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3 Effective Alternatives to Cash Bonuses for Motivating Employees

When companies think of employee motivation, what comes to mind are things like promotions and bonuses. They are great, but they can only happen so often.

One of the best motivators is an incentive, and companies of all shapes and sizes implement incentive programs to encourage year-round employee motivation and satisfaction. When crafting your own employee incentive program, you need to dig below the surface to understand what your employees really want out of their job.

So how can you motivate your employees for the long haul?

1. Invest in their skill development.

Not only can you invest in skills that are critical to an employee’s job (like writing is for a marketer), but it is also important to notice what your employees are passionate about and groom those skills. You can offer tuition reimbursement for employees who want to take classes at a college, or another popular option is getting certified in a skill or topic.

Setting aside time during the work day for your employees to focus on and develop a non-essential skill shows them that you care about their interests and growth. A new skill can lead someone to the next phase of their career, as long as their employer is willing to invest time and money in honing that skill.

2. Start a mentorship program.

Building hard skills is useful, but sometimes employees need a more experienced staff member to bounce ideas off of and get advice from. Mentorship programs create a safe environment for employees to be curious and grow from their peers. Starting a mentorship program in your organization will allow employees to ask questions they might not ask their supervisor for fear of looking incompetent or inadequate. 

The mentors benefit as well. They learn essential management, coaching and motivational skills needed to succeed in upper management. Mentorship programs build skills, motivation and career development for two segments of your organization, providing widespread benefits.  

3. Acknowledge their worth in front of others.

Motivation doesn’t only come in the form of promotions and bonuses. Spot rewards are extremely compelling for motivating employees. Public recognition of a job well done, a team lunch or a chance to get recognition directly from an executive are all no-cost or low-cost ways to acknowledge an employee’s hard work that really matter.

Employees want employers to care about their future, employers want employees to build those futures with their company. Invest in their future. Their career is their most important professional asset, so investing in that could be the most motivating factor available to you as an employer. Recognizing hard work exemplifies and employers willingness to build a shared future and simply saying “thank you” humanizes a corporation and builds trust.

Topics: employee incentive programs

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