Working through the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic decline that followed has been challenging for people across all industries. As a manager, you should look for ways to support your team and make them feel valued during these difficult times. But in an unpredictable economy with already-tight budgets, you may not have the money for raises.
To help you find creative solutions for retaining top talent through lean times, the experts of Forbes Coaches Council shared alternative ways to recognize and reward employees. If you’re lacking the funds to boost salaries at the moment, try these strategies for boosting morale among your team members to make them feel valued in other ways.
1. Find Each Employee’s Individual Motivation ‘Lever’
“Money” is the worst possible motivator: It is expensive, and it doesn’t work. Every person has his or her own personal levers of engagement and motivation: Fun. Authority. Development. Responsibility. Autonomy. Respect. Recognition. Challenge. Variety. Safety. Figure out what each individual needs, then figure out how to best work towards it. – Antonio Garrido, Absolute Sales Development
2. Make Recognition A Regular Habit
Recognition is much more than awards and pay. It’s acknowledging people regularly for their strengths and their performance. This doesn’t only apply when they’ve gone above and beyond; recognize your employees for simply doing their job. When you make it a habit to point these things out in your conversations, emails and meetings, your employees will be more engaged and loyal and will enjoy work more. – Arathi Ramappa, Arathi Concepts LLC
3. Thank Them For A Job Well Done
Always remember that money is not the only motivator. People stay loyal and motivated when they feel valued by their leaders. It can be as simple as a thank-you, recognition of a job well done, a personal conversation acknowledging good work or a handwritten note. Recently, a company’s employees volunteered to cut their salaries to help their leader save their jobs because they love what they do. – Christine Mann, MANN Consulting, LLC
4. Share What Their Role In Your Vision For The Future Is
Inspire people to want to work with you and each other by sharing your vision and their role in it. Money may be tight, but your eyes are on the future. Tell them about three indicators informing your vision for the future and why those give you confidence. Assure your people that they are building the foundation for a future in which all of them play a part. Be honest, specific, visionary and hopeful. – Kelly Tyler Byrnes, Voyage Consulting Group
5. Let Them Contribute To Their Own Well-Being
Recognize them by allowing them to contribute to their own well-being and the overall success of your organization. Engage them in identifying current strengths and challenges and evolving plans for becoming even more effective, including improving their experience working for you. Often the biggest “reward” is making it clear how much you value and need their input, and then acting on it. – Joel M. Rothaizer, Clear Impact Consulting Group
6. Recognize Their Humanity
The most meaningful way to recognize employees amidst the pandemic economy with a growing social divide is to first and foremost recognize their very humanity. Go beyond the diversity, inclusion, equity and rewards programs to recognize each employee’s unique challenges as the year unfolds. Prioritize time, space and opportunity for them to thrive and reach their goals by guiding their growth. – Kasthuri Henry, KasHenry Inc
7. Rally Everyone Behind A Common Purpose
People want to feel good about their efforts, and their contributions must be recognized. When everyone is behind a common purpose, then their value-add is palpable, particularly when leaders and those they lead roll up their sleeves and work together as a team to achieve their purpose. The feeling of belonging to something bigger and purposeful is more powerful than any monetary compensation. – Jorge Gutierrez, BMOC Group
8. Start With Small But Meaningful Gestures
Appreciation and recognition rank higher in motivating individuals than monetary incentives. Here are some ideas for showing appreciation: Write a heartfelt thank-you card recognizing the impact they’ve had on your company. Give them a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn if you believe they deserve it. Start with small, meaningful gestures, such as a gift card for personal chef service. – Yamini Virani, Celebrus Business Strategies
9. Train Your Managers In Emotional Intelligence
The research says that one of the most important elements of employee satisfaction and retention is the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor. Supervisors who have stronger emotional intelligence capabilities tend to have warmer and more supportive relationships with their teams. Hence, high-quality, directed supervisory training can improve employee retention. – Susan Madsen, Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
10. Communicate An Emotionally-Driven Purpose
Most employees want to feel part of something bigger and proud about it. In addition to rewards and positive feedback, leaders can inspire others by consistently and regularly communicating a clear purpose that people connect with emotionally. It is easy to get mired in the day-to-day details; step back and connect those details to a broader vision. It doesn’t usually require money, but it does require intentionality. – Charles Dormer, APEX STP, LLC
11. Get Employees Directly Involved In The Company
Money is the result of successful work and not a sustainable source of motivation. Other important forms of remuneration include having fun, working on something great, recognizing and appreciating colleagues and the feeling of having achieved something challenging. Coming from this mindset, rather than just exchanging their time for money, it is better to help employees feel involved directly in the company. – Michael Thiemann, Strategy-Lab™
12. Seek Value Alignment With Your Employees
From the beginning, recruit people whose values align with yours. This builds a positive atmosphere and culture, which resonates with people and keeps them on board. Consult with your people, find out what motivates them and build collaborative solutions that inspire their loyalty and commitment. People like to feel included, valued and that their contribution makes a difference. – Mary Gregory, Mary Gregory Ltd
13. Offer Flexibility
In 2021, people value flexibility more than ever. If someone is within a role that can be effectively carried out through flexible work, then offer this. Not only is this hugely rewarding for employees, but it also gives them a sense of comfort, knowing that you trust them to carry out their role effectively and manage their own time. – Rebecca Patterson, Rebecca Patterson
14. Be Specific In Your Appreciation
Tell them often, and with as much detail as possible, what you appreciate about them. Go beyond, “I appreciate you” to “I am grateful I have someone on my team who is so good with clients,” or “I feel lucky to have someone on the team who is so good at problem-solving.” The key is to be specific, sincere and systematic in your approach. – Cheryl Czach, Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting, LLC
15. Provide Opportunities To Work On A Cause
Money typically isn’t the motivator most owners think it is. Setting your employees up to work on a cause they feel is greater than themselves and then showing appreciation for their efforts is usually a better way to reward them. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
Read the full article here on Forbes!