Motivating Employees

15 effective ways to motivate employees

First published on Monday, Jul 31, 2023

Last updated on Friday, Jul 28, 2023

Employee motivation is vital to making employees feel valued in every workplace, regardless of its size. In a world where employees are quick to quit their jobs and demand more from their employers regarding well-being, it's more than important to dedicate time and energy to boost employee motivation.

If you aren't managing employee motivation levels and your employees aren't engaged or unhappy with their work, they're less likely to be loyal to your business or care much about performing their tasks well.

Employee motivation is important to every business, no matter how big or small the business is. Highly motivated employees often contribute significantly to ensuring business success, so maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction is vital to make sure your business keeps performing well.

According to Harvard business review, businesses need to focus on employee motivation and making staff feel valued now more than ever, or they risk losing valuable team members.

Group of people cheering in an office after a motivational meeting

Importance of having motivated employees in the workplace

As mentioned earlier, motivated employees are the key to the success of any business. When employees feel unappreciated or undervalued, they don't pay attention to their tasks, lack focus, have lower productivity and are more distracted at work.

Having an unmotivated employee results in a direct waste of resources. It can lead to lower productivity and a dip in your business output. It is also dangerous to leave unmotivated employees unaddressed.

When employees aren't motivated, their mood and disregard for work can rub off on their coworkers, who will, in turn, also affect other staff, leading them to avoid their tasks or meet their targets.

As an employer, managing employee motivation is your responsibility. Let's take a look at some of the reasons why employees lose motivation to understand better how to guide employees through periods of low motivation and restore their job satisfaction levels.

What causes a lack of employee motivation

Loss of employee motivation usually doesn't happen overnight. It can take months to build up or notice that an employee's performance has dropped, they no longer interact or only do the bare minimum of their work.

Some employers may notice this change and give up on the employee and resort to giving them a warning letter or firing them. This would not be the best approach. It's better to try to get to the root of the matter and solve the issue because it's more than likely affecting multiple employees.

If a source of negative changes in employees is left unattended, it could spiral out of control and cost the business when it starts to affect multiple employees.

The first step to providing support to a demotivated employee is to understand the problem. Here are some of the most common causes of a lack of employee motivation:

  • Feeling overwhelmed

An overwhelming workload can have a negative effect on employee motivation. When employees feel like they're facing unreasonable demands with large or unrealistic workloads, they may become stressed and lose their drive or interest in performing at their best.

  • Limited training and development opportunities

Many employees these days value learning potential and frequent training. Continuous development is great for employee engagement. It helps grow your employee's knowledge and skills and prepares them to take on more responsibilities in the workplace. A lack of training can make them feel stagnant, like there's no room for growth in the business, resulting in decreased job satisfaction and employee productivity.

  • Lack of flexibility

Having a poor work-life balance is fairly common with a lot of employees. When your staff feel like they're always working and often have to choose between work and their other commitments like family, social life, or studies, it can result in less motivated employees.

Types of employee motivation

There are several types of employee motivation, but we'll focus on two major types, which are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic employee motivation comes from internal factors, while extrinsic motivation comes from external sources.

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic employee motivation works for employees who can be self-motivated to finish their tasks or improve their performance. People who respond to intrinsic motivation don't need external rewards and are inspired to willingly do their best work by things like feeling competent at their job and being influenced or inspired to improve by their passions or creative interests.

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic employee motivation motivates employees by promising external results like rewards or consequences. The fear or excitement of something happening as a result of a change in job performance can influence an employee's motivation to perform better at work. Some examples of extrinsic rewards include offering incentives or hitting a milestone.

Person working in the kitchen feeling happy and motivated

What are the top 4 motivational factors for most employees?

Several motivational factors influence employee motivation levels. Some of these include:

Work relationships

Your employees spend hours every day at work with their coworkers, so having a good relationship with them can be a deciding factor in employee motivation levels.

The way other team members act also has some influence because if your employees don't get along, or some team members don't feel as valued or involved in workplace culture, they may end up losing their motivation to participate or make an effort in the workplace.

Growth opportunities

One of the things that motivates employees is knowing there is an opportunity for career growth in your business. When employees have been in one position for long, it can decrease employee morale and make them less dedicated to fulfilling their tasks.

But knowing there's a chance they might get a promotion to a new role, get better benefits or get a pay bump can make for a more motivated workforce.

Work-life balance

Giving your employees flexible working hours can help improve their work-life balance, making them feel less overwhelmed or overworked by their work responsibilities.

