5 Great tips to boost employee motivation – without increasing their pay

Wednesday July 1, 2020

With the recently announced staggered minimum wage increase you could be faced with low staff morale and productivity issues.

Times have been tough for all of us throughout 2020 – beginning with the bushfire season and now the continuing challenges of COVID-19. These significant national events have hurt us emotionally and financially so it’s only natural for some staff to be counting on an imminent pay rise to help them make ends meet.

Income is also seen as a reward for effort and as recognition for a job well done. This means any delay in receiving a pay rise, or a pay freeze for staff who are paid above the Award, could be viewed as a “slap in the face” for your employees’ hard work and conscientious efforts.

How do you motivate employees in a non-financial manner?

To answer this, we turn to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which proposes people are driven to achieve particular needs. Once a need is fulfilled, the person moves on to the next one. Having paid work generally fulfils lower order needs to have food, shelter, security and stability.

Once these are fulfilled, a person moves on to higher-order needs such as social (the need to belong), esteem and self-actualisation needs. These needs are vital to providing non-financial means of motivation.

Here are 5 great tips to boost employee motivation without increasing their pay.

  1. Say ‘Thank you’

Acknowledging the efforts of your employees, both in-person and publicly within your business, can be motivating. Take it a step further and let employees nominate team members they would like to thank or praise.

  1. Make work fun

Big tech giants like Google and Facebook are known for their cool workplaces. They’ve realised environment and culture are important motivators. It doesn’t have to cost a bomb either. Start with a ‘Social and Wellness Committee’ using representatives from across your organisation to plan low cost social and wellness activities for the business.

  1. Challenge employees

Giving employees the opportunity to develop new skills, take on new responsibilities or expand their role can motivate them – as long as they aren’t stretched to the point of failure (which would have the opposite effect).

  1. Create a sense of belonging

People have a psychological need to belong, to feel a sense of security and purpose. You can easily do this by developing a workplace culture where employees believe:

  • They are an integral part of your business
  • Their contribution is valued and important to the future success of the business
  1. Offer flexibility

Work-life balance is one of the top things many employees hope for at work, and it’s an affordable option. Even giving employees a small amount of flexibility with regard to where and how they work, with outcome-based expectations, can help employees become more motivated, trusted and consequently more productive.

We understand many business owners are under pressure financially but one way to help your business turn around is to look after your staff. If they are productive and engaged in helping your business, everyone will thrive.

To get a handle on the impact of the Annual Wage Review on your business, or to identify programs and practices to non-financially motivate your employees, give us a call.



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