends. Schedule "tune- up" training sessions. These should be led by you or by a supervisor with help from specific employees who show a particular strength in the skills taught. I know this takes time, but these types of training sessions will continually enhance the performance of your people and the productivity of your business.

5. Career Path. Your employees need to know what is potentially ahead for them, what opportunities there are for growth. This issue is a sometimes forgotten ingredient as to the importance it plays in the overall motivation of people.

Set career paths within your organization. Do you promote from within? I hope you can answer yes to that. Although specific circumstances require you to look for talent outside your company you should always first consider internal personnel. If you do this you are sending a very positive message to every one that there are indeed further career opportunities within your organization.

6. Job Titles. When you talk about job titles you are tapping the self-esteem of people. How someone feels about the way they are perceived in the workforce is a critical component to overall attitude and morale. Picture a social gathering that includes some of your staff. The subject of work inevitably comes up. Will your people be proud, or embarrassed, to share their title and workplace? The importance of feeling proud of who you are and what you do is monumental.

Be creative as you think of possibilities for titles. Have your staff come up with ideas giving them input into the titles. Bottom line, you are dealing with pride...and pride enhances a positive attitude...and a positive attitude is the foundation for continuing success.

7. Good Work Environment. A recent industry study shows just how inaccurate your results can be. Employers were asked to rank what they thought motivated their peopleand then employees were asked to rank what really did motivate them.

Employers felt "working conditions" was a nine (or next to last) in terms of importance. What did the employees say? Number two! Working conditions are very important to the way employees feel about where they work.

Cosmetically, does your office look nice? Are there pictures on the walls, plants and fresh paint among other features that generally make people feel good about their environment? Does their work space have enough room or are they cramped in a "sardine can?" What about furniture? Is the desk the right size, chair comfortable? Is there file space and do they have the miscellaneous office supplies needed for maximum performance? Is the temperature regulated properly so they don't feel they're in the Amazon jungle one minute and the North Pole the next?

8. On-the-Spot Praise. This too is associated with recognition but the key here is timing. When there is a reason for praising someone don't put it off for any reason! Promptness equals effectiveness. Praise people when the achievement is fresh on everyone's mind.

What is effective is for us to get off our keisters and go out and tell whoever it is what a great presentation it was or applaud them for the sale...praise them promptly for what they accomplished or achieved! Don't allow time to creep in and snatch away any ounce of the positive impact that praise can have when it is delivered promptly. 

9. Leadership Roles. Give your people leadership roles to reward their performance and also to help you identify future promotable people. Most people are stimulated by leadership roles even in spot appearances. For example, when visitors come to your workplace use this opportunity to allow an employee to take the role of visitors guide.

A great place to hand out leadership roles is to allow your people to lead brief meetings. Utilize your employees' strengths and skills by setting up "tune up" training sessions and let one of your employees lead the training. The best time to do this is when new people start.

Or, assign a meeting leader after someone has attended an outside seminar or workshop. Have them lead a post show, briefing the other employees regarding seminar content and highlights. 

Have your employees help you lead a project team to improve internal processes.

10. Team Spirit. Have a picture taken on your entire staff (including you!), have it enlarged and hang it in a visible spot. Most people like to physically see themselves as part of a group or team.

When running contests in your area, try to create contests and affiliated activity that are team driven. People driving to reach goals together definitely enhance team spirit solely because they must lean upon others and be prepared to be leaned on.

One very effective idea for me has been building a collage of creative ideas with the "Team" theme. All employees are responsible for submitting a phrase referring to TEAM on a weekly rotation. Each of these ideas (such as TEAM: Total Enthusiasm of All Members or There is no I in Team) is placed on a wall, creating a collage of Team-oriented phrases. Don't have one person responsible for this...do it as a team. 

Source: http://managehrnetwork.blogspot.com