x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

How to inspire staff for little or no cost

The Life: Incentivising employees does not need to be expensive. In fact, it does not have to cost anything.

Incentivising employees doesn't need to be expensive. In fact, it doesn't have to cost anything. Don't believe it? Read on and find out how you can start motivating your employees, even on a shoestring budget.

Sure, free food and subsidised gym memberships are great perks, but that's not the most important element in creating a great workplace. We find that a lot of companies who are on a tight budget and strapped for resources can still develop and implement practices that increase engagement, productivity, creativity and risk-taking. This increased commitment on the part of employees yields high returns and contributes to a healthy bottom line.

Throughout our 25 years of researching employees' perceptions of the work environment, we have proved it is trust, not treats, that is the magic ingredient for improving employee experiences, heightening their sense of pride and reinforcing levels of commitment.

Trust is established through genuine relationship-building and caring for employees as people, not cogs in the wheel. High levels of trust are sustained when companies provide their workforce with unique, useful and all-inclusive programmes that address their needs as individuals.

Here are a few examples of low-cost, easy to implement initiatives that strengthen trust.

We find that many companies that are lacking funds are able to create thanking and recognition programmes that cost no money at all - but they reap high returns.

Do you have weekly team or company meetings? Maximise the time you have and set aside a portion of your gatherings to recognise team members for their contributions to the company and for their hard work. Public recognition like this has a huge impact on morale, and it allows everyone to have a chance to be appreciated. This also provides space for employees to get to know what teammates are working on and so deepen their understanding of what's going on in the company and how everyone's roles fit together.

Did you know that employees don't rank pay as the main reason they stay with a company? In our research, we've found that compensation often doesn't even rank among the top five reasons. What does matter is training, development and career advancement opportunities.

Don't have an endless fount of cash flowing into your training and development budget? Don't worry. Get creative with the resources you do have. Provide cross-training opportunities so your employees can learn about different aspects of the business and develop new skills.

Find subject matter experts within your company on a wide range of topics. Is someone a whizz at Excel? Is there someone who loves public speaking? How about multilingual folks? Invite those individuals to provide training to the rest of your organisation. This provides leadership opportunities for those providing the training, and learning and development opportunities for participants. It's a win-win and the cost is nil.

If you do have some money in your development budget, make the most use of it. If someone in your organisation attends a conference, lecture, class or any other learning event, make sure they come back to the organisation prepared to teach what they learnt. The ripple effect of knowledge sharing is wide-reaching and long lasting.

Providing these types of programmes to your people doesn't require long, painstaking research about cutting-edge workplace practices. All it takes is a little reflection on what you currently do and some tweaks to make your practices more impactful.

The costs are minimal, but your employees will appreciate your efforts and investment in them. In turn, they will work harder for you and invest more of themselves in the success of your organisation.


Lexi Gibson is the marketing manager for the UAE team at Great Place to Work® Gulf, an affiliate of the Great Place to Work® Institute, a San Francisco-based research and consulting firm