Talented, motivated, and happy employees are invaluable to your business.

Your employees allow you, as the business owner, to achieve both your short-term and long-term goals.  Your employees handle the day-to-day work that keeps your company running today and they are a critical ingredient in the systems you are building which will one day allow your business to run on “autopilot.”

So it’s obvious that keeping your employees happy should be a top priority, but what if you can’t afford to give your whole team a raise every year?

Here’s a little secret I’ve learned over the years that may surprise you: Handing out raises isn’t the only way to keep your team happy… in fact, handing out raises isn’t even the best way to keep your team happy!

While competitive pay is important, today we’re going to focus on even more important non-monetary strategies for keeping your employees happy.

Create a sense of purpose.  Study after study has shown that humans will work harder and more effectively when they believe in the cause they are working for.  If your employees feel like just another cog in the wheel, and feel that their work doesn’t make any difference in the scheme of things, even a great paycheck isn’t going to keep them motivated.  On the other hand, if your team believes that they are changing the world, even in a small way, they will be supremely motivated, regardless of the size of their check (it is generally a good strategy to pay competitive wages.)

Invest in your employees.  Your employees are giving you forty hours or more each week.  They are pouring themselves into your business.  Besides money, are you investing into their lives?  Whether it is by giving them life and professional advice or simply by teaching them skills that will aid them throughout their career, by taking the time to give back to your team you are sending the message that you really do care. And you’ll be rewarded with their loyalty.

Empower your employees.  Above all, all of us want to feel significant.  We want to be respected and appreciated.  Micromanaging has the opposite effect, it makes employees feel like robots that cannot be trusted to think for themselves.  Instead of micromanaging, train your employees to think for themselves and make the right decisions.  Give them as much latitude within your systems as you possibly can.  Give them the freedom to “own” their job and unleash their creativity.  This freedom is more valuable over the long run than any raise!

Your employees want more from you than simply money… whether they recognize it or not! (And many of them won’t.) These strategies will help you keep your workforce motivated and engaged… and may even save you some money at the same time. Now that’s a win-win!