This can also help your employees feel seen and like you understand their wellbeing as an employer. They'll be more motivated to complete their work which is always good for your business success.

Leadership styles

Your leadership style as an employer can motivate employees, increase their confidence or discourage them. Motivated employees tend to have leaders they relate well with and can go to them for guidance and counsel. Keeping your team motivated encourages them to pursue their goals, perform their work well and look forward to working with other employees.

Making yourself approachable, maintaining a positive attitude, and having an open-door policy can all contribute to creating a motivated work environment.

Employers should also remember each employee is different and may not respond the same way to these techniques. Tailoring your leadership or mentorship style to benefit each employee can help address this.

How can employees be best motivated?

Understanding why motivating employees is important, what causes employees to lose motivation and what factors influence their levels of motivation is essential to spot when your employee's motivation is low.

If you are dealing with demotivated employees, here are a few employee motivation techniques for a more engaged and productive workforce.

1. Show recognition and appreciation

It's important to show employees recognition and express gratitude and appreciation when they do a good job. It's a great way to motivate employees as employees often worry about whether or not they're doing well at work, and showing recognition serves as a confidence boost to your employees.

It'll give them reassurance that they're good at their job and motivate employees to keep doing better. This can be in the form of extrinsic rewards like vouchers, shorter work-days, etc.

2. Encourage teamwork to boost job satisfaction

Working as a team can help your employees feel valued, perform better, and feel like they are contributing meaningfully to the company's mission.

Teamwork can motivate employees to build better relationships with their coworkers, which can lead to improved workplace culture and more motivated employees.

3. Tailor motivation to meet team members' individual needs

Not all employees are motivated by the same things. It's important to personalize the way you motivate your employees to fit each employee's specific needs. It can help to motivate employees if you find out what each employee's goal is and what kind of rewards they prefer.

Doing this is also an opportunity to connect with your staff and build a culture of listening and community. This may feel like a lot of work, but investing time in your employees and learning about them can go a long way to ensure your business's success.

4. Focus your leaders on motivating employees

Different aspects of the business may need your attention, so you may not be as involved in running the day-to-day activities of your business. For example, if you work with an HR professional, it's important to encourage your managers to focus on managing your employees to keep their motivation levels high.

The way management runs the business sets the tone for employee engagement, so it's crucial to emphasize why employee motivation should remain at the top of their minds.

Coaching staff, recognizing their work, and giving rewards all go a long way when you motivate employees and make a significant impact on employee engagement which contributes to better employee productivity and work relationships.

5. Value employees' work and contribution

Highlight how employees' work contributes to the business's success and let them know you value their work. Celebrating employee successes with things like office happy hours, breakfast socials or team lunches can go a long way to motivating employees.

This will help motivate your employees to reach more goals and take on initiatives knowing their success is valued and recognized.

6. Practice transparency

Don't leave employees in the dark about important factors that affect them. This can decrease their trust in the business and cause more employees to leave if they feel like they're being lied to. Practicing transparency, like sharing business performance or decisions with employees, helps them feel involved. They know exactly what's going on in the business and feel like they're getting carried along.

7. Collect and respond to employee feedback

When your employees know they have a voice and their feedback is heard, they're more inclined to perform their work better. They're also more likely to stay with a business that listens to and responds to their feedback. Collecting feedback is also a great way to learn about how your employees feel about different aspects of the business, including your motivation techniques.

A great way to do this is by running some employee feedback and satisfaction surveys from time to time. It's not enough to only collect feedback. Make sure you take active steps to implement actions to address any concerns or suggestions made.

8. Give your team autonomy

Employee productivity can drop when they don't feel like they're in control of their time. Micromanaging and constantly checking on employees can damage the work you've done to keep your employees motivated.

It's good to give them freedom and trust that they'll remain highly motivated and perform their tasks diligently. This can involve giving them flexible working hours, more time off or frequent breaks knowing they'll complete the job before the deadline.

9. Provide an employee recognition platform

You can boost employee motivation by providing a recognition platform solely to boost employee morale. You can concentrate your employee motivation plans here to not only keep track of your efforts but also make it easy for your employees to have a central location for things like perks, recognizing milestones, and rewarding their team members for doing a good job.

It can also help you keep track of company goals like bringing team members together, boosting employee motivation and work-life balance.

10. Build a positive work environment

Your work environment can have a positive or negative effect on employee motivation. As a result, it can influence their moods, which in turn impacts their concentration abilities, energy levels and general wellbeing.

