Motivation Secrets: Getting Beyond Pay Raises


When budgets are tight and employee morale is low, what can a cash-strapped business do to motivate its hard working workers without crying “raises for all!”?


Money is a major factor in employee motivation — people need to feel they’re being compensated for their skills, effort, and time. But it’s not the only motivator.

Human beings are motivated by many things. Important things such as:

  • Appreciation
  • A sense of purpose
  • A sense of belonging
  • Being a part of something important and/or “bigger” than themselves
  • Opportunity (to learn, for advancement, for new experiences
  • Explicit goals with the chance to reach tangible outcomes
  • Feeling that what they do matters
  • New challenges

And none of these need cost a company much, if anything.

As you work to motivate your employees, be sure you’re not doing the following:

  • taking away current benefits;
  • fostering a culture of unfairness and petty politics;
  • pitting employees against each other in a sad game of “if you lose than I win;” and
  • a culture of “you’re lucky to have a job in this economy, so put up and shut up.”

Instead, try these motivators:

  • Show appreciation. If you can’t raise salaries, what about taking your department’s team members out to a nice dinner when they get a major project done early?
  • Get employee input. Ask for their advice on how to do their jobs better, how to create better process or even create new services.
  • Make sure your employees are challenged. Give them opportunities to go to conferences and seminars to learn new skills.
  • Create a culture of service, hard work and trust. Reward those who exemplify these values with a small trophy, certificate or lunch on the department.
  • Praise often and keep praising. Don’t hold back. Find something praiseworthy each day and acknowledge it.

If your company is located in the Washington Metro and you’ve a need for highly skilled construction, engineering, architecture and technical personnel, contact RealStreet Staffing. We can find skilled workers for you quickly and easily. Contact us today.

A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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