3 Ways to Motivate Employees (Without Spending a Dime)

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Whether you’re running a department or a whole company, having motivated employees is key to success. If the people who report to you are unhappy and motivation is low, not only will it tank employee performance, it’ll make your job a lot more difficult. Luckily, motivation is something easy to address with a little time and effort.

Here are three cost-free, simple ways to improve employee morale:


Autonomy. People are happiest when they are in control of their own time and energy. We value autonomy. Micromanaging every task and project your employees undertake is a surefire way to destroy their motivation and drive yourself crazy. Let your employees know that you trust them by giving them agency around when and how they get their work done.

Clarity. It’s crucial that your employees understand your goals. For most people, understanding starts with transparency: Be clear and concise about what you want each employee to accomplish and what you want for the company as a whole. Create individual development plans, give feedback, and provide performance reviews so employees can stay on target.

Appreciation. A word of thanks or praise goes a long way in any environment. Make sure your employees know that their efforts are appreciated and be specific in your praise. Much like compliments, a “thank you” feels most sincere when someone knows exactly what you’re thanking them for.