Motivating Employees Without Money

Only 1 in 5 employees go the extra distance to help a company succeed. There is a common myth money motivates people. The reality is that motivating employees without money is actually better and sometimes easier. So what are the factors that motivate employees? In 2008 Businessweek had an article that listed the factors that motivate employees:

-Empowerment to Make Decisions
-Opportunities for Growth & Development
-Mutual Support and Respect
-Sense of Purpose
-Desirable Future

Money, while still being a factor, isn’t the most important factor in motivating. A Lean business system that is implemented correctly actually takes care of all of the factors.

Empowerment to make decisions: In a Lean business system you not only empower your people to make decisions but actually expect they decide and come up with solutions. How would you feel if you couldn’t change the things you knew were broken? It can be come very de-motivating and worse people tend to become drones instead of thinking productive employees.

Opportunities for Growth/Development & Variety: Cross training is a tenant of a Lean business system. Not only do you have a flexible workforce but you have a opportunity to grow your employees. How many times have you had attendance issues? How many times has that caused issues at work? By cross-training you eliminate the headaches of light attendance issues as well as provide a growth path for employees.

Mutual support and respect: Respect for people is a cornerstone for any Lean business system. A typical meeting would be an open forum where you list the issues and then everyone pitches in for solutions. Ideas are tossed around and when a fix to a root cause is found it’s implemented. It doesn’t matter where the solution comes from management other the front line. It does matter that everyone works as a team. From projects that I have done this factor was the most important when motivating employees without money.

Sense of purpose: Your goals are all aligned and there is a clear bar that is set to achieve. By giving a clear target employees and management have a sense of direction and purpose towards a goal. Sometimes ones purpose comes from providing for his or her family. If you provide a secure work environment motivating your employees becomes easier. Sense of purpose comes without money so find what is important to your employees by talking to them.

Desirable future: In a Lean business system you are positioning your company for growth. A prosperous company with lots of opportunity and a great culture that respects people is where people want to work. This ties into sense of purpose as well in the fact that you are motivating employees without money. As the company grows you can reward people as you see fit.

Motivating employees without money becomes easy with a Lean business system. There are many other added benefits of a Lean business system including lowered operating costs and more sales. 

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