The economic recession has become the bane of most people’s lives, making it compulsory to cut costs, decrease financial bonuses and question each time we open our wallets. However, despite the daily drone of how much the recession has hindered our spending the tighter financial reign has enabled businesses to step out of the conventional box of motivation solutions and get creative.

Back in 2009 McKinsey’s quarterly study showed 27% of businesses were exploring non fiscal ways of motivating their staff. This launched a complete overhall of current reward schemes, initiating new studies into what really motivates staff? The universal word that is immediately associated with financial bonuses ‘Reward’ was soon replaced by ‘Recognition’. Managers who hid away in their offices and splashed their cash when required came out from behind the office door, with a view to increase employee interaction and overall engagement.

McKinsey highlighted three top non-financial motivators which are proven to increase staff motivation and morale:

The constant battle to keep staff engaged is one that most managers are accustomed too. However, the increase in non-fiscal motivators significantly improved the level of engagement and motivation of employees. According to McKinsey’s study employees registering high levels of engagement at work had on average a 10% higher rate of productivity than those who are unchallenged, unrecognised and disengaged.

Despite the obvious reasons to maintain non-financial motivators McKinsey revealed that 28% of businesses were planning to reintroduce financial motivators within the next year. This study was reiterated in an article in The Guardian newspaper titled ‘Engaging employees is about more than just financial incentives’ in March 2011. The intention to reintroduce employees to the world of competition, financial drive and lack of overall creativity has sparked the inevitable question, why are companies reintroducing money into the equation, when cash is still hard to find and results are significantly less?

Financial bonuses provide short term adrenalin rushes but in the long run increase the financial greed to want more and not fulfil our basic needs, which in turn compromises the feeling of being appreciated, recognised and valued. Step outside the box and keep staff engaged and motivated by enhancing non-fiscal motivators. The long term results will be rewarding, cost effective and more productive… so go on make your staff feel special!

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