The times are changing, the workforce is aging and by the year 2025, the “Gen Y” will make up 75% of the workforce. This means the digital age will be alive more than ever, and speed, flexibility and adaptability will be needed to keep up with the trends.

This is a time where it is not only monetary compensation that can incentivize and motivate a team. A team is a dynamic, living, breathing entity, moving like toward a common mission, and as Zig Ziglar says..


“Motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”

Money is a great motivator but surprisingly, it’s not the greatest motivator. In fact, money can do the opposite of motivate in some circumstances. For example, surveys have shown that money can make us lazy, it can undermine team performance, it can make us enjoy “off time” less, and can subvert our morality, ,as seen here.

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Motivating a team can be a fascinating experience of leadership and detective work with a flair of creativity. By completely understanding the character traits, love languages and passions of your members, you can motivate on a daily basis without simply a christmas bonus.

Here’s some alternatives:


  1. Create Annual Sub Goals for a Quicker Incentive Period


Instead of having just annual goals or even just quarterly goals with an incentive on the table, what about creating sub set monthly goals or even a weekly or daily RANDOM goal. Keep it interesting in the office by having a goal set on a random day, say Wednesday, and if fulfilled by Friday then they win X.


  1. Get Creative with Prizes


By getting to know someone at a deep level, you can make them feel blessed by something far greater. For instance, knowing their soft spots you can then begin to make them feel like a hero in the office and make them feel way more special by gifting them something more along their core values rather than cash.


  1. Hit Them at Their Values


Knowing someone’s core values can go a long way. For example, knowing how much a team member values travel and freedom, then a weekend getaway, prepaid with some hidden upgrades would be a far greater incentive than the bonus cheque.


  1. Know their Love Languages


Notably written about by Gary Chapman, Love Languages are the ways to express and receive “love”. The 5 languages are: Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts. By knowing how your team members see love, you can make them feel appreciated way easier without the frustrations of guessing and miscommunicating.


  1. Pride as a Motivator


For many people, status and autonomy make great motivators and unfortunately, Corporate (North) America has made this identify as a “promotion”. This works in short terms stints but for long term commitment and satisfaction, pride is needed more than monetary status. By driving up the pride a member can feel in their work, we can drive up emotional satisfaction and commitment to the mission and the day-to-day monotony.



We have learned that simply using cash as a motivator can lead to short term gratification but we can only find long term emotional satisfaction in a company that allows pride and a sense of accomplishment. By finding out which of the 5 love languages our teammates “see and feel love” we can then show them we care much more clearly.

Explore their core values and get creative with compensation and allow for smaller wins that can equal the big wins. The company can spend less money and teammates can feel more valued.