Are your employees looking to make a mass exodus because they haven’t gotten a bonus or a raise? Are you struggling to keep them employed and the checks from bouncing and there simply isn’t any money left over for a raise or bonus? How to motivate employees when you don’t have cash is a question that many business owners struggle with.
There are other ways to “thank” employees and recognize them for a job well done even if there isn’t additional cash in the bank account with which to do that. You can use these incentives for staff, vendors and contractors alike.
How To Motivate Employees When You Don’t Have Cash
- A long weekend. If you have an employee — or several employees that go above and beyond, offer them an additional day off to make it a long weekend. Let them choose if they want Friday or Monday and let them enjy a three day weekend.
- Provide flex time options. This may be tricky if you need to cover a store front or phones for a certain number of hours a day, but if you have employees who can work with one another to make it work, offer flex time. Let employees work four ten hour days or come in earlier and leave earlier or come in later and leave later. As long as the business is covered for customer service, this is a very attractive perk.
- “Thank you!” Send a company wide email thanking an employee. Hang a “Thank you” sign in a space where everyone can see. Add details to the “thank you” so the staff knows why their coworker was singled out.
- Let them take time off work to volunteer. If the company or the individual has a pet non profit to which they’d like to give back, offer time to let them do that.
- Let them attend networking or trade events to get new training or the chance to learn a new skill. Alleviate boredom and let them learn a new skill and they may be happier and more satisfied at work.
Plan a company picnic. Have everyone bring a dish to pass and get out of the office for an afternoon. If you have the space outside, invest in a picnic table and let employees eat lunch out of doors as a change of scenery.
What can you do to incentivize employees without spending cash that you simply don’t have?
If you have employees or have had employees you know they can make or break your business. This is especially true if they are the face of the business — sales reps or your receptionist or other office staff. In order to help your business thrive and keep your employees engaged and motivated you can coach employees to success and it’s a win-win for you and them.
Coach Employees To Success
Coaching is a different way in which to not only interact with your employees but to help them develop and grow into their full potential; when they do that, your business will be the beneficiary. If you’re like most employers, you meet with your employees quarterly or maybe only annually. You do a performance review, shake hands and you both go about your business until the next meeting. Do you discuss areas for improvement? Does your employee mention tht he or she would like to do more or learn more and ultimately earn more? Do you listen when they tell you that? How do you respond?
Here are some ways to not only review employee performance but to coach them to higher levels of success and productivity:
- Build a relationship in which they feel you trust them and that they can trust you to keep your word. If your employees don’t trust you, they will always be operating from a place of fear.
- Have an open door policy. This is a way to let your employees know they don’t have to wait until a situation is ready to implode before they approach you. Start any conversation with an employee — especially a coaching session — in an open manner and without accusation or reprisal.
- Don’t leave the meeting until there is agreement between the two of you. Whether your coaching your employee into a different role within the business or whether you need to course correct, make certain you’re both on the same page. Make your employee feel comfortable enough to say, “I don’t agree” or “I don’t understand” or “How about we try it this way?”
- Look for alternative options. If you can’t come to an agreement, it may be time to look for alternatives. Whether you feel it’s time for you and the employee to part ways or whether you feel it’s a working relatioship that can be salvaged and further rapport built, the coaching sessions will allow you to make that decision. Ultimately, it’s what’s best for the health of your company, not personal feelings.
- At the end of the coaching session, put next steps into place and set deadlines. Set up metrics for success. Schedule your next meeting.
Do you coach your employees or do you dictate how things will work? If you aren’t certain how to begin a coaching program with your employees, reach out and let us know. We can help!
Have you ever wondered how can you motivate employees without cash? It’s a Catch 22 for many entrepreneurs; they’re worried about breaking the bank and they also worry about losing great employees. If your employees are being lured away by the promise of more cash at a competitor business, you need to find a way to keep those employees without putting your business in the red.
How Can You Motivate Employees Without Cash?
- Flexibility. Many employees would prefer a flexible work schedule to a raise. Can you offer a later start time or an earlier leave time? What about allowing an employee to work four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days? Could you make that work? What if your employee needs time off for a doctor’s appointment or to go to their child’s school play? Can you be flexible with time off requests?
- Offer autonomy and allow them to “own” their job. Don’t micromanage. Give your employees a task and trust they will complete it at the level of expertise you expect of your staff.
