Employee motivationFor many employers, benefits are often relied on to retain the company’s most qualified employees; insurance packages and paid holiday/sick leave are ways to show workers that their hard work is time well spent, and it also helps a business hold onto their valued staff members as losing those benefits would be a major drawback for most individuals. However, not all companies are in a position where they can offer an extravagant benefits package; start-ups just starting out often lack the proper funding that would allow them to do so. If your business is in a similar boat but still wants to attract great talent, here are few ways to motivate your employees to stand by your company’s side.

Bring It Up Directly

You can bet that your workers have already had several conversations about the lack of benefits, so be bold and bring it up directly. This will show your staff that you care about their well-being, and they will be more willing to look past the issue if you openly talk to them about it. Let them know that you have the honest intention of implementing the proper incentives as soon as you have the means to, and be specific about what those plans might be; whether life insurance, retirement savings, or dental care is your first priority, let them in on your plans, or even better, ask for their input.

Have a Casual Dress Policy

Little things really do make a difference, and implementing a casual dress policy can help create a more laidback work atmosphere. It adds a level of comfort and personality to a professional environment, and most employees will be happy to swap their dress slacks for jeans.

Give Credit Where it’s Due

Recognition is becoming a more sought after quality in the workplace, so make sure you’re giving credit where credit is due. When your employees exceed expectations or make a significant improvement with their performances, don’t be afraid to pull them in for a one-on-one chat and congratulate them in person. An environment where they feel noticed, encouraged, and above all else, worth the boss’s time, is one where they’ll deem worthwhile to go the extra mile for.

Adapt to Their Needs

A full time job is a big commitment, so show your appreciation by being flexible with your team’s needs. For example, if one of your staff members has a sick child to care for, consider letting them work from home that day. Also, posting an “employee office wish list” on the fridge of the break room is a helpful way to let your employees know that you’re willing to hear their suggestions on how to make life at the office a little more enjoyable. Whether it’s a wrist-rest for under their keyboard or more creamer flavors for the coffee, keeping up with small requests can create a more welcoming workplace.

Offer Small Gestures

Monetary incentives don’t have to be huge or long-term, and if you’re budget is tight, get creative by offering small, but useful, gestures. If your team meets a monthly goal, pledge to order lunch for everyone. An employee-of-the-month award can still be a way to promote efficiency and hard work as well, but aside from simply sticking a picture of them up on a wall, it helps to offer something a bit more practical. A small cash prize, free time off the floor, or buying the coffee of their choice every day for a week are a few ways you can motivate your employees without a hefty bonus.

While money and insurance are effective ways to get through to your staff, they’re far from being the only way. A comfortable, respectful workplace can be just as motivating, and as long as you’re working hard to relate to your team’s needs, create an enjoyable environment, and give them hope for the future, your employees should show up to work ready and encouraged to stick around for the long haul.

Arlene Chandler is a freelance writer who enjoys discussing career and business-related subjects. When she’s not enjoying a good book out on her patio, she writes about leadership skills, job searching tips, and Life cover from Suncorp