Become an employee motivating machine.

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Become an employee motivating machine.

Every business owner or entrepreneur struggles with this at one point or another.  Whether you are cash strapped or have the cash but it’s still not incentivizing your employees, we’re always looking for ways to help ramp up the employee motivation level.

I came across a great article on with nine ways to motivate your employees without using cash.  I took a few minutes to examine her list and compare with what I’ve done and the results.

  1. Be generous with praise.  This is something my managers excel at.  All too often we remember to correct or criticize, but never praise or encourage.  In 2011, my managers implemented “thank you” emails and staff meeting “shout outs” thanking or praising an employee who went above and beyond, helped a co-worker, got great feedback from a client, completed a difficult project, etc.  We’ve had a great response and we plan on continuing these emails and shout outs indefinitely.
  2. Get rid of the managers. This is something I haven’t tried, and something I don’t think I would.  While I understand that the author of the article is telling us to empower the staff members on the team, I feel that a project manager can easily empower team members to take ownership of each segment of a project they are working on.  But this method may very well work wonders for some.
  3. Make your ideas theirs. This is simply flipping how you say what you would like done.  No one likes to take orders- on this the author and I are in complete agreement.  Instead of giving a task, instead ask them in a way that makes them feel that they are collaborating.
  4. Never criticize or correct.  For me, this is a tough one.  When someone on my team makes a mistake, they need to accept responsibility.  Granted, there is no finger pointing or yelling involved, but depending on the severity of the mistake, we meet to determine what went wrong and how this can be prevented in the future, and we work hard to make sure those meetings are positive and not negative.
  5. Make everyone a leader.  One of the things we do best is we allow employees to come up with and set their own yearly goals.   It allows them to take ownership of their work and demonstrate leadership when hitting their goal.
  6. Take an employee to lunch.  A simple yet effective idea.  I take my staff out to lunch occasionally and we always have holiday lunches together, but I think this is a fantastic idea.  It doesn’t have to be a formal sit down lunch; you can grab a bite to eat at the local diner or even bring back sandwiches from the deli to eat in your office.  It’s the thought that counts.
  7. Give recognition and small rewards. We recently had our staff members create overall goals that they could hit.  These goals range from individual goals such as if a client converts to our Instant Payroll® product the representative gets reserved parking to team goals such, if the customer service staff has no payroll mistakes for a month or if all accounts are correctly reconciled at the end of the day for two weeks we host a pizza party.  These have been great motivators so far and I encourage all my colleagues to have their staff come up with similar incentive programs.
  8. Throw company parties. This is a great suggestion and reminded me to refocus our efforts on this for 2012.  While we host bi-weekly Friday BBQ’s in the summer and a holiday outing each winter, we need to make more of an effort as a team to go on winter events such as happy hour or bowling.
  9. Share the rewards- and the pain. Another great idea. We absolutely celebrate the milestones, but more often forget to celebrate or mark the smaller but no less important accomplishments, even if we just acknowledge them with an email.


Well, after reading the article through, I’m happy with the way my company stacks up against these 9 action items, but I’m definitely going to implement random lunches with my staff, and I’m anxious to tackle some of these items with renewed vigor.  How did your company measure up?  Will you do anything differently at your office as a result?