Motivating Your Team Without Raises

Lately, it seems that in many workplaces it is easy to claim that the Millennials (Generation Y) are the only employees that need or seek out recognition for the work they are doing while the older generations are just appreciative that they have a job. Millennials are the youngest generation in the workplace right now, and it's commonly said that since they received participation ribbons for every event, they need more hand holding, more acknowledgement, and quicker rewards. The reality is that every generation has their own motivational needs and each individual's needs are different.

Motivation is what makes us do what we do each and every day. It is a stimulus or incentive that is typically positive and encourages us to do our work efficiently. Motivation keeps us interested, makes the day more enjoyable, and promotes hard work. There are many motivators in the office, including recognition from peers/managers, job growth, opportunities to develop skills, and raises. But there are also plenty of demotivates, like grumpy co-workers, lack of communication, micro management, and slow timelines.

Each team is made up of different generations, different personalities, and different work ethics. It really is a juggling act to keep an entire team motivated at all times. But here's what we do know about rewards: people repeat behavior that is rewarded, and people avoid behavior that is punished. If you are looking for ways to keep your team happily motivated through projects but you're not in the position to give raises, here are a few ideas:

  • Allow them to participate in decision-making: Big or small, they will feel that they have contributed to something bigger than their position.
  • Provide them with greater job freedom: Allowing a flexible lunch schedule can mean a lot to someone who has been on a strict one-hour lunch most of their career. You can also give them the opportunity to work from home.
  • More responsibility/interesting work: This is a great way to show them that you believe in the previous work they've done and think they deserve the recognition/opportunity to grow.
  • Office rewards: Larger office, assigned parking spots, updated job title, order office supplies requested, or business cards.

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