Times are tough and pay rises are few and far between, so how do successful companies motivate their employees without relying on cash?

John Telfer, Managing Director of Investors in People South, said: “We work with a lot of very inspiring businesses in the south east that are willing to share their knowledge. We decided to ask Investors in People Champion organisations across the region how they motivate their people without damaging the company’s bottom line.”

There are currently 62 Investors in People Champions in the South representing the very best of the business community. A selection of Investors in People Champions from across the region share their tips for motivating without money:

  • To recognise and thank employees who go the extra mile we have a value award initiative. We encourage employees to nominate fellow colleagues whom they believe have gone out of their way to demonstrate the company values, delivered excellent client service or who have gone the extra mile to help someone else who is under pressure. All nominees are then announced to the wider team and thanked, before one employee is selected as our value ambassador of the month. Shilling Ltd, Hampshire
  • Annual pay reviews and bonus payments generally only motivate in the short term. Feedback suggests that greater motivation comes from small ad hoc rewards such as cakes/chocolates when we hit monthly targets or have record months, champagne when we achieved Investors in People Gold and our annual corporate day and additional holiday. Our staff also appreciate the directors walking the floor and personally and collectively thanking staff for their contribution together with regular feedback, praise and a thank you from their individual managers. Welland Medical Limited, West Sussex
  • inspiring-business-performanceAs a growing organisation we realise that our success is founded on the quality of our people and the level to which we support them in achieving their personal and career goals. As such, we focus on the development and performance of our teams, encouraging our employees to take further qualifications, provide advice on subjects, options and exams available, pass on resources and aides we encounter and knowledge-share across the organisation. AES International, London
  • Two key things that motivate people at work are clarity of expectations/standards and clear communication. Using a technique called Exchanging expectations helps with both and is simply about a manager and team member talking through what they expect/need from each other, in order to build a good working relationship. It works because it is truly two way. For staff, it is refreshing and motivating to be asked for input in this way and shows that the manager really values the team member. Focal Point Training and Consultancy Ltd, Hampshire
  • We have recently introduced the Peer Recognition Award programme, which recognises a staff member or group of staff who their colleagues feel have gone above and beyond to do an excellent job. The recipient’s name is inscribed on the award, which is presented by a senior manager, and keeps it until the next nomination. This initiative has proved to be motivating and popular. Navigators & General, East Sussex
  • The single biggest enabler which opened up all the dialogue around Investors in People, aspiring to attain the highest standards generally – and helped us all to articulate our work stresses and frustrations as well as our joys – was running a series of five two-hour sessions for the whole company on emotional intelligence. This gave all of us a common vocabulary, a mutual appreciation of each other’s pressures and freed us up to work together on the bits which get in the way. McFarlane Telfer Ltd, Berkshire
  • We help employees to save money through participation in our ‘Save with Amey’ shopping discount and cash back scheme. Employees can also recommend candidates for jobs through our ‘Recommend a Friend’ scheme and be in with the chance of earning a referral reward. Amey Plc, Oxford
  • In an effort to ‘empower and involve’ employees we set up a Recognition and Reward (R&R) Forum. We have 12 sites in UK and Ireland. Each site elects a representative who attends regular meetings where issues relating to their workplaces are raised. Senior Management respond to the issues raised and implement changes where possible. Based on recommendations from the R&R Group we have made several changes to our business, including increasing holiday entitlements. The R&R Group has been a phenomenal way of increasing employee engagement and improving communication. OttoBock Healthcare Plc, Surrey
  • The Council has a strong culture of empowerment and has, through this generated additional capacity, improved productivity and increased morale. Our staff even reviewed their own terms and conditions and brought about annual savings of over £300,000. The Council has an internal coaching practice and has trained a number of executive coaches allowing access to coaching to everyone in the organisation. This has already had a number of positive and transformational outcomes for not only the coachees but also for the Council’s coaches. Sevenoaks District Council, Kent
  • The staff intranet allows all employees to log in remotely, communicate with each other, receive messages from management, sign up to training sessions, apply for available jobs and watch bespoke training videos. 

The training system is affectionately nicknamed the managerial pipeline. Those who follow it, for example, progress from manager positions at smaller sites such as Bath, to intermediate sites such as Shepherd’s Bush and then onto larger sites, such as Prague, Paris, and Barcelona. Staff are encouraged and paid to travel between the Beds and Bars sites to experience working abroad, and are also afforded the opportunity of work placements with market leaders such as Drake and Morgan. Beds and Bars Ltd, London

Investors in People is the UK’s leading people management standard, offering a practical and flexible framework for improving business productivity, performance and competitiveness in organisations of all types and sizes through good practice in people management.

An organisation can achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold Investors in People accreditation by meeting additional evidence requirements from across the Investors in People framework. Once they achieve the Gold level, exceptional businesses are invited to become an Investor in People Champion.

For more tips on motivating without money from the South’s Champions, and to find out more about the benefits of Investors in People, visit, email or call 020 7492 5960.



  1. Never purchase without value. The difference between an
    excellent business and an excellent investment is how much you pay.
    Discovering excellent businesses is just one part of the equation.
    The other part is discovering the right price to pay, and it is just as
    important for success with your investments.

Add Comment

13 − 4 =