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The Secret to More Productive Employees Isn’t More Money

The Secret to More Productive Employees Isn’t More Money


Seven ways to boost employee morale in the workplace


Employees can become disinterested and leave for many reasons.

Maybe their supervisor is more of a micromanager instead of leader, maybe they’re feeling overworked and undervalued, or perhaps they’re just not gaining the skills they need to evolve in their industry.

Whatever the reason for dissatisfaction may be, it all leads to unproductive behavior that causes business operations to suffer.

Raising pay might help motivate, but it’s a short-sighted strategy at best. The age-old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness” still rings true. In a 2017 survey, 65% of employees listed respectful treatment as being more important than compensation when it comes to job satisfaction.


What are some easy, creative morale boosters?

If you want to improve employee morale, it doesn’t have to cost you. Here are seven effective ways to improve productivity in your organization:


1. Be a supportive leader

A good leader is one that leads by example. They set high standards for themselves and influence other’s behavior by acting as a role model.

To be a supportive leader, you must establish a system of trust and set processes in place that allow employees to do their job – without constant management and criticism.

Be a coach, not a boss. Figure out your employee’s strengths and develop a game plan that will help them shine.


2. Offer regular recognition

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No matter how menial it may seem, employees derive satisfaction from verbal praise and even a simple “Thank you”.

They want to know that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. To help establish reasons for recognition, put milestones in place that will give them a clear direction of how to achieve either a personal or departmental goal.


3. Establish open lines of communication

Just like unlimited vacation, the open-door policy can sometimes be considered a trick. Employers promise to be sympathetic but scrutinize and challenge negative feedback.

Avoid creating an atmosphere of mistrust by practicing what you preach. Welcoming feedback in any form is a great way to find out what’s important to your employees so you can show you care and switch gears if you need to.


4. Treat employees with respect

Don’t forget – employees are people. Just because they work for you doesn’t mean they are beholden to stick around.

Listen when they speak, value their opinions, give them relevant assignments, and respect their time. Employers who demonstrate emotional intelligence are known to have more success in maintaining employee retention than those who don’t.

Empathy and sympathy are crucial to truly understanding where someone’s coming from.


5. Empower growth through autonomy

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Your employees don’t want to feel like a drone in an assembly line, but they don’t want to feel like they're working without a net either.

Give direction and strong guidance that enables them to use their own creativity and decision-making power. Encourage risk-taking, and give them the tools they need to be successful.

In an autonomous organization, workers are collaborative, more committed and more productive than if they were simply told what to do.


6. Provide on-going training

Despite what some managers think, most employees don’t just come to work to collect a paycheck and leave – they actually enjoy what they do.

By providing on the job training, you’re actually creating high performing employees that are more qualified than they were when they first started.


7. Give meaningful rewards

Before you reward your employees for a job well done, think carefully. Inauthentic gestures do more harm than good, so make sure whatever you do will make an impact.

Plan a mission-driven outing that’ll remind everyone why they chose to work in that industry, give them the option to choose their reward or give them the gift that keeps on giving – an experience that aligns with who they are and what they like.



The bottom line is this: cash does help, but its effects are fleeting. Once the money is gone, so is the message. Give your employees a reason to come back every day by creating a culture where they can thrive, grow, and feel challenged.

It will cost you nothing, and it’ll be more profitable in the long run.

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