Knowing what motivates employees and realizing that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune are the first steps to developing a motivation program at the workplace. When I became a Customer Service Manager at a company, I knew that something needed to be done to increase motivation within the department.

I eventually decided to implement something called “The Treasure Box.” Obviously, there wasn’t real treasure (or money) in the box. And, to be honest, the box itself was a recycled box that had originally contained company envelopes. However, I did fill the box with decorative sticky notes, gel pens, interesting pen/pencil holders, fancy-shaped paper clips, and other miscellaneous office supplies.

“The Treasure Box” turned out to be a great motivator for our department. When we set a weekly goal on Monday, everyone knew the goal and was striving to achieve it throughout the week. Then, the following Monday, anyone that had achieved the goal was allowed to pick one prize out of “The Treasure Box.” Goals included items such as who brought in the most jobs during the week, which service representative received the most customer compliments during that time, and who billed the highest jobs throughout the week-long contest. By changing the target goal or task, it gave almost everyone a chance to win at some point during “The Treasure Box” reign.

For many people, money is not the greatest motivator. In addition to money, many people work because they enjoy being around others, they may enjoy the camaraderie of an office setting or they actually like what they do. Remember that different things motivate different people. Employers should take the time to get to know the employees and tailor the motivational tools to their specific work environment. When you discover that a gel pen is the greatest treasure for your employees, take that idea and make motivation happen within your department.