Research has shown that employees aren't motivated by financial rewards as much as they are having opportunities to develop personally and professionally. That's good news! It means you don't have to worry about hefty bonuses and salary increases as the only way to improve employee engagement. It also means that it's worth taking some time to find the most effective ways to motivate your staff if you want your employees to feel satisfied and happy in the workplace. It is this motivation that will inspire staff members to work harder, to strive to improve and ultimately stay longer in your organisation.

Positive verbal encouragement

Individual encouragement, positive feedback or simply saying "Thanks for your hard work!" shows your employees they are valued in the organisation. It can be easy to forget to regularly comment on their performance and show them how their contribution links to the wider success of the company, so if you have to, set a reminder! Don’t wait for an end of year review to thank and celebrate your staff for their achievements, try to thank them briefly at the end of every shift if you're able to do so.

Positive written feedback

As we've mentioned in this post about how introverts are best managed at work, some people feel uncomfortable receiving praise verbally, and it may be better received written down in an email, on a feedback form, or maybe even in a card. You don't have to go to a lot of trouble or write an essay, but giving somebody a note or card they can take home or display somewhere on their desk will go a long way to reminding them their work is valued.

Early finish on a Friday

If staff have been working particularly hard on a project, send them home an hour or two early on a Friday or another day that suits your company. If the end of the day is a busy time for you, then try offering employees a later start one day, or maybe an extra long lunch break. This could become a regular monthly or weekly event if you see that it keeps your staff motivated, or save it as something you save as a special thanks for hard work every now and again.

Wellness breaks

Show your staff you care by organising occasional wellness breaks. This could be anything from a lunchtime massage or a yoga class you pay for, to an afternoon off at a spa. If this sounds like it could stretch your budget a little too far, it's worth just asking your employees what they find relaxing, it could be as simple as reading a book, going for a walk or listening to some classical music, and you should investigate how you can make this a reality for them during one of their break times.

Volunteering

Offering your staff the opportunity to volunteer during work hours can help them feel they are doing good and learning new skills. It also gives them the impression that you think they have worthy skills that others will benefit from. You could consider group volunteering days for the whole team, which is a great team-building idea, or you could give individual staff a certain allowance of days or hours to spend volunteering wherever they like. Either way, helping others can be a really rewarding experience and can both motivate staff and help them learn new skills which they can apply at work too.

About the author

Jen Lowthrop is Findmyshift's own all-star writer and a blogger. With more than a decade of experience in volunteer management and marketing, Jen also ran her own local deli/cafe. When not writing for Findmyshift, Jen blogs about her travels at She Gets Around and can be found talking about travel, branding and business on Facebook and Twitter.