Motivating Employees on a Limited Budget

Motivating Employees on a Limited Budget

Have you ever tried to motivate employees but found that giving away free iPods or bonus vacation days just isn’t paying off? You’re not alone. Most employers struggle with how to motivate employees with limited to no budget.

I recently watched a TEDx video (embedded below) featuring Adam Grant, a tenured Wharton management professor (PhD, University of Michigan; BA, Harvard University).

He gave a fascinating talk linking the idea of intrinsic value—seeing where your work is going—to employee performance. In his study, he looked at the performance of university call center workers trying to raise money from student alumni. This particular job faces a 400% turnover rate. So how did he help motivate the employees?

He introduced new employees to students who received or would receive scholarship money that they would raise. The results? The new hire made 2.5x as many calls per hour and raised 5x more money than the average. That’s impressive.

He’s done numerous other studies showing that introducing new hires to people their work directly affects dramatically increases their performance. All without shelling out money for a fully stocked beer fridge. I’ve talked before about rewards and motivating employees and how typically creating a personalized reward works better than some big payout. Now we have another tool in our belt; linking the cause and effect of a person’s work to motivate them to perform better.

What success have you had in motivating your employees with a small budget? Conversely, any horror stories that we can all learn from? Share in the comments below.