This week…
How You Can Pay Them Without Cash

How You Can Pay Them Without Cash

How do you reward people when your budget says that there is no more cash available?

We tend to believe, don’t we, that there is a clear connection between someone’s motivation on the job and the amount that we pay them. In fact, whenever managers discuss motivation there is a tendency to point to the lack of cold hard cash as a reason for lacklustre enthusiasm or performance.

Two things brought this to mind last week.

The first was talking to a group of managers in a mid-sized business about the difficulty of motivating staff because pay rates were not high…

Of course, we don’t pay them enough to do a really good job. They’re asked to do a whole lot more than someone on a similar job in a different company.

And the second was a piece of junk mail…

Every so often something seems to drop through the letterbox at just the right time. And this time it was a sample issue from Bulletpoint that included an article on non-cash rewards. (And as I'm going to share some of it with you it seems only fair to credit them - you can find out more at the Bulletpoint Website.)

Let’s clear up a myth first of all. Most people are not motivated solely by money. They are motivated by a mix of factors, in which money is just a part. The joy and challenge for us as managers is that every individual has a different mix!

This does mean though that there is huge scope for paying attention to non-cash rewards to help our people motivate themselves.

According to classic motivational theory, we are motivated by basic needs that change as our circumstances change. Our first concerns are to eat and keep warm. As those needs are met we turn to wanting social contact and ultimately growth, fulfilment and meaning.

Let’s face it, most of those who work for us are warm and well fed AND very few of us pay starvation wages. So, offering them a bag of coal or some firewood as a motivator will have a limited impact. If they want more money then they want it for something aspirational, like a better car rather than to stay alive. That’s why money is not a prime motivator - if it was then they would leave (as people do from time to time).

Here are some of the other things our people are looking for:

Achievement
Success measured against team, organisation or personal goals.
Recognition and/or praise
Knowing that someone is aware of and appreciates their achievements or will take notice of their contribution.
Responsibility
The freedom to set goals and the means to achieve them. Ownership of something (team, project, location, market etc.)
Personal growth
Learning new things, growing and upgrading their skills.

What non-cash rewards could we use to meet these needs?

Here’s a list (courtesy of Bulletpoint) with a couple of my own suggestions:

I'm sure you can think of others…

This week, why not think of those non-cash rewards that would work for you and notice whether they would work for others too.


Lighthouse 365 offers professional coaching for managers everywhere. We offer management training, teambuilding, coaching and development programmes. We specialise in creating opportunities for managers and teams to improve theirperformance. Whether you are a manager in a SME, public sector, large corporate or are running your own business, we can help you to improve your performance.