Non-wage benefits – how to effectively motivate employees?
Specialists in motivating employees say that the most important thing is to like what we do and to be appreciated for it. Meanwhile, there has been a belief for years that simple benefits are enough to successfully motivate people. Who’s right?
Employee motivation system
A sense of security and stability of employment, adequate salary and basic benefits for work, or simply comfort in the workplace, are called hygiene factors, without which we will not create a friendly and effective organization. And although many employers are limited to such basic activities, we must remember that they are not enough to create motivation and employee involvement!
“To like what you do” – seemingly obvious, but when confronted with reality, it is not so easy to be achieved by yourself, not to mention to make employees achieve it. Monotony, predictability of events, a sense of standing still, lack of perspectives and successes unnoticed by colleagues or boss effectively demotivate even the greatest enthusiasts. This is an important topic, which is why the last decade the HR industry has dealt with just motivation and commitment building. However, attempts to put them in schemes and “employee motivation systems” will not bring the expected results! Satisfaction, a sense of fulfillment and appreciation are not factors that can be influenced by the system. These are not even data whose level can be measured and compared between individual employees or quarter after quarter. These are subjective feelings, which are influenced by many factors – of course the tools available on the market can help us create several of them, but no system will ever do managerial work for us.
After analyzing the situation in the company and providing basic aspects of work, it is worth considering the role of these additional tools, e.g. benefits, and ask a few questions: what do our employees like? What do they like to do at work and what do they choose in their free time? What are their interests, passions and plans? How can we support them in this? Why do people choose our company? What makes them stay in it and what makes them go away?
Motivating employees – intentional action or cliche?
In the dreamed-up situation by the employer, all employees passionately engage in ongoing projects, support each other in difficult times, and approach each challenge with enthusiasm. We can rely on them and know that they will go beyond the list of their basic responsibilities if necessary, or sacrifice a lunch break to finish an important report. It is not about abusing their involvement, but a motivated team works definitely more effectively and infects with good energy. It can be a fuel for other departments too!
In turn, the demotivated employee does not get any joy from his work. He reluctantly engages in new tasks, often complains and usually shares negative emotions with the environment. This affects the atmosphere of the whole department and the attitude of all colleagues! It is difficult to keep the team’s high involvement when one of its members is constantly grumpy or does not suit him, even the non-pay benefits that we finance him. As a superior, we cannot count on him, and we are never really sure whether he is looking for a new job anymore and he does not throw the project started halfway.
What motivates employees and is important to them?
It is worth considering what motivates our employees every day. We can ask them directly or use the research on satisfaction and job satisfaction. In the case of companies associated with modern technologists, outsourcing and similar industries, we usually learn from such surveys that the most important for employees are professional fulfillment, implementation of the intended goals and a good atmosphere in the workplace. Next on the list we can find personal development, a sense of security and work-life balance, or the ability to maintain a balance between commitment to work and private life and the pursuit of passion.
For most of these aspects of our employee’s life, we have real influence as an employer! Some of them depend on our managers, others result directly from the specifics of work and processes in the company. The rest can be supported by a good motivational system, employee involvement in the life of the company, as well as giving it further development opportunities – learning and promotion. What has only recently been debating employers is the work-life balance – nowadays work and private life of employees are very intertwined, it is difficult to put a clear boundary between them. What is important is the balance between time and commitment that people sacrifice to both spheres.
Non-wage benefits and their impact on balance
Most of the day people in office buildings spend sitting at desks, and instead of stairs they choose an elevator – especially if they have to get to the thirteenth floor! There is very little time left for activity after work and it is important to have easy and convenient access to various possibilities. That is why the MultiSport program has achieved such success in motivating employees! Thanks to the sports card that we always carry with us, we can use sports facilities throughout Poland and from classes in more than 20 sports disciplines. Everything has been prepared and only waiting for us, and we do not have to worry about even renewing the ticket.
Sport is not the only possibility of regeneration after a day in front of a computer screen. One of the most popular forms of spending time is active participation in the cultural life of our city, that is concerts, festivals or even the exit to the gallery or museum. Also in the cinema, almost everyone will find something for themselves, and a movie ticket is not an expense that would significantly undermine our budget. Ideally, however, when we receive invitations and cultural tickets from the employer, along with inspiration or suggestion, what events will take place in our area and what to see.
Having more time at the weekend, it is worth using it effectively and, for example, taking your loved ones for a family trip out of town. Everyone can have a different concept for such a trip – some prefer fun parks, others want to relax in the bosom of nature. It is important that everyone can comfortably book accommodation and take advantage of proven ideas for spending free time.
Regenerated and relaxed, we return to work much more willingly. We start the day by telling stories about our yesterday’s adventures at the gym, in the cinema or in the mountains, and then with a smile we approach the next challenges. Knowing that he is waiting for a reward for our work today!
Employee motivation systems in recent years
Working full-time, we spend 8 hours a day at the office. That gives almost 2,000 hours in a year! At the same time, we have only 26 days of vacation … Little? We are in a much better position than our grandparents who came to work even on Saturdays. What were the employers ways to motivate employees back then? Most often, it was additional cash and food parcels, given for example during the holidays. In a time of deep communism, such a gift, containing coffee or chocolate unavailable in the store, was a real rarity! Contemporary employees will no longer appreciate similar gifts, because the availability of all products is much greater.
Today, employees’ motivation systems are diverse, complex activities that should be constantly improved to best fulfill their task. In addition to non-wage benefits connected with the activity, training programs and co-financing for studies as well as a transparent career path within the same organization are of great importance to employees. The well-equipped, modern office, which never lacks nothing, has an impact on job satisfaction, and therefore the motivation of our employees. Today’s office spaces, with separate relaxation zones, a library or a games room, are nothing like the factories of our parents’ time.
A contemporary employee, being in a constant hurry, will also appreciate all the gestures that prove the care of his employer. Fresh fruit and sandwiches with a desk delivery, subsidies for lunch, medical care and kindergarten are ordinary non-financial benefits, which probably will not affect our decision to be or not be in this company, but without which it would be really hard to do today!