As long as the basics are in place: a clean, bright, attractive and cheerful working environment, employees generally state that meaningful work and learning and professional growth are the two main motivators for them, and at least as important as financial rewards.
In the current climate, where it might be tough to offer a pay rise, this is good news. So what can you do as an employer?
Have a clear vision for your business and help employees understand how their personal contribution impacts it. Also encourage employees to share their interests and find ways that your organisation can contribute and support it. It may be sponsoring an event at their children’s school, or providing kits for their sports team, or having a volunteering day for their preferred charity.
Aside from financial rewards, just saying ‘thank you’ is a great way to keep employees happy. Focusing on what they’ve done well instead of what’s gone wrong. As the boss, you could write a personal letter once a month to a staff member who has gone out of their way to deliver, or you could have annual staff awards to celebrate achievements.
We all want to learn and develop and encouraging your employees to do so, will not only help them but help bring new ideas and ways of working back into your business. You can’t always pay for staff development, but perhaps you can give them study leave. You could also encourage them to shadow someone in another business and see how their role is done elsewhere.
Conferences are a great way of getting lots of bite sized learning in one day and can act as a team building and networking activity for your staff.
Lastly, if you have business books at home, why not bring them into the office and have a business library that employees can use.
If flexibility is an option for your business, why not let staff work from home once a month, or be able to work flexibly to meet their outside interests and responsibilities. Employees really appreciate this recognition of their life outside work and it improves their motivation.
Work should be fun, and we all get more done when work feels like play. Here’s a few ideas of how can you introduce fun into the workplace:
- Cake-baking competitions
- Having lunch together once in a while
- Dress down days
- Deciding to do a charity fun run together
There are of course many other things you could do. The only limit is your imagination!