Working at Full Bore: 5 Innovative Ways to Motivate Your Employees

Many employers seem to approach motivation as a low-priority idea that can generally be improved only by providing monetary incentives. While that works, it’s not necessarily the most effective way, and instead often leads to a company culture where competition is more important than collaboration. There are innovative ways to improve motivation that will actually create a better work environment, and without constant monetary rewards.

1. Bring Fun to Your Company

This may sound like you’re opening a door to “playtime” that would be counterproductive. The point is not to create a light-hearted approach to staff duties, but a way to unwind from them. Employees can get stressed from a long daily commute and pressures on the job. Giving them a way to de-stress and refocus is a good way to get things back on track and motivate employees, and even helps them to enjoy their jobs more. Something as simple as a ping pong table in the break room, emailing a daily joke, or a garden retreat can brighten up someone’s day.

2. Potluck Day

You may have already instituted Casual Friday as a policy for helping employees become more relaxed, but you could use other days to create a more enjoyable atmosphere. You could try Potluck Wednesday, encouraging employees to bring in their own dishes to share with others at lunch. You might have a best-dish contest for a restaurant gift certificate. This creates more opportunities for personal bonding. Inspiring unity among your staff helps to create an environment where teamwork comes more naturally. Communicate to even career-focused individuals that cooperation benefits themselves and the company.

3. Don’t Condemn Failure

Being creative and showing initiative can be risky. Even great ideas can fail if they don’t get company support, or due to market factors beyond anyone’s control. Even when good ideas for improving marketing or production fail, show appreciation for the effort. Drop those who are trying hard a little note to show that their ideas are appreciated. These little failures give both you and them a chance to learn. Punishing or vilifying those who make mistakes will only create a climate of fear where nobody is willing to show initiative.

4. The Four-Day Workweek

Asking employees to work a 10-hour day may seem excessive, but you’ll find that some will jump at the chance. They’ve been doing it in Europe for years. Completing that 40-hour week in four days gives them a day off that could mean a long weekend or a day in the middle of the week when employees can take care of personal or family matters. You can provide various schedule options to make things fair and ensure there’s always someone available. Employees will not only be happier, but less likely to request time off.

5. Start a Mentorship Program

Employees that consistently show great ideas and perform beyond expectations should be nurtured to provide even greater value to your company. You could start by assigning them projects or sending them to meetings and conferences for their input. Take the time to discover who they are and what they can do. Offering mentorship from yourself or senior staff during the process can provide you with more capable, loyal, and motivated employees.

Your company may not have the funds to dole out cash bonuses or other prizes to individuals as a regular strategy for motivation. There are many other ways to get them more engaged and motivated. Come up with ideas that produce a company culture where everyone is included, encouraged, and recognized for their efforts. Employees who feel that their presence and hard work is valued will be more likely to try even harder.

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