The art of keeping employees motivated and happy to work at your company can seem like a daunting task when traditional options of bonuses and extra PTO don’t work. In fact, the Harvard Business Review published an article detailing that not only do traditional incentive program not produce significant changes in long-term behavior, but can inadvertently damage an employee’s motivation and commitment to a company. It explains that while using a monetary reward may lead to short term boost in productivity, it won’t address any underlying problems such as low job satisfaction or unproductive interpersonal relationships.

Instead, if you want to have truly motivated employees who care about the company’s cause and culture, then creative rewards and gaining a deeper understanding of what employees want in a job beyond payment will help get you there. For example, depending on how your office is designed, try rewarding a valued employee with a low maintenance plant to brighten up their cubicle. Numerous scientific studies, such as a recent one at the University of Exeter, have shown that not only does taking care of a plant reduce stress, but it can actually boost productivity. Another easy to implement reward is giving a hard-working employee a voucher to sleep in for a morning or take off early in the afternoon (without the use of PTO). This would show that not only do you appreciate and recognize their efforts, but also care about their health and well-being. Another reward that has been on the rise recently is assisting employees with traveling abroad. One program called Remote Year centers around providing employees with an ability to work remotely with other professionals in various cities around the world. This leads to experiencing things they could never be exposed to at home and bringing back new perspectives from the people they meet to help enliven the business.

While these are just a few examples the key to rewarding employees effectively is taking the time to understand what they want to feel fulfilled. Ultimately while everyone needs some financial incentive to work at a job in order to pay for their personal needs, many will stay at their job if they feel emotionally invested and valued by their co-workers and employers. One excellent book that goes greater into detail on how to identify what motivates employees is Gary Chapman & Paul White’s 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. The book explains the powerful impact that effective appreciation can have for your business while also teaching you methods for identifying what will and won’t work when you are trying to communicate your appreciation.

If you are looking for help in your own business in how to creatively and effectively motivate your employees to reach out to one of our consultants at the A Z Advisory Group. We have worked with a plethora of companies in identifying not only what motivates employees, but also how companies can invest in their employees to make the most out of their workforce.

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