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15 Ways to Motivate Employees Without Spending Money

The Connection Between Workplace Culture, Employee Performance, and Motivation 

Every business owner and manager understands that a company is only as strong as its workforce. On the one hand, an organization that’s rife with toxic interpersonal relationships and unhappy employees is bound to produce shoddy, inconsistent, and suboptimal results. A workplace that has a supportive atmosphere and a strong feeling of camaraderie, on the other hand, is virtually guaranteed to produce high levels of employee satisfaction and productivity. The overall character of the employee experience is often referred to as the culture of a workplace. 

There are a wide variety of factors that either contribute to or degrade the quality of workplace culture. Take employee feedback, for example. When an employer makes a consistent effort to provide his or her employees with honest and constructive feedback, that’s usually a reliable indicator of a strong workplace culture. A workplace in which employees only very rarely receive feedback from managers, however, is probably one that’s in need of a change.  

Perhaps the best way for managers to cultivate a strong workplace culture – and thereby to improve productivity, efficiency, and overall satisfaction within the workplace – is to develop and implement strategies for motivating employees. In other words, managers have the ability to improve the quality of their employees’ experience as well as their performance by simply finding new and creative ways to motivate them to be at their best every day.  

15 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated 

Obviously, the simplest way to motivate employees would be to provide them with a financial incentive, such as a raise or a bonus. But of course, the vast majority of business owners and managers cannot afford to offer every one of their employees a bonus every time they saw a marked improvement in their performance. Instead, managers should make it their goal to keep their employees motivated without offering a financial reward. Sounds tricky, we know, but there are actually more ways of achieving this than you might think. 

Here are fifteen easy and proven ways to motivate your employees without spending money: 

  • Make an effort to get to know them as individuals. Employees tend to feel much more valuable and motivated to perform at their best when they feel personally recognized by their boss.
  • Offer flexible work options. A recent study found that more than 70% of employees reported higher levels of satisfaction after being offered flexible work arrangements. 
  • Make time for face time. Whenever possible, you should aim to connect with your employees face-to-face, even if that’s just over video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts.
  • Offer company perks. Even “small” benefits like gym or yoga studio discounts can improve the health and wellbeing of your employees, which can subsequently lead to increased productivity in the workplace. 
  • Provide training and educational opportunities. Arranging workplace events or seminars that are aimed at teaching your employees valuable new skills will demonstrate that you’re committed to their personal and professional growth. 
  • Ask your employees for their input. The next time that you’re considering a new workplace policy, event, or incentive program, try engaging your employees in the process. This will make it much more likely that you’ll end up with results that everyone (or at least most people) will be happy with. 
  • Acknowledge individual accomplishments. Recognizing an employee’s specific contributions in front of his or her peers is virtually guaranteed to increase feelings of harmony, satisfaction, and motivation in the workplace.
  • Focus on optimizing the work-life balance. A healthy balance between life inside and outside of work has been unequivocally shown to improve employee performance and productivity. 
  • Maintain an “Open Door” Policy. One of the most effective ways to build a thriving workplace culture is to encourage free and open communication between leadership and employees at all levels. You can set the example, here, by allowing your employees to approach you directly if and when they encounter obstacles in their work. 
  • Provide your employees with opportunities for growth. As managers, it’s important that we seize every possible opportunity to allow our employees to take the lead (when they’re ready) with projects or presentations. This will ensure that our workforce becomes stronger and more capable with time. 
  • Cultivate (and communicate) a strong sense of purpose. It’s crucial that your employees understand the why that’s driving the organization forward. In other words: What are the guiding ethical principles and values that the company stands behind and is working to spread out into the world? 
  • Be honest and encouraging. Employees can usually tell when they’re managers are giving them disingenuous or dishonest feedback. It also never does any good to anyone for managers to be unnecessarily critical of their employees. So when you’re speaking to an employee about his or her performance, always make it your goal to be as direct and inspirational as possible. After all, the goal with feedback is to build employees up, not to break them down. 
  • Give your employees more autonomy. A manager who’s constantly breathing down the neck of his or her employees is basically communicating that they do not trust their own team. This, obviously, is not great for morale. Instead, focus on cultivating a feeling of competence in your employees by gradually giving them greater levels of autonomy. 
  • Provide your employees with food and beverages throughout the day. It’s difficult to overstate just how strong of an impact a fresh pot of coffee or free snacks can have on workplace productivity throughout the day.
  • Lead by example. The best way to create an inspired and motivated workforce is to embody those qualities – such as industriousness, open-mindedness, and inclusiveness – that you’d like to see in every one of your employees. 

Add Top Talent to Your Workforce Today! 

Are you ready to find local job candidates who will be a perfect fit for your workplace culture and mission? If so, the professionals at Patel Consultants Corporation are standing by and ready to get you started. Email Nick Malefyt at or contact our office today!