There are many ways you can motivate your team.  it is easy to use money since it is universally desired and appreciated, even if it isn’t always the best or most effective motivational tool.

Smart managers use a diversity of methods to motivate employees.  As powerful as money can be, you need to mix things up and keep your team motivated.  Here are three ways that you can use that don’t involve money:

#1 Find Out What Motivates Them Personally

Your employees are truly different and have different needs and expectations for their job.  Everyone has different goals, ambitions and dreams.  Through feedback sessions and one-on-one private conversations with your employees, find out what motivates them individually and then work that into your future plans for team motivation.

Begin with a simple question, “What motivates you at work?”

For example, some may be concerned about advancement opportunities.  Therefore, they may be more motivated by having the experience of leading a special project team that will qualify them for future job growth.

#2 Consider a Casual Dress Day

Don’t underestimate the power of casual dress, especially if your work environment requires business casual or professional attire for all employees.  Unless employees have an image to maintain with customers or clients, appearance is important, but not as important as great results. Casual dress one day a week is easy to offer and fun to receive.

#3 Focus On Motivators Not Related to Work

Another great motivational tool that can be used that has nothing to do with money is to focus on motivators that are not directly related to work.  Think about possible prizes and opportunities that exist outside of the boundaries of your job.  Offering tickets to a movie, bowling or even gift cards to a local restaurant or shopping mall can truly go a long way in motivating your employees towards a higher level of success. (And yes, it costs money to purchase these incentives, but the affect of a fun reward is different than just getting money.)

There is clearly an abundance of different ways that you can use to creatively motivate your employees.   Money is a tool but you have to be able to effectively use all the other resources in your arsenal to motivate others.

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Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

3 Responses to 3 Creative Ways to Motivate That Don’t Cost Money
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  2. Great ways Mark! We need to craft our leadership style around those we’re leading. If we don’t, it will be hard to motivate our teams.

  3. I personally think that gift cards have more umph than simple cash rewards. It shows that some thought went into the bonus, perk, or prize.

    For instance, let’s say your front-line manager is a fishing enthusiast; a gift card to Bass Pro sends a completely different message than a sticky note attached to a fifty that says “treat yourself”.


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