If you’re wondering what your staff want from their jobs, or indeed from you, it might be obvious to conclude that more money is always the solution.

Nobody is going to turn down a pay raise. But does it really solve all problems? Does it make your employees happy? Will it be enough to make them stay with your company, all other things being equal?

The short answer is no. Many studies have been conducted on just this topic in recent years and the overall consensus is that money alone is not enough to buy happiness or motivate in the workplace.

Just imagine if you were paid a generous six figure salary for a job where you were expected to work to the point of exhaustion every day, surrounded by people who despised you, in a grotty office, and with a line manager who showed no interest or appreciation for your superhuman efforts. You wouldn’t stay there for long.

Work relationships, job satisfaction, the commute, work pressures, and the work/life balance, all play an important role. Financial reward, it seems, is only one of several motivators.

So, what can you, as an employer, do to ensure your staff are happy in their jobs other than reward them financially?

1. Professional Development Programs

If you are dedicated to investing in your staff, why not help to improve their skills? You will be showing them that they matter to your business. And you’ll be getting better qualified employees as a result.

In terms of motivation, training and development opportunities can bring substantial rewards. Your employees feel supported and encouraged to grow professionally to become a better version of themselves. If progression is offered within their existing role, why would they want to go anywhere else?

2. Opportunities for Career Progression

Professional development opportunities are great. But a realistic chance to climb the company ladder is an even bigger motivator. In fact, lack of career progression is routinely cited as a main reason for leaving a job.

To find out more about your staff’s individual ambitions, discuss their prospects for promotion within the company. Regular communication is key. Whether their aspirations can be accommodated with greater responsibilities within the same department, another area of the business or a new role in the company, it’s the sense of their contribution being rewarded that’s the real motivational driver.

3. Recognition and Praise

Everybody responds positively to a pat on the back for a job well done. Interestingly, the frequency of the reward is more important than its size. Recognition can take many forms, and it’s essentially down to your management style and skills as to how this is best done.

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From a casual ‘well done’ and regular positive feedback all the way through to formal presentations to award certificates of achievement for a particular target or project, there are endless ways you can show your appreciation to your staff.

Reward them with a team outing or the occasional early finish, monthly work lunches or pizza nights. Have team competitions with prizes to reward high achievers. Celebrate when the company does well and thank your workforce for all their hard work.

A little appreciation goes a long long way.

4. Valued Contributions and Responsibilities

The more your employees feel they are a valued part of the greater team, the more connected they will feel to the business as a whole. Everyone likes to feel that they’re contributing towards the overall success of the company. So give them meaningful tasks with real responsibilities, then step back and allow them the freedom to make it happen.

Whether you delegate the organization of this year’s Christmas party or hand over the account management of a key client, let individual staff members prove themselves, then praise them accordingly for their achievements.

Practice a culture of team working and being inclusive. It’s important to make your staff realize that their views truly matter to you and the business, and that you encourage their ideas and welcome feedback wherever possible.

5. Pleasant Working Environment

Creating a workplace environment that people enjoy spending time in goes a long way towards keeping your employees happy. In addition to the very basic requirements regarding hygiene, space, light and air that should be covered in any event, think about providing, comfortable office furniture, attractive interior décor, lush indoor plants, a well equipped kitchen, and superior meeting room facilities.

Depending on your budget, industry, and location, you could offer dedicated staff parking, recreational facilities such as a pool table, gym and showers, or added benefits such as in-house yoga or mindfulness sessions, free childcare provision or counseling.

Starting with the physical environment, build a positive workplace culture where everyone feels inspired and motivated to do their best.

Whether you keep the motivational buzz alive through uplifting music, cakes on a Friday or the latest ergonomic office furniture design, it pays to look after the well being of your workforce, so everyone feels like one big happy family.

How Do You Motivate Your Employees?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Mike James
Mike James is an experienced, independent content writer in the marketing industry – working together on a project with staff management software specialist Planday.