Ever notice how some leaders have an uncanny ability to motivate their staff? Their employees always seem so engaged and satisfied with their job.

And you want your employees to feel the same way, except you're not sure how to motivate your team without added compensation.

Most business owners are in the same boat. It's easy to assume that more money is what pushes employees to do their best work.

But lucky for us, money isn't the secret ingredient to motivation.

It's a combination of factors including feeling connected, empowered, appreciated, and rewarded. The following ways will help develop these positive feelings and grow the employee motivation you crave.

Reward with actions.

Instead of physical rewards think of actionable rewards that spark employee interest and unite the team. For example, have managers ring a bell when a large sale is made. Or play the Rocky theme song when a big job is completed. It'll get workers talking, laughing, motivated, and excited to overcome the next hurdle.

Even in times working remotely, you can still reward your employees through virtual cards, a shoutout in a team chat, or a virtual meeting with fun activities!

Boost morning morale.

Who likes mornings? Especially Monday mornings. Showing your staff appreciation on the hardest day of the week will go a long way. And what better way to energize the team than offering breakfast?

A small breakfast spread of fruit, healthy bars, bagels, or muffins is relativity cheap and a positive start to fuel the week ahead. Depending on your budget you can offer it daily, weekly, or monthly.

Working from home? Encourage workers to join a quick call for virtual coffee! Share stories, team building games, and activities to start the day off on the right foot.

Host dress theme days.

There should be room for a little fun in the workplace. Develop an environment where employees can enjoy themselves and they'll want to do the work. Hosting dress theme workdays is an idea that will bond your team and create a positive experience. 

First, brainstorm ideas with your employees. Then, schedule days throughout the month with themes - like wear your favorite sports team memorabilia on Wednesday. You can even host themed lunch Potlucks to go along with the outfits.

Offer flex time.

Free time is one of the most precious forms of compensation. Consider giving your employees a few paid flex hours in the morning or afternoon for a job well done.

How can you begin a flex reward program?

Create a clear set of expectations for how to gain and use paid hours. Produce a system of achievement criteria to ensure hours are given fairly to each employee. Instate an approval process for requesting use of rewarded flex hours. And establish a flex schedule to make sure you'll have coverage for your business while employees are away.

Rethink titles.

Much of our pride lies in the job titles that we hold. After all, our occupation is the first topic of conversation when we meet someone new. The way that we feel about our title affects our morale and motivation while employed.

A few subtle changes in your employee job titles could make a difference in how your employees feel about their job. For example, instead of customer service representative, try customer satisfaction specialist. Both positions do the same thing, yet the second sounds a little more impressive.

Encourage creative thinking.

Empowering employees to think creatively at work increases motivation. But how does one encourage another to be creative? One way is setting closer team deadlines to push employees to think outside of the box to get a job done. When given less time for a task people are likely to work smarter, be more creative and more resourceful.

So, think, are there task deadlines you've pushed out that can be realistically reached sooner? Experiment with closer deadlines and think of small fun rewards like an office nap time or coffee break when they're met. It will motivate your employees to reach new heights while encouraging teamwork and creativity towards a common goal. Win, win.

Keep things fresh.

When tasks get monotonous, employees turn into zombies. And you can't fault them - it's human nature. Switch things up a little bit and reclaim your team's attention. Employees get excited and motivated when learning something new, so tune into that scholarly need and nurture it.

Show employees you value their work by offering continuous training or one-on-one coaching opportunities. Let employees know that you're their biggest career growth advocate. Offer any assistance in teaching them skills that will allow them to pursue their career goals.

Do you have any other motivating ideas to add to this list? Comment below!

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may apply to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your plan.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.