Your star employee can always be relied on. Self-starting, creative, and hard-working, she almost manages herself. However, lately, you have noticed a dip in performance. Complacency, sloppiness and a general lack of fire, have started to creep in. And you don’t know what to do about it. Sounds familiar? Most managers will have encountered similar issues with a team member over the years. The big question is how to motivate employees day in and day out. As the team’s ultimate motivator, the responsibility for reigniting that passion for the job rests firmly with managers.
Every leader worth their salt wants to get the best out of their team. After all, motivated employees are the key to achieving company success. Just check out these statistics for confirmation:
- Highly engaged and motivated teams increase business profitability by 21 percent
- Motivated employees are 87 percent less likely to resign from their company
- Employee engagement and team motivation reduces absenteeism by 41 percent
However, according to the latest data from Gallup, only 32 percent of US employees feel engaged and motivated in the workplace. So, how do you motivate employees who are disengaged and underperforming?
In this post, we take a deep dive into how to motivate employees.
We explore the factors motivating employees. And we also share 12 practical ways to spark that zest for work again and inspire employees to remain engaged.
How Do You Inspire And Motivate Employees?
You may be tempted to say a paycheck, but the truth is it’s not just money that gets workers out of bed in the mornings. Employee motivation is a complex mix of several factors.
Your workers are all different. Some are introverts, while others are extroverts. Some will be just starting their careers, and others will be nearing retirement. Each worker will have different perspectives, life experiences, and home lives.
It makes sense that with a diverse workforce, there’s no one solution to employee motivation. Dale in Accounts will likely be motivated by different factors than Janelle in Sales.
However, when it comes to keeping employees motivated, we all share a range of motivational factors. Back in 1959, behavioral scientist Frederick Herzberg identified five factors motivating employees. And his theory is still relevant today. According to Herzberg, the following factors influence employee motivation in the workplace:
Employees need to feel a sense of accomplishment in their work. The job has to be worthwhile and have a real purpose.
Recognizing employees for a job well done is essential to a positive company culture. And peer-to-peer employee recognition is just as important as praise from upper management. When you express gratitude, employees feel valued, and you boost employee morale.
The Work Itself
Job satisfaction impacts team motivation. Employees want a job that’s interesting, varied, and challenging.
Autonomy and ownership of their work are also essential to workers. This involves trusting employees to get on with the job without micromanaging them.
Nobody wants to feel that they are stagnating in a job. Opportunities for growth and a clear career path are crucial to an employee’s motivation.
Employers should provide workers opportunities to learn new skills, whether on-the-job training or external courses. The bottom line is that investing in professional development will motivate your employees to do outstanding work and stick around.
Another way of looking at employee motivation is intrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards. Use the following to motivate your employees and encourage even the most actively disengaged.
- Intrinsic motivation: This category includes things like personal achievement, job satisfaction, positive feedback, and self-fulfillment.
- Extrinsic rewards: Here, think salary, bonuses, professional development opportunities, and rewards.
What Promotes Employee Motivation? Find Out What Makes Workers Tick
Figuring out what makes your team members tick involves getting to know them personally. Set aside time in your regular one-to-ones to find out more about them as an individual. And use your frequent check-ins to find out how they are feeling and what’s going on in their lives outside work.
Taking the time to listen to your direct report can be very enlightening. For example, you may discover that the star employee we identified at the start feels she was overlooked for promotion. And that sense of frustration is behind her dip in performance. Or it may be that the employee is a carer to a family member and needs some extra vacation time or flexible working to relieve the pressure.
You may be concerned about the motivation of the entire team. In that case, an anonymous employee survey can help you identify the root cause. However, the last thing you want to do is overload your busy team. So, make sure you keep it short and simple. A snap poll on the intranet can help you assess the team’s level of employee motivation without being too demanding.
So, you now have a good feel for the general factors around how to motivate employees. And you have also invested time in exploring what makes individual workers tick. The challenge now is to come up with some practical steps you can take to boost employee morale and improve employee motivation.
How Do Leaders Motivate Employees?
When it comes to employee motivation, leaders have a profound impact. Here are some of the skills leaders need to encourage employees and develop motivated workers:
- Set clear goals and expectations
- Listen to the team and let them know their opinions count
- Be encouraging and supportive
- Offer intrinsic and extrinsic rewards
- Create a culture of trust and respect
- Model the work and qualities you expect in team members
Here are 12 additional ways to motivate an unmotivated employee, meet company objectives, and boost business success.
12 Ways To Motivate Employees And Keep Them Engaged
1. Company Shout-Outs
As we have seen, recognizing employees is an important factor. Of course, a pat on the back from a manager is crucial. However, peer-to-peer recognition is even more motivating.
Use the intranet’s team chat and set up a dedicated # channel so employees can give a shout-out to colleagues. It could be game-changing new ideas, stellar sales performances, or simply going out of their way to help a colleague. Either way, a public shout-out is a powerful motivator. And it’s an easily implemented but effective employee recognition tool for praising workers who go the extra mile.
2. Introduce Gamification And Incentives
A bit of healthy competition can be highly motivating. However, be cautious. Without checks and balances, it can be destructive.
MyHub customer Kenect Recruitment has used the intranet to incentivize branches with some friendly competition. Intranet-embedded Google Sheets display branch performance in league tables with real-time data. Workers find it engaging and motivating, and the informal competition has helped raise employee performance across the board.
If you decide to introduce gamification, keeping it on the team rather than the individual level is best. That way, you are more likely to promote collaboration rather than sabotage. And for transparency, make it around a specific business goal.
Rewards can be simple and low-cost. A trophy, special badges, or buttons give the winning team full bragging rights