How can you motivate employees when you don’t have financial resources to inspire them, beyond basic salaries? There are several ways to foster teamwork and innovation—keeping staff enthused to not only continue working hard for your company, but to turn out innovative results and stay with you for years to come.
1. Shove them out the door. It’s a well-known fact that when employees have a happy work/life balance, they are better at both. As a leader, you need to not only say (through a policy or verbally) that you encourage people to keep sensible work hours, but you also need to show them that you mean it. Call "quitting time" with a surprise happy hour in the kitchen, or have a planned event every Friday afternoon to signify the end of the week for employees. Let them know it’s O.K. to leave afterward.
2. Encourage employees to pursue hobbies outside of work and to share their adventures and accomplishments on a blog, internal newsletter, or during a staff meeting. Inspire them by offering a monthly list of things to do around town or by having employees contribute their own ideas. The pursuit of other interests can lead to new ideas for work.
3. Foster competition outside the office. Inspire healthy habits and bonding by starting a competition among staff that has nothing to do with work. It could concern a monthly photo competition or who runs the most races during the year. Maybe it’s a weight-loss challenge or a cooking challenge. Less competitive options such as a book club or employee-contributed cookbook can also work. This can help staff get to know one another better as individuals outside of work, as well as bond over shared interests. And that can lead to camaraderie and improved communication at work.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.