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How to Motivate Minimum Wage Workers

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 3.6 million workers were earning less than or an equivalent of the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in 2012. Managing the minimum wage employees in your business can be difficult because of their low job motivation, young age and inexperience. You can use various methods to increase productivity from these workers, however.

Proper Training

Provide newly recruited minimum wage workers with proper training and tools to adapt to their duties quickly. You need to enlighten them on what their jobs entail and inform them of your expectations. Training new employees before entrusting them with vital duties will reduce employee turnover and enhance their job satisfaction. You can also use experienced employees in your enterprise to mentor new recruits. Younger workers can acquire valuable skills from their older counterparts and more quickly familiarize themselves with the job.


You can recognize the efforts of outstanding employees in your business by rewarding them with items such as buttons, T-shirts or badges. Consider holding an employee of the month competition, which will inspire your minimum wage employees to improve their work. You could reward winners of this contest by displaying their photographs where clients can see them clearly. Provide a special parking space for winning employees and let them park there for one or two weeks. Rewarding employees encourages them to keep working hard while inspiring others to improve.

Positive Work Environment

Create a positive environment in which employees work hard but can still have fun. Such a workplace motivates employees to dedicate themselves fully to their tasks and benefits customers through exemplary service. It also increases your sales because customers who receive good service will keep doing business with you. Creating a positive environment involves praising employees for every accomplishment and correcting them in private when they make a mistake. Enhance communication between you and your workers so that they can easily forward their complaints or concerns to your office.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Minimum wage employees can become effective workers when they see great opportunities to advance their careers in your business. Help them climb the career ladder with training or by advising them to get the necessary education. You can also promote hard-working employees to higher positions in the business, which will inspire others to work hard in an effort to gain promotion. The career ladder in your organization needs to outline promotion and advancement opportunities. It should also spell out the necessary credentials, experience and skills for advancement into a higher position.

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