» Employee engagement: Do you need to break the bank?


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Employee engagement: Do you need to break the bank?


Does the thought of employee motivation and engagement costs boggle your mind?

Do you read the buzz about the latest employee perks at Silicon Valley’s tech companies or other media darlings and sigh in desperation? Are you discouraged at what appears to be the sheer thousands and thousands of dollars major companies spend each year in motivating and engaging their employees, telling yourself there is no way in (bleep!) you can get budget approval to do even just 1/16th of what you read?

Don’t despair. Employee motivation and engagement can be done on a budget—without it being perceived as cheap or hokey by the very people you are trying to stoke.

You don’t need to go big or go home

You see, managers often fall into a variety of different categories: from the ones who believe they need to fling money at employees (The bonuses! The salary hikes!) to those who figure they need to build Googleplex-like lounges (and gyms, and cafeterias, and..) and hold a bazillion contests for trips to the Bahamas.

And then, there’s the rest of us, scavenging what little budgets we have to put together and execute some sort of meaningful employee engagement strategy that will boost employee morale and performance.

So what’s the trick?

Whether you manage a contact center or a sales or customer service team, for example, there are several ways you can motivate and engage employees without resorting to crowdfunding or fundraising.

Ditch the bling bling

In fact, the first thing you need to remember is that it ain’t even about the moolah.  You don’t need to show ‘em the money. Sure, employees need to have fair salaries; that stands to reason. But you don’t motivate and engage employees in a sustainable fashion with money. In their study, If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right, Elizabeth Dunn and her colleagues demonstrated the link between money and happiness is very weak. The reason? The effects (read: semi-thrill) of receiving more money or even receiving material possessions (tablet, gift card, etc.) are fleeting and often forgotten. Did a 10% raise ever incite an employee to do more, to do better? Raise your hand if you have ever received a gift card—only to find it unused three years later.

Top FREEBIES to motivate your employees

Here are top three FREE ways to motivating and engaging employees without ending up in the poor house.

What’s the darn, REAL company vision? Poll your employees: do they know the company’s real vision—not the buzzword-laden fluffy vision statement found in the business plan. We’re talking about how your company envisions the future and how it wants to impact its industry. Employees need to feel as though their work is meaningful and contributing to creating something special.

What are the goals? Of course, we all have those main company goals of increasing revenues by X% for the year, or reducing customer service complaints by Y%. But what the heck does that mean for an employee’s day-to-day? Managers need to provide clear, attainable goals on a weekly basis. The reason? These shorter-term goals keep employees engaged all the time, because they are constantly at the top of their minds and they are achievable. What encourages you more in terms of your capacity to deliver: increasing the company’s revenues to $10 million this year or achieving $5000 this week? Bite-sized chunks, baby!

Where’s the feedback and recognition? If it hasn’t fallen into a dark hole already, has the feedback and recognition you’ve been giving employees been relegated to the Christmas party, annual gala or (ye gads!), an employee newsletter?

In a survey carried out among 669 company managers in various company sizes around the world, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer asked that they list, in order of importance, ways to motivate employees. The numero uno response? Recognition of work well done. Pats on the back, both in private and in front of colleagues/upper management, goes a looonnng way to getting employees more engaged at work.

Constructive feedback to help employees feel as though they are progressing in their personal development and role in your company is also your secret weapon for better motivation and performance. After all, if I am your employee, why should I bust my chops if my hard work, great ideas or amazing results get met with an eerie silence? If I am not doing something right, can you show me how I can improve without making me feel like a total loser?

These are just a few of the many simple, cost-effective ways you can increase your employees’ motivation and engagement. Want to learn more? Stay tuned for this post’s Parts 2, 3 and beyond—we’ve got a lot more to cover! Can’t wait? Download our free ebook on this very topic now!


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