Increase Employee Engagement: 7 “No Budget” Ideas

How I started my management journey you can read here.
After starting with the wrong foot, I was thinking about how to compensate the loss in trust, I so fast gained. The company didn’t offered me any budget for team building activities, training or anything close to that, it was not really in the culture.
So when I complained to a colleague from the master I was joining, about the fact that my company doesn’t organize any networking events or courses. He answered:


”You are leading that business, it’s your responsibility to take action.”

At that moment, my vision on management changed. I was determined to stop going with the flow and waiting for instructions from the group and to create my own opportunities, to start find ways to improve. How to do it though, I had no budget for that.
Having this idea in mind but not searching actively, I started to get some hints from my team.

  1. Can I work today from home, I have this issue? We established together that we can work one day a month from home (I know it doesn’t sound like much now, it was happening 8 years ago. And I didn’t had any approval from the mother company) – Home office for team members

  2. I am coming earlier to avoid traffic, can I live earlier? Because we were not binded to some fixed schedule we decided together on a gliding working schedule, as long as somebody occupies the office from 9-5. – Flexible schedule for team members

  3. One colleague asked if we can donate the returned articles which had small defects to some charity institution and told that she is willing to organize everything. And this we did. She organized the sales colleagues to bring them to the office, selected the good ones and drove them to the place, along with other clothing that we decided to personally donate. –Allow team member to take action that brings value to himself and the world

  4. One of the sales team members wished to have random plates for the car, not to be recognized easy by colleagues from the partner stores. Because she cared much about that and there were no procedures prohibiting it, I accepted. – Fulfill small personal wishes

  5. The human resources specialist asked me if she can join some conferences during the working hours, there was no fee to pay because we had a subscription to the publication of the organizer. I said yes. – Offer time for education and networking

  6. When I was flying out of the country for business, I was encouraging them to use my company car, instead of just living it to rest in the parking lot of the office. They were grateful for that. – Small good deeds make the difference, can you think of any?

  7. I started to organize team-building events, on the approved sales budget allocated for lunches with clients, which we were not fully spending – Be playful and inventive with your limited budget

This was a small team of 9 persons. I was a little bit breaking the rules but not much. Because the turnover was growing, partners were happy, nobody really cared to check costs to the last details.
The main idea is that nobody will tell you what to do. If you expect your boss, or the mother company to teach you how to manage, you will fail.


Search for possibilities and take action.

Keep your mind open to everything, this will allow you to find ideas suitable to your business context and your team. There are always ways which do not affect the cash flow or P&L, which will not harm the company or it’s culture and will bring you and your team great value.
Are you managing a team? Click here to discover 5 tips to help new managers.
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Oana Vaideanu
Retail Business Consultant

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