So, it's important to invest in making sure your workplace is modern, has basic necessities like a lunch room, and is comfortable and well-maintained.

Make small provisions like giving your employees access to enough natural light, and fresh air, using light colors in your office decor to uplift their mood and more to make your employees look forward to coming to work every day.

11. Make work meaningful with company core values

Stating your company values and making sure your employees understand and relate to them can be vital to improving employee motivation. It can motivate employees to see your personal values align with the company's mission and values, and seeing that you embody its promises can help them stay engaged and motivate employees to work harder. It can also improve employee motivation.

12. Lead with vision

Leading with vision can help boost productivity. Setting a clear definition of success makes employees motivated to work hard toward that goal. It also helps management and employees work better together when they know they're on the same page.

An employee wouldn't want to feel like they're coming to work each day and putting their energy towards unclear goals. Clearly, sharing and stating your company's values, mission, and vision can help address such fears.

13. Encourage innovation and creativity

Involving and giving employees a chance to contribute to different aspects of the company, participate and bring their creative direction to projects can boost their motivation and make for happy employees.

Your employees may be skilled in different areas, and tapping into different skills by encouraging their creativity and innovative ideas will not only improve employee motivation but can also be profitable and create a positive company culture.

14. Encourage team bonding outside the workplace

Connecting outside the workplace can be a great motivator and reduce some of the pressure that makes it hard for employees to get along with other employees. Conducting team building activities helps build team spirit and trust and allows employees to get to know each other better. When employees trust each more and have personal connections, they work better together and have higher job satisfaction.

15. Provide positive competition

Some positive, friendly competition can be a great motivator. You can place employees into teams and have them work together towards achieving a collective business goal. This can appeal to both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations as the challenge of conquering a goal may appeal to intrinsic desires, and a reward which can be more than just money, like a trophy or voucher, appeals to extrinsic desires.

While conducting competitions, remember it's your responsibility to keep everyone in check so it doesn't escalate and have the opposite effect. Make sure you run it fairly, and employees understand it should be fun and friendly, so it doesn't lead to conflict.

These are a few simple ways you can motivate your employees as an employer. Some other employee motivation techniques include helping employees develop their career path, implementing wellness initiatives like fitness challenges or offering discounted gym memberships.

Person working from home on the phone feeling motivated

How to measure employee motivation

Implementing the strategies listed above is just one step to ensuring your employees are always motivated. Measuring the success of these activities is also an important factor you must consider as an employer. Some of the best ways to measure employee motivation include:

Customer satisfaction surveys

Your employee's feelings about your company has a direct impact on customer success, so measuring how satisfied your customers are can be an indication of how motivated your employees are.

When employees are engaged and motivated, they're more likely to serve customers better. This technique is especially helpful for businesses that deal with customers directly.

Employee satisfaction surveys

Surveys are one of the best ways to get information on employees' feelings about their workplace. A lot goes into crafting a good employee satisfaction survey, like crafting the right questions, deciding whether they should be attributed or anonymous and more.

Learn more about conducting employee satisfaction surveys to improve employee motivation here.

Performance reviews

Periodic performance reviews can be great for company culture. They can help you guide your employees to advance their career path, get insights into and measure whether you have motivated employees or not.

They provide an opportunity to understand and measure what may be affecting employee motivation. When the problem is identified, you can take steps to correct the issue.

Examine key metrics

Whether you're working with HR professionals or not, there are key metrics that can help you measure employee motivation. Taking a look at tangible data like a drop in output or attendance and other factors like an increase in unexplained absences or their answers on previous employee surveys.

Survey questions consisting of smiley faces with the green faces all ticked

Keeping employees motivated with BrightHR

When your employees aren't motivated, it can have serious negative consequences on your company's success. They won't turn up to work, have low performance and output, and their productivity will suffer.

These not only affect employee performance and your overall company success but also has negative results on your company goals, profitability and employee retention.

It may seem like it's not a manager's job to motivate employees, but if you want to achieve your company objectives, it's crucial to pay attention to everything from employee engagement to professional development and more.

As an employer, these are all important factors that can't be ignored. A motivated team is an efficient team, so it's important to do everything in your power to keep developing employees and maintaining employee motivation.

BrightHR's suite of people management software, HR and health & safety documentation and advice line are all a click away to help you identify, measure and improve employee motivation.

if you would like to learn more ways to motivate employees and how we help business owners handle employee motivation, call us at 1 888 220 4924 or book a demo today!

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