Motivating Without (Much) Money

Motivating Without (Much) Money

You don’t have to spend much at all to show your employees that they are valued and appreciated members of your staff. Try these low-cost, easy to implement ideas to keep your team motivated:


  1. Have a Morning Huddle – Take five minutes at the start of each day to congratulate the team, give birthday or other meaningful event wishes, and communicate critical information about the day ahead.


  1. Bid a Fond Farewell – Take five minutes at the end of each day to thank each staffer for creating memories, and making guests feel special. Let your staff members know that you could not do it without them.


  1. Offer Food for Thought – Reward your staff with low-cost food items. For example, a simple box of donuts or bagels really helps start the day off right. Pizza “on the boss” is always appreciated. For those bosses really on a budget, even candy “kisses” will bring a smile to your team.


  1. Take Note – Take the time to prepare a handwritten note to a team member for a job well done. Go one step further and send a note to a team member’s parent. (I received a note from my daughter’s boss. Wow, that made an impression!)


  1. Be Picture Perfect – Post a board with pictures of staff members “caught in the act” of having fun, smiling and making guests feel special.  Encourage the team to take pictures of each other and post them. Have a contest for the photo of the week.


  1. Follow Mom’s Golden Rules – Treat your employees with respect, the same way you want to be treated. Say, “please” and “thank you” for their efforts.  Be specific when you praise, give examples of what staff members did well. Remember the most “golden” rule of all, “Compliment in public, correct in private.”


  1. Be Flexible – Do your best, within reason, to accommodate a team member’s request for time off.


  1. Get with the Program – Create your own rewards program and award certificates to deserving staff members as often as possible. Design a service pin or other low-cost award that staff members can wear proudly to acknowledge their achievements.


  1. Get Personal – “Know thy staff members” and tailor small rewards to their individual tastes, i.e. a flower in someone’s favorite color, caramels instead of chocolates. Knowing people’s favorite things makes them feel special.


  1. Get Creative – Allow your team to select cool, fun, titles that describe their strengths on the job, i.e. food critic, digital director, prize patrol, etc. Give them business cards with their unique titles. (Send an email to for a complete list of ideas.)


BONUS… Give ‘em a break – Walk the facility frequently and cover for a staff member, giving them an extra break. This makes your staff member feel valued and gives you a chance to get in touch with the front line. Knowledge is profit!


Sheryl Bindelglass, president/CFO (chief fun officer) of SherylGolf, is a 25 year industry veteran having honed her skills operating a 32 acre multi-faceted FEC that received awards for operations, parties, event planning, retail, and staff training. She is now an author, business advisor, and speaker who travels the world teaching best practice skills in all facets of business operations.

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