Motivating staff isn't all about expensive initiatives: bonuses, salary increases, weekend conferences abroad, outdoor team building events, etc. There are plenty of other things you can introduce for little financial outlay that will motivate people too and will even be more effective in the long run:
Recognition of employees' achievements and hard work is the single biggest motivator - and it's one that's available to companies of any size. Public recognition and communication of a job well done are what matters to people.
It may be something as simple as a sincere "Thank you" or "Well done" at the right time. For special efforts you might want to add a token of appreciation - such as a bottle of bubbly or a restaurant voucher.
Or take it a step further by offering high achieving employees additional responsibility or the opportunity to share their expertise with colleagues.
Ultimately, when you recognise someone for something they've done that's of value to your company, you'll make a positive difference to the way that person feels.
2 Invest in training
Investing in people is also crucial for motivating employees.
When someone comes back from a course with a new idea or new way of doing something, it injects energy as well as knowledge into the organisation. And it sends a clear message to people that you believe they're worth investing in.
It doesn't have to be expensive. For example it may be more cost effective to bring a trainer in-house for a day to train several people at once, instead of sending them on individual courses.
Or you could sponsor valued employees on college courses, relatively cheap training, to study for qualifications that support the work of your company and develop the person at the same time.
3 Improve and develop the business
Another way to motivate staff is to lead a culture of change.
Not change for change's sake: if managed effectively, change makes employees feel they are part of an organisation that is developing and improving, and where life will be different for them in a year's time. It keeps them looking forward to the future and mentally engaged with the company they work for.
4 Involve people
Sit down regularly with your people and ask for their ideas about how processes can be improved. Involving staff in this way makes them feel valued and appreciated, and that they have an active stake in the way things will be in the future.