You’ve probably heard a lot about the many ways to motivate and reward employees to improve your culture.

But many ideas are expensive perks that blow up the budgets for many businesses.

So, you might be asking: “What are inexpensive or free ways that will inspire employees to be more happy and productive?”

No worries.

Actually, there are ways that will accomplish more than you dare even to hope to improve your culture – maximizing employee morale to inspire them to outstanding performance and loyalty to your organization.

Yes, if you have a tight budget, you can affordably achieve the greatest in efficiency, higher employee retention and profits.

Employees appreciate it when management values effort and productive work.

To inexpensively create a fun, high-performance culture, here are five ways:

1. Inspire employees’ sense of ownership

Promote a team spirit by helping them to feel valuable. Explain how their thinking and performance contribute to the overall operations.

Be transparent. Explain your challenges.

Tell them their ideas are welcome and be sure to acknowledge their input and listen to them.

In addition, you’ll be helping your culture by contributing to your employees’ emotional intelligence. That is, if you encourage them to question their thinking and behavior to adjust their emotions in order to become flexible in dealing with changing conditions and to achieve their professional goals.

This will increase your odds for a profitable long-term future because it significantly changes your human resources into a profit center.

2. Encourage your employees to learn

Consider that employees who grow and learn are more productive. Plus, they’re  more engaging with you, their teammates and your customers. So, encourage them to grow personally and professionally.

Start by asking your employees about what interests them. Share ideas with them for interesting and free sources of information.

For example, set aside company time for TED Talks (free online videos).

Check with your peer managers and business owners to see if they have valuable information they can share with your employees. Inquire with your vendors to see if they offer free training on products.

Motivate key employees to form a lunch club to read relevant articles and books, and then meet a couple of times a month for discussions.

Healthy employees love to share information and to teach others. Encourage them to do so.

3. Introduce the Principle of Contrary Action

The Principle of Contrary Action helps to prevent boredom and promotes keeping an open-mind.


The principle suggests you keep a mental record of your activities and look for ways to change how you do things each time you do them. This goes for your mundane, or everyday tasks.

You’ll also realize better ways to inspire your team and improve the return on investment of your marketing.

Then, consider urging employees to change their routines. This includes considering different ways of accomplishing a task or to brainstorm ideas.

How about encouraging blue-sky sessions to discuss innovation about operations, products or services in your company?

Or how about encouraging volunteerism?

4. Socialize together

One way to increase job satisfaction is to seek ways for employees to socialize and get to know each other outside their job duties.

Solicit employee ideas to have fun.

Hint: Most Americans love food. Suggest a lunchtime potluck or an ice-cream social on Fridays.

Consider Slack channels on topics showing vacation destinations or popular films.

Many companies conduct office sports pools. They can be fun. But be careful because office sports pools risk legal snake pits.

Celebrate holidays and encourage employees to decorate their work spaces or to dress for the occasions.

5. Create special events to show appreciation

Don’t ever let your employees feel taken for granted when they perform a monumental task and whey they do something a little extra such as providing great service to customers or who answered the call to work an overtime shift.

It can be as simple as a thoughtful, hand-written note.

Publicly recognize employees for special achievements.

Encourage your staff to express positive comments about one another by establishing a bulletin board.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources:

Profit Drivers – How and Why to Partner with Your Employees – If you want maximum profit, consider partnering with your employees. Here’s expert advice from leading financial consultant Roni Fischer.

Management: How to Help Employees to Grow Professionally – Managers owe it to the organization to help their employees grow professionally, and will benefit from higher employee performance and low turnover.

For Best Performance, Inspire Employees with Non-Financial Rewards – Money talks, of course, and is a way to motivate employees. But money is not always the chief motivator. Here’s why plus the four categories of ideas to inspire your employees.

Management: Coach Your Employees to Better Performance – In talent management, coaching, counseling and giving feedback is of utmost importance. But it’s a difficult challenge if you don’t have a coaching culture.

10 Tips to Plan for Your Critical Discussions with Employees – Careful planning is necessary before you give an employee an appraisal or in advance of terminating the person. Here are 10 tips.

“The best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.