3 Fun But Unorthodox Employee-Motivation Hacks

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Perhaps you are thinking this is another post on how bosses need to reward employees, support them, listen to them, celebrate their achievements etc.

Don’t get me wrong, those motivational tactics are important and need to be talked about often but, no, this isn’t that kind of post.

For me, employee motivation is a puzzle that needs to move beyond well-established silos. Employees and their expectations from an organization have evolved. It’s important that your motivational tactics keep pace with their changing needs and requirements.

Today, regular appraisals and performances bonuses don’t guarantee employee satisfaction with their jobs. Inspiring employees to do their job well and ensuring they are happy working for you is not easy.

This is why I believe you need to use a mix of time-tested and new tactics to motivate them. Here are three unusual ways of taking advantage of motivational triggers whose potential remains largely untapped.

Take a look:

1. Start the weekend sooner

According to a British Airways survey, workers are at their least productive Friday afternoons past 2:39 p.m. There is a switch somewhere in their heads that shuts off for the weekend. Winding down on Friday afternoon is a common phenomenon amongst employees. You can take advantage of this.

Consider taking it easy on Fridays, or even declaring Friday afternoon the end of your work week. At the least, make it abundantly clear to employees that you don’t expect them to put in productive work hours on a Friday afternoon. Let them know they are free to leave, if they wish.

Think of it as a huge incentive you are offering employees. It has a two-fold benefit. It motivates employees to work harder through the week as they try to complete their assignments by Thursday or latest by Friday first-half. Secondly, it’s a fantastic employee retention tactic.

It’s the kind of perk that can’t be beat.

Related: Workaholics Need Some Guilt-Free Time Off, Too

2. Bring your children to work

Yes, you read that right! Zero in on a particular day of the month when your employees can bring their children to work. 

It’s baby’s day out, reimagined with a motivational twist.

This concept has the potential to change dynamics of your work place. A bunch of hyperactive kids doing their own thing makes a refreshing change from the monotony of the usual office work environment.

Consider allowing employees who’ve just become moms to bring their babies to work every day. You won’t miss out on the services of a talented individual who otherwise might need to leave her job or take a long break to take care of her baby.

From the employees’ perspective, this benefit means they don’t have to take a career break.

The incremental benefits of this motivational hack are enormous.

Related: Children On Board

3. The month-end laugh-a-thon

Research shows laughter is closely linked with healthy, well-functioning blood vessels.

So, it figures, since you need healthy, happy and more productive employees, you need to infuse a bit of humor into the workplace.

Hearty laughter = better performance.

There are plenty of ways you can elicit belly laughs from your employees.

Here’s a couple ideas. Every month, assign a few employees the job of tickling the funny bone of their colleagues. You could even go a step further and hire a neighborhood standup comedian to perform for your staff. The options are limitless. Just pick one and give it a try.

Watching your employees laugh their guts out is a great sight and what’s even more important is that they are laughing together. These laugh-a-thons are an exercise in bonding and give a leg up to the team spirit of the organization.

As they say, “Employees that laugh together, work well together”. Ok I made that one up, but it’s true. Give it a try.

The way you go about motivating your employees needn’t be boring. The objective is to look for ways that are interesting and fun; run of the mill motivational hacks might deliver ordinary results. But, if you try to do something different, you might just hit the "motivational jackpot."

Related: How to Use Humor at Work Without Acting Like a Jerk