Top 10 ways to motivate your employees this summer

Just in time for summer, Gevity, which serves as a full-service human resources department for small and mid-sized businesses, has provided its "Ten Ways to Motivate Your Employees This Summer" list. Compiled from Gevity research as well as existing research on this topic, the list provides a fun and helpful way for small business owners to motivate their employees as the warm - and often slower - summer months approach.

  1. Provide a free breakfast or lunch to employees
  2. Create a weekly "wall of fame" with fun photos of employees and accounts of their accomplishments
  3. Each week, choose employees from each department to dine or do an activity with members of management
  4. Give out tickets to movies or sporting or musical events
  5. Hold an employee field day, with fun activities that all employees can participate in
  6. Create quirky awards for specific achievements
  7. Volunteer to do an employee's least favorite task for a day
  8. Throw a party for your employees, either at the office, a manager's home or at a favorite restaurant
  9. Have a job exchange day, and be sure to include management
  10. Allow employees to work a flexible schedule (when appropriate, taking into consideration the business's needs)
10 ways to motivate
your employees this summer
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Research shows that higher employee motivation leads to greater creativity, productivity, discretionary effort and, as a result, better company performance – and that employment management practices have a direct impact on employee motivation. So it is essential that companies, no matter what their size, identify strategies to motivate employees, implement them, periodically check to make sure that they are working and make adjustments along the way.

Non-cash motivators more effective than monetary rewards

Many employers believe (and/or fear) that motivation can only be achieved through cash incentives and monetary compensation. But they are wrong. While compensation is important, a number of studies show that recognition, making employees feel valued, is more important than salary.

According to a survey of small businesses conducted by Cornell University researchers and sponsored by Gevity, companies that are the most successful at motivating employees are the ones with a family-like atmosphere, a shared sense of responsibility among employees via shared company information and that allow employees to manage themselves.

Most companies overlook the power and possibilities of no-cost recognition and rewards. A personal thank-you note, public praise, a wall of fame, all go a long way in making employees feel valued and appreciated.

The reality is, it takes less effort to sustain a desired behavior than it does to create it. Therefore, the ongoing reinforcement of a behavior can perpetuate results at a fraction of the original time and cost of establishing it. So employers need to look at motivating employees as an ongoing process.

At Gevity, we believe the most important asset of any business is its people," states Michael Collins, a senior vice president at Gevity. "People represent a company's largest opportunity to improve business results, and by understanding the factors that motivate your employees and how you can influence those factors, you're better equipped to improve employee productivity and business performance."