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Motivate staff with more than just money

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The holiday season is a time when employees work harder for bonuses in hopes they can buy their families everything on their wish list or get themselves a gift to start off the new year right. However, a recent blog post for Entrepreneur magazine found money might not be the best motivator after all.

"Unless you're extremely careful with how you use rewards, you get people who are just working for the money," Edward Deci, a human motivation psychologist at the University of Rochester, told the magazine.

Don't believe money is the only way to inspire employees
Many small-business owners simply don't have enough money to give all their employees bonuses come time for the holidays. In order to retain employees and keep their staff members happy, they can provide other benefits such as allowing their employees to pursue other passions and maintaining a work environment favorable for their workforce.

"Money is highly motivational for people," Ian Larkin, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, told the magazine. "But saying money is the only thing we should use is also silly. Companies probably think too much about using money as a motivator and too little about other motivators."

Remind employees their focus is to get the job done right
Employees who are working to receive a bonus can be spotted easily, making it easier for small-business owners to know their real source of motivation. By emphasizing company goals and expected values with the company, small-business owners can hope to see that their staff will work hard even if they aren't going to receive a holiday bonus.

"If the activity is an instrument to the reward, then they'll try to do it as easily as they can," Deci told the magazine.

Small-business owners have to be strong leaders with the hope that their workforce will follow their lead. However, in some instances, employees will be working strictly for the money, and there is no other way to motivate them. After realizing that a holiday bonus won't happen, many small-business owners could see a dip in performance from their staff, causing them to make a tough staffing decision. By being protected with business insurance policies, small-firm owners won't have to feel threatened by potential lawsuits.

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