7 Unusual Ways to Motivate Your Employees

Unusual Results Demand Unusual Methods.

There are many methods of motivating employees, many of them based on common sense, many straightforward. Normal methods for motivation might yield normal results. But if you seek extraordinary results, you may need unusual types of motivation.

1) Give them a part of the company

– An ESOP or employee stock option plan gives your workers a piece of the company and a share of its profits. A 2000 study from Rutgers found that firms tend to grow about 2% faster than they would’ve otherwise

2) Unlimited vacation

– Rather than dictate a number of vacation days or weeks, just let your employees set the number. Make them feel they can vacation 365 days a year if they so choose. One case study finds it can happen without abuse. Red Frog Event Company’s CEO Joe Reynolds sets his employees’ vacation days limit at infinity, and says it absolutely works.

3) Work hard/Play hard

—A lot of the cutting-edge companies allow their employees to play at work, with gyms, play rooms, and organized breaks from work in the form of scavenger hunts, dodge ball, flash mobs, producing a video. The idea here is largely to emphasize that as a boss you can let go, think out of the box, and be extraordinary. An extraordinary workplace has a shot at getting extraordinary performance.

4) Write notes for good work

—This doesn’t mean birthday cards, general appreciation, cordial messages, but acknowledgement of specific good work.

5) Take them under your wing

—Sorry for not being more specific here, but generally showing your rank and file that you care about them will be a great motivating force. Giving attention, giving of your time, is the purest way of showing appreciation and making the employees feel safe and secure. Further, this will cause them to feel accountability—and in a way that is more gentle than threatening—that in turn motivates.

6) Nap Time

—Everything we need to know we learned in Kindergarten. If naps are good for your five-year-old, why not your employees? Ideas can come after a quick loss and re-gaining of consciousness, so why not give it a shot?

7) Events

Dreamworks holds inspiring cultural events for its employees, such as art fairs, lectures, etc. Your company won’t be able to host or create these, but field-tripping to them is an option. You can file this under rejuvenation, non-nap variety. It’s the kind of rejuvenation that can inspire your employees and lead to specific innovations.

Some of these seem elaborate, in some cases, a bit costly, and very time-consuming. But many of these strategies, you can employ once or twice a year, and generally, you can do them in a way that overwhelm you. The benefits your employees—and your company—will get from them will be more than enough to justify the effort.

Remember, unusual results demand unusual methods.