How to motivate employees without spending money

One of the largest assets to a company is their employees. Companies that routinely attract and hire good employees have learned it is in their best interest to make strides to keep your employees happy and motivated. However a motivated workplace does not come without a level of effort on the employer’s part.

If you, as an employer, can provide a motivating environment, chances are you’ll find your employees want to continue to want to work for you and dedicate themselves to doing a good job.

What follows are suggestions that a manager may choose to inspire and motivate their employees without spending a cent.


Offering compliments and giving your staff members acclaim where due is important. All too often managers take for granted the tasks their employees accomplish and forget to stop and show a few words of appreciation. Giving praise, offering a thank you and complimenting a job well done goes a long way in keeping employees motivated.

Select ‘employees of the month’ for various aspects of the job

Employees love to be recognized in this way because they know whatever they are doing is being appreciated. The constant competition also tends to keep workers on their toes which indirectly lifts the quality of the performance, the ultimate service to users and the reputation of the company.

Find out what employees enjoy

Another good tactic is to take the time to learn exactly what it your employees like and dislike about their jobs. If you find some tasks are interchangeable, why not try matching each employee to the kinds of work they like to do. When you have a group of employees who are truly happy with their daily tasks, you’ll see a huge improvement in inspiration and motivation.

Allow creative license

Many employees enjoy being able to take ownership over their work and include some amount of self-expression. Instead of offering bonuses, try using creativity as an incentive. For example, you could let your top salesperson pick the next ad slogan or let your most talented customer service representative create the layout for your company web page.

Give additional responsibilities

It may seem counter-intuitive, but employees often feel rewarded when they are given more complex work. People in general also appreciate being recognized as experts. A good way to recognize a talented employee is to make him or her the designated expert on a particular topic. When you encourage other employees to take questions and concerns to that person, you are not only decreasing your own workload; you are showing respect for that employee’s expertise.

Give time off

While this is theoretically an extrinsic reward it is a good one if your company can afford to give a few extra days off from time to time. Even if you can’t afford extra paid time off, perhaps even a few hours for a job well done can be offered. Your employees will appreciate the gesture.

In general terms, as long as the employee is made to feel valued, special and appreciated, they will feel motivated and inspired to do that little bit extra, well beyond their monetary worth, which can only benefit the establishment too.

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