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How to motivate employees? 10 sure-fire tips to motivate your employees for free

Updated on April 28, 2012
Motivating your employees will reap you immense benefit including increased productivity and profitability
Motivating your employees will reap you immense benefit including increased productivity and profitability | Source

Having a strong and motivated workforce is every company's dream. But as we all know, that is easier said than done. Motivating employees needs planning, technique and money. If you are a manager or a boss and looking for inexpensive, cheap or even free ways to motivate employees, read on. We've laid out simple yet effective ways that pack a punch, are light on the budget and motivate employees to the brim!

1) Have a weekly reward system for your staff

You can motivate employees by developing a periodical reward system for your team members. For example, simply ask everyone to vote for the employee with the best performance during the fortnight and ask everyone to send in votes. The winner can either get a free meal voucher, a massage voucher or something on similar lines. The prize does not have to be expensive.

2) Have team outings

A great way to motivate your employees without spending any money is to have team outings where all the team members have an equal contribution. This outing can be in the form of a picnic at the park, a dinner, a fun night out or something on similar lines. Team bonding itself is considered to be a strong motivating factor for employees and staff because it helps them develop a sense of belonging in the company and its people.

3) Offer a half day off

If you have a business where an employee's time spent does not directly equate to the amount of revenue earned, surprising an employee by giving them the rest of the day off is a top motivational tool. It is really not going to cost you or the business any money if there is little work for that employee to do in the day. For example, you can give your hard working accountant a half-day off after he/she has finished finalizing the reports and accounts for end of month. Accountants work overtime at month end and surprising them with a half day off will be a great way to motivate your employees.

4) Delegate authority

You really can't go wrong with this motivational technique that has been used by employers, manager and bosses ever since. Employees, especially the ones who are good at their jobs love to command authority and respect within their work colleagues. If you think that one of your staff members is doing exceptionally well in their role, offer them more tasks with increased responsibility and authority. They will beam with pride and a sense of achievement. As a cautionary note, make sure that you use this technique to motivate employees with discretion. Increased authority in the wrong hands can hurt you and the company.

5) Allow work flexibility

Allowing work flexibility is another tried and tested technique to motivate employees. It generally means that trusted and well performing employees are allowed a little more flexibility in terms of work and work timings than their colleagues. Whether it is working from home, dialing-in on a laptop during their commute on the train or simply flexibility in work hours, these little yet significant steps of flexibility and freedom will go a long way in motivating your staff.

6) Call the big bosses in for a motivating speech

It is generally considered that words of inspiration and motivation from the bosses' mouth can generally inspire and motivate employees. If you are a manager in a company, calling in the company's Executive Heads or even CEO or the COO for a quick speech of recognition for your team's performance will do the trick. Make sure that you brief the invited personality on the intricacies of your team and maybe even get them to praise an outstanding team member personally in front of their colleagues.

7) Formal recognition for outstanding performance

How much would making a certificate cost you or your company? Well, nothing really. And that's exactly how much it will take to motivate your employees if you decide to give certificates and formal recognition for outstanding performance. This is a great motivating factor for employees because they can get to boast about this formal appreciation in their resumes and career highlights.

8) Closed door meetings that shower praise on individuals

It is considered risky to constantly shower a particular individual with verbal praise in front of their colleagues because it may cause jealousy and hatred amongst other team members. To avoid unnecessary complication, you can invite the good performing employees for a one-on-one meeting behind closed doors to praise them for their outstanding performance, hard work and commitment to their jobs. Ask them questions like "Do you have any suggestions?" or "What are your thoughts regarding this business strategy?" to make them feel involved and a part of the business.

9) Offer in-house training with a formal recognition

Training is often considered by companies as a way of educating, informing and motivating staff. As a manager or a boss, you must remember that the few hours that you spend training your team are literally a cost-free long term investment. To top it off, you can even add these hours in an employee's 'official training' record to show that your business is taking active steps to keep its employees up-to-date. The employees on the other hand, will learn skills and techniques that will help boost productivity at work. You can even offer a letter of acknowledgement to all employees which states that they have undergone training in a niche or specific subject.

10) Give appropriate job titles

As cheesy as this sounds, most companies and businesses indulge in this practice of motivating employees by giving them job titles that are specific to their role. For example, an individual who is an assistant to one of the executive heads in your business can be given the job title "Assistant to executive head" rather than a mere title of "Secretary". A specific and a well thought job title will give your employees a sense of pride and will motivate them to feel more connected to their own job position.


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    • Dancilla profile image


      6 years ago from El Paso

      These are some great advice. Great hub. Voted up.

    • tutsthoughts profile image


      7 years ago

      I have similar ideas and love your approach when it comes to motivating people. I have written a similar article that touches on the subject of empowering employees. Also, I love that I found your article and the fact nowhere does is refer to employees as subordinates. This term is demeaning in it's nature and I stay miles away from it when dealing with the people I manage.

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago


      I'm glad this hub gave you more ideas. I hope you can implement some of these and find them useful. Thanks for reading and commenting!


    • cherylone profile image

      Cheryl Simonds 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Very informative hub. I enjoyed reading it and it gave me a great deal of ideas. Thanks for sharing.


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