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Is A Pay Increase The Only Way To Motivate Employees?

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A number of studies over the years have reported how money is a major sub-motivator when it comes to jobs. And even though money does put food on the table, it is often our intrinsic ambitions that truly motivate us.

Despite many employees agreeing to sign contracts based on how much they'll be making each month, money does not necessarily "buy" job satisfaction and there are many workplace factors people consider when deciding if they want to stick with their employer. One study, for example, revealed that a number of women as opposed to men wanted benefits like working from home and flexible hours.

Another survey also revealed that 61% people wanted more vacation days while 52% desired more diverse career opportunities. And it's not only something that they want, it ends up being a motivation factor.

For a fact, I believe certain organizations do not find it feasible to give pay raises. Luckily, a number of motivational strategies which you can start implementing today can significantly boost your employees' motivation levels. I have personally seen the effect these practices can have on an employee's morale and productivity level, so they are definitely worth a shot.

Here are a few factors which you use to your advantage to boost workplace motivation without having to give your employees a pay raise:

1. Always be Transparent

I was actually pleased to know how one survey discovered that the number one factor responsible for employee happiness is transparency, since this has been my experience as well. And even though you and I both understand and acknowledge how important pay raises and promotions are from an employee perspective, nothing motivates people to work better than knowing that they are not being kept in the dark.

People want to know the truth about their company, and they expect 100% transparency. For example, if I'm not in a position to give any of my employees a pay raise, I should let them know up front, rather than making false promises and later seeing disappointment slapping them right across the face. The employer/employee dialog always needs to be transparent if you want to keep your employees motivated and productive. Otherwise, don't be surprised to see them walking out on you when you least expect it.

One should be clear about everything, including policies, laws and expectations. Even some laws require employers to be transparent. The pensions regulator, for example, is one such law. Experts at Smart Pension say,

It is important that you auto enrol your employees on time and then submit a declaration of compliance.

They further add,

if you fail to comply with statutory notices, you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice.

If you do not wish to end up in hot water, make sure to make transparency a part of your policy.

2. Create a Career Progression Path

A study found that not extending the right developmental support to your staff like career mentoring and training opportunities will encourage them to leave the organization and transition to those that offer more meaningful career paths.

I can't stress enough on the importance of organizations sitting their employees down to have discussions on career planning and show them a projected path. There is nothing worse than an employee doing the same mundane tasks day in and day out with no words of encouragement or motivation from their employer, or even being reminded from time to time what prize the end goal leads to.

Employees should never feel that they're stuck in an "assembly line" job and only doing what the company expects them to do and then leave. Show them how their efforts will be rewarded and come through when it is time to send them higher up the corporate ladder.

3. A Work Environment that's Abuzz with Motivation

I talked about how it's important to consider giving employees flexible work hours and work-from-home privileges. This improves work-life balance and motivates people to work harder.

To really compliment this, you should consider looking at some of your workplace environmental factors. For example, proper ventilation, cleanliness and adequate lighting are some of the factors that not only boost productivity and general peace of mind but also motivation levels. If I'm going to work knowing that there's a half-broken monitor or keyword I have to make do with, or lighting that needs to be improved in order to cut down eyestrain, I don't think I'll be as motivated to maintain my productivity level on a daily basis as I should.

Such a thing may even result in depression or stress. Fitness experts at Ryderwear say,

Chronic stress - which lasts over long period of time and produces a strong endocrine response in the body - can put a major crimp in your performance.

And there are many reports that suggest the same.

We human beings rarely like to step out of our comfort zones and when we do, for instance, going to work, we expect the environment to at least be ergonomically friendly and properly equipped in order to promote motivation. A number of things that can help include:

- Positive feedback, whenever possible. It can be in the form of 'employee of the month' or a pat on the back.

- Picnics, dinner vouchers etc. for top performance.

- Allowing socialization and encouraging friendly behaviour.

- Having a complaint box and also listening to employees' needs.

To sum it up, while money is important it is not the only factor that motivates people. This is the reason why many employees will choose a job that pays less over a job that pays more. However, remember that there is no rule of thumb since individuals are different and react differently. While one employee may be motivated by difficult tasks, the other may be motivated by tasks that are easier. The manager should understand each employee and plan accordingly.

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