Iain McMath: Ten tips for motivating employees on a budget

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1) Flexible working: Flexible working hours can be a great way to keep employees engaged with the company. Being able to take care of children or the ability to work from home can make all the difference in allowing employees to have a good work-life balance. A happy employee is a productive one, and employees are likely to go that extra mile for a company that has shown itself to be flexible and understanding.

2) Company events: With Easter approaching, there is no better excuse to hold a company party. Company get-togethers encourage team bonding and are great motivators. This could be as small as a glass of wine in the office or as diverse as cultural outings or obstacle courses.

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3) Affordable non-cash incentives: Non-cash incentives can be significantly more affordable and more effective in motivating staff than simple cash rewards. Incentive scheme providers report that organisations spending the equivalent of just 3% of their annual salary budget on non-cash incentives see a more noticeable improvement in staff motivation than those spending 20% of their annual salary budget on cash bonuses. Employees are motivated by money-off vouchers or coupons – they appreciate their flexibility and welcome the autonomy to choose how they are spent.

4)Keep it exciting: A useful tip which is often overlooked is to change the incentives on offer frequently to keep them fresh and exciting and to run short term ‘one-off’ offers to encourage bursts of effort at critical times.

5) Set manageable target: Employers should establish and manage targets. In order to sustain morale and increase productivity, targets must always be set at a level which is challenging, yet achievable. Despite best intentions and no matter how appealing the incentives on offer, if targets are unachievable the workforce will become disenchanted and de-motivated.

6) Its all about Timing: The greatest productivity is gained when the desired behaviour is rewarded immediately and unexpectedly rather than waiting for traditional times such as Christmas, when bonuses are expected regardless of effort demonstrated.

7) Understand the different staff members: Employers should be aware that different employees will be motivated by different things. Whilst the older workforce might place childcare vouchers high on their wish lists, younger members of staff may well respond better to subsidised gym memberships, company nights out or retail vouchers. Understanding these differences is central to successfully motivating staff.

8 Childcare vouchers: By running a childcare voucher scheme, employers save on Employer National Insurance Contributions and enable employees to save on tax and National Insurance Contributions.

9) Listen to the staff: In order to motivate staff, employers need to be aware of the troubles and desires of their employees in order to respond to these. This can be done in company meetings when staff are allowed to voice their grievances, by using an anonymous survey or by simply having a feedback box.

10) Encourage a feel good factor: Company-wide charity initiatives can be a very effective way of promoting unity and motivation staff. Supporting a charity with associated events, be it running a marathon or helping out one day a month can give staff a great sense of achievement and common purpose, adding a feel-good factor to the day to day routine of the office.

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About Iain McMath

Iain McMath, Managing Director, Sodexo Motivation Solutions

Iain joined Sodexo Motivation Solutions in August 2002 bringing eleven years commercial and marketing experience with him.

As Managing Director, Iain is responsible for the overall strategic direction of Sodexo Motivation Solutions, covering Employee Benefits, Incentive & Recognition and Public Benefits. He also oversees UK investment and development, and ensures the delivery of a high quality service.

Since taking up the position, Iain has played an important role in securing major contracts with high profile organisations such as the Home Office, and the launch of the SayCare program. Iain also works with a number of NGO’s in guiding strategy and influencing policy.

Before joining Sodexo Motivation Solutions, Iain worked as a senior executive for a number of companies involved in the aerospace and automotive industries.

In his spare time Iain enjoys theatre, literature, as well as tennis and ski

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