The landscape for finding the right employee continues to get more competitive while potential candidates are in search of the greenest grass to continue their careers. Many employers think decisions are made purely on the paycheck you are offering.
Yes, $$$ is a critical part of the decision-making process, but did you know that it’s not the deciding factor for many? In actuality, many other factors play a role in determining where a quality employee will place their stake and motivate them to excel in their role.
So what drives today’s employees?

Money is important, especially when goals are attached to the possible dollars they can earn. But does that help engage employees and ignite the enthusiasm it takes to shine no matter their role? Many of the answers don’t affect your bottom line as far as the actual dollars you need to spend but will be reflected in your profits when you have a high-producing team.

We use a paycheck to pay bills and work towards future goals, but the things that truly motivate us are usually simple gestures that make us feel noticed.

Some examples are:
Give Them a Path to Evolve Within the Company
When you provide a path for growth, this healthy motivation driver helps as the employee now has a track to follow to get to the next level.

But, you may ask, what happens if there aren’t any available positions at a higher level? Get creative and work within the boundaries already in existence. For instance, what if someone has the title of manager and the next level up would be “Director,” and there’s already someone successful in that role? An idea is to promote the manager to “executive manager” or “associate director.”

And of course, this promotion should come with a competitive increase. Many times, the title and recognition are much more valuable to the employee than money.

Career Development
Professional growth is right up there with moving forward in the company. The two also go hand-in-hand as when you increase the skill set of your employees, they will bring the experience back to benefit your company.

You don’t necessarily have to send the person back to school, but there could be ongoing seminars or classes focused on a course that will help them in their current or future role within your business. Other options are to bring in outside help where you can carve out a convenient amount of time for more personalized coaching that could involve multiple team members. And remember, a virtual class/course makes it even easier so the employee remains on site.

Get Creative with Rewards

As an alternative to a pay increase, to follow are opportunities to compensate with other options that don’t break the bank but significantly impact.

For Small Milestones

Accomplishments, no matter how small, are still vital to the growth of the company. And sometimes, it’s nice to “out of the blue” give the employee an unexpected perk to show you noticed. Some examples are:

  • Handwritten thank-you note
  • Two movie tickets
  • An additional day off
  • And even better, a simple “thank you” in front of the rest of the employees. This public acknowledgment goes a long way and doesn’t cost you a cent, but it’s priceless in the eyes of the employee!
For Larger Milestones

Some accomplishments are significant to the company but don’t necessarily warrant a promotion. After all, you want your team to do a great job without expecting a raise or change in their title for each successful deed. However, there are ways to keep them motivated, especially if they bring a lot of value to the company. Some options are:

  • Company cell phone
  • Special parking spot for the month
  • Gift certificate to their favorite hobby place or restaurant
  • Gas card to cover a month of driving
  • Company car – for those superstar producers
For future employees, the first two suggestions of “Give Them a Path to Evolve Within the Company” and “Career Development” should be included in your discussions once you’ve decided on the final hire. It’s amazing how great these motivators are in the eyes of a true professional. For the “Rewards” we talked about, you can discuss those if there are clear goals to reach that result in a reward (i.e., company car or cell phone).

The other forms of “thank yous” should be spontaneous and geared more to the culture you have created, focusing on employee retention.

Money is motivating, but we are all human. When you further engage in ways that positively impact the employee in ways other than their wallet, those “no brainer” perks become an integral part of how you and other company leaders interact daily.

When you take the time to foster an atmosphere of respect and appreciation, you will see the benefit to your company and embrace the positive attitude of your team.