Creative ways to motivate employees and improve productivity

shutterstock_172900565_motivationThere’s no denying the power of a salary bump, bonus or increased 401(k) match to motivate employees. Money talks. And there is certainly value in showing employees, in transparent, financial terms, that you appreciate their efforts.


At the same time, there has been growing employer backlash against the belief that money is the best or only way to boost employee performance. Recent studies show that the sense of self-worth that people earn on the job is a far more significant driver of motivation than financial incentives from other sources. These findings — along with a new generation of employers — have prompted more companies to experiment with fun, creative ways to reward employees, aside from the “pat on the back” and “more flexible hours” that are often suggested. And many of the rewards don’t cost a thing.


How can you tap into your employees’ sense of self worth and productivity? Here are a four unique (and inexpensive) ideas to motivate your team.


Reward good ideas that fail

While not all ideas work, the fact that your employees are innovating is something to celebrate. Yet rarely do companies recognize people for the good idea that fails — unless you are lan Weiss, president of the Summit Consulting Group Inc. According to an article in HR World, when Weiss was CEO of Calgon, he created an annual award for “the best idea that didn’t work,” which was presented at the company’s annual awards dinner. “This stimulated innovation and positive behavior, not ‘winning,’” he said.

Try role reversal

Another way to incentivize new ideas is to empower them. Brian Halligan, CEO of the marketing software firm Hubspot, told that he sometimes rewards employees who bring him new business ideas by firing them from their day job and appointing them CEO of a new startup division of the company. “We want to empower the edges of the organization, and we want to let the people who really understand our customers to make decisions,” Halligan said.

Give people the good parking spot

Parking lot politics can work in your favor, according to Professor Linda M. Lopeke, principal of When an employee goes above and beyond, consider upgrading his or her parking spot. Giving model employees prime parking isn’t just cost effective, it shows people the value you place on their contribution to the company, Lopeke told HR World.

Encourage chill time.

Hard-working employees can burn out if they don’t occasionally take time to disconnect and recharge. So why not let them do it in the office? By converting quiet or open spaces in your office into areas for people to meditate, read a magazine or even take a nap, you can actually boost creativity and productivity. The CEO of Pontiflex, Zephrin Lasker, turned a room full of computer servers into a napping area for team members. “I’m a huge believer in napping,” Zephrin Lasker told




Employee Recognition Keeps Workers From Leaving

Nearly half (49 percent) of workers interviewed in a recent survey said they would be somewhat or very likely to leave their current position if they didn’t feel appreciated by their manager.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 431 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

“Professionals want to know their contributions make a difference and will be rewarded, especially Gen Y workers,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Because individuals like to be acknowledged in different ways, managers should find out what their workers value most and customize recognition accordingly.”

For more survey results, including the top five recognition mistakes, click here.

Employers Should Focus on Simple Pleasures, Survey Finds

Fifty percent of American workers spend about $1,000 per year on coffee. Sixty-six percent buy their lunch instead of packing it, costing them about $2,000 a year.

These statistics from a recent Accounting Principals survey show even the small things add up for consumers. So how can your company help your employees cut down on these expenses and keep them happy?

Twenty-five percent of Americans surveyed said the would like their company to invest in better vending machine snacks, and 22 percent would like their company to invest in better coffee in the office.

In addition, 46 percent of employees say their companies should invest in better office equipment, and 32 percent would like more comfortable office chairs, according to the survey.

“As the recovery gains momentum and companies look to attract and retain talent, they should consider worrying less about big-ticket discounts and focus instead on what will impact their employees’ happiness every day,” said Jodi Chavez, senior vice president at Accounting Principals. “Small improvements around the office, such as better equipment, food and drinks, can make a big difference in workers’ morale. After all it is often the little things in life that tend to make people the happiest.”