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15 Great No-Cost Ways to Supercharge Your Employees

You don't need to spend a bunch of cash to motivate employees to do great things. Just apply some simple but effective leadership practices.
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Many bosses think that the best and perhaps the only way to get their employees motivated to do a better job is to pay them more, in the form of higher salaries, bonuses, or other cash rewards. This is a mistake. In reality, there are a lot of things you can do to supercharge employee performance that won't cost you a single dime.

Consider the example of Factory 360, an experiential marketing firm based in New York City. Company founder Michael Fernandez decided to convert an unused office into a yoga studio for employees. Together they practice their yoga moves in the repurposed space. Not only has team morale improved but also, Fernandez reports, the amenity has helped employees build stronger bonds with one another--and with him.

Try the following no-cost ways for supercharging your employees' morale and performance. You (and your customers) may be surprised at what a difference they make.

1. Don't just tell your employees what to do; explain why they should do it. (And while you're at it, make sure the reasons are good ones.)

2. Provide employees with prompt and candid feedback on their performance. (If improvements are needed, help them understand what they need to do in order to do better.)

3. Catch your employees doing something right. (And praise them when you do.)

4. Ask your employees what you can do to improve your business. (And implement their suggestions whenever it makes sense to do so.)

5. Really listen to what your employees have to say. (Show your sincere interest by focusing your full attention on your people when they are talking to you.)

6. Ask your employees, "What's one thing I can do better for you this month?" (And then tell them one thing they can do better for you that month.)

7. Assign small projects to your employees that require them to learn new tasks and grow in their jobs. (Serving on a task force to deal with a pressing business problem or presenting a proposal to top management are just two possible options.)

8. Rotate team leadership positions among all members of the team. (Provide all employees with leadership training so they are prepared.)

9. Don't punish employees when they try something and fail. (Instead, help them learn lessons that will enable them succeed the next time.)

10. Open your books to employees. (When employees know how what they do at work contributes to the bottom line, they will do more of it.)

11. Communicate a long-range vision for your company. (Make sure it's inspiring and clearly stated.)

12. Share customer letters and email messages of complaint and praise with all employees. (And do it promptly and regularly.)

13.  Expect perfection. (But accept excellence.)

14. Always treat your employees with dignity and respect. (Just as you yourself want and expect to be treated.)

15. Allow your people to be great. (You have the power to let your employees be great, or to shut them down.)

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Last updated: Jun 11, 2014

PETER ECONOMY

While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.




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