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Motivate Your Employee - Without Raising Their Wage

Young Professionals Connection Employee Motivation

Whenever you think about motivating employees in the workplace, one of the first and most common answers is to raise their wage. Cash will always be a major factor in motivating people and a solid compensation plan is critical to attracting and keeping key personnel; especially the very talented ones with a future at your company. Although more money is always attractive to employees, it is not necessary always the key to happiness in the workplace.

On top of all that, as young professionals not all of us are really in control of pay wages unless you are an entrepreneur running you own business or have skyrocketed up a corporate ladder in a short amount of time. So, let’s assume that right now you cannot control wage scales at your workplace; the question becomes, “how can you motivate your employees otherwise?”

Recognition or Attention

Whenever your employees accomplish something they have achieved something. Your recognition is appreciation for that achievement. This is the simplest way to motivate your employees.

In my opinion, and I have seen it in person, most managers don't give enough recognition. If you ever talk to me about this, I think that if most managers cared about giving employee recognition even by five percent they would see ninety five percent of the benefit of happier employees. If you take two minutes to thank someone for what they are doing every time they work, they will be a much happier and a more willing employee.


Coaching your employees is employee development. Whenever an employee does something really well take them aside and tell them that was great and you would love see them do it that way every time. Similar to recognition but when you do this, do it in a “public” setting. The behavior is very likely to be repeated by that employee and if others see it, they too will want to emulate the right way to do things.


If you know you have dependable employees who do not need supervision, give them more responsibility. Nothing with motivate a hungry employee more than giving them more responsibility or more of a leadership role.  You’re not only giving them more responsibility, but you are automatically giving them more confidence in what they are doing by trusting them to do things that are best for the company.

Good Work Environment

Yes, you are at work. Yes, you need to meet deadlines, finish tasks and make sure you have things done in a timely matter. Yes, it needs to be taken serious because you are paid for what you bring to the company’s table, and if you do not meet them you become expendable. If you look at work in a more fun and creative way, however, it is easy for that same attitude to trickle down to the people you are managing.

People become more comfortable in a good work environment. Being comfortable increases communication between coworkers and allows people to be more open about ideas in how the company does things. You will also start to feel a bond being built between you and your employees. This will make everyone feel like a team which always empowers people.

Empowering. Not pushing.

It is one thing to push your employees; it is an entirely different thing to empower them. I have been fortunate to learn this from my mentor, Marlo Higgins. “In order to motivate your employees you have to empower them.” You can look at in terms of a rowing team. When you push people, you do not let your employees pull the “company boat.”

In order to empower, you have to allow the leaders in the organization to do just that, lead. You also must sometimes allow your team to make mistakes and learn from them through daily, weekly and monthly huddles. Most importantly, you have to stay patient with your employees and plan of action. Obviously, for most of us, this can be very challenging. However, it will greatly rewarded if you have a firm plan in place. By spending more time listening and less time telling people what to do, you will be able to improve your business through your employees.

These are just some of the great ways that you can motivate your employees through my own experiences. Being a good manager is a never ending process, so try out some different things and see how they react, or see if it works for you. Furthermore, ASK THEM what motivates them. You may be surprised by their feedback.

 Joe Marshall

Young Professionals Connection (YPC)

The Young Professionals Connection (YPC) promotes an environment that attracts and retains young professionals in Greater Des Moines (DSM). YPC connects young professionals to each other and to the community through social, civic, charitable and professional development endeavors. YPC members have unique opportunities to grow personally and professionally and forge lasting relationships. They engage, connect and form a foundation for their future in DSM. YPC is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.