- Offer praise. If an employee goes “above and beyond” make note of that and share that with your other employees. Implement a “refer a colleague” program in which a staff member points out when another does a great job or performs an act of kindness.
- Build community within the firm. Even if your employees are scattered in various locations, build community by fostering conversations across the locations. Host get-togethers if feasible.
- Offer life long learning opportunities. If your employees are always learning — whether job-related or focused on a passion project (knitting, gardening, auto repair) they will be achieveing a work-life balance and will also be pursuing a passion outside of work — that you have provided them.
What do you do to keep good employees from leaving? What incentive programs have you found that have worked? What hasn’t? We’d love to know.
Ways Your Business Can Give Back
As an entrepreneur have you ever wondered what ways your business can give back to the community? It is a thought that many entrepreneurs have, especially at the end of the year. What can you do to help the community without breaking the bank and your business budget?
Here are a few ways you, your business and your employees can give back:
- Host a company wide food donation or clothing donation drive. Shelters are in need of food and clothing donations year round, but especially at the holidays. You could also ask employees to donate new, unwrapped toys that a shelter could give away to children. Choose a charitable organization to donate to, set up a donation center and let the giving begin.
- Find a worthy cause that your employees can embrace and set up a cash donation fund for them. Have employees donate their “coffee money” for a month. Collect loose change. Find a donation that has an online way to contribute and ask employees to donate in your company name.
- Collect items to send to the troops overseas. Contact a local Veterans administration office and ask what items are on a soldier’s wishlist and set up a collection box.
- Organize a company-wide blood drive.
- Take a day off for volunteerism. If you or your staff supports a local organization, take a day off and volunteer at that organization.
- Giving Tuesday (November 29) is a way in which anyone, across the country, can get involved and give to the charity of their choice.
Remember, your employees should know that any of this giving is optional. We’ll bet you and your staff will feel great for having donated or volunteered this holiday season for those less fortunate. Do you have ways in which you and your business give back? We’d love to hear about it.
Control Email Madness
The advent and introduction of email at work was a boon to those business colleagues who wanted to get in touch but couldn’t because it was after hours — or for myriad other reasons. Picking up the phone could take much longer than sending off an email. Having an email conversation trail is also a good way to keep track of a project or to cover one’s behind if something goes awry. Email, however has become a burden to many business owners and they are looking for a way to control email madness. This, I believe, starts at the top level of management. If you, as the business owner, are diligent in controlling emails, then your staff will likely follow suit. You may also find it beneficial to put a company wide email procedure in place to cut back on the number of emails that are sent and that you receive.
Here are some ways to control email madness:
- Make certain employees don’t continually use “reply all” when it’s not necessary.
- Tell your employees to refrain from sending cute puppy or kitten videos to staff.
- Implement a subject line naming protocol. For example rather than saying, “Meeting notes” you could and perhaps should write “Meeting notes from ABC Planning Session on 10.13.16” Be specific. If you have regular meetings on ongoing topics, come up with an abbreviated naming convention. This makes it easy to sort the messages and to retrieve a string when necessary.
- Talk with your employees. This may eliminate the need for multiple emails if you have an actual face-to-face conversation.
- Make certain your employees don’t use company email for personal business.
When there are emotionally charged issues in the workplace, do not address them in an email. Emotionally charged issues need to be addressed in person; there are no nuances in a written missive an a low level issue can quickly escalate.
Is your company undergoing changes? Is there a change in the packaging of your products? Are you adding new product lines to your offerings and discontinuing others? Do you have a change in the upper level management or ownership of the company? In addition to addressing how these changes will impact your staff, you need to understand how a company change will impact your clients.
Remember, in the overall scheme of things your clients may not be impacted at all because you are planning for a seamless transition, but the perception will be there that, “things are changing and this may not be good for us.” You need to allay those fears. How can you do that? Here are some steps to consider:
- Ensure that the team, especially those who interact with clients daily, are equipped to fully communicate with clients on the changes that are occurring. They need to have all of the information at hand that will alleviate fear and stress from their clients.
- Set aside a time to meet with clients — either individually — or in a group cocktail (or other) kind of gathering to share your excitement with them about the upcoming changes.
- Celebrate the successes of the transition in the company and its team. Keep everyone in the loop as this will make it easier for them to share in the excitement of the changes and that will resonate with clients when your staff meets with them.
How did you handle a time of change in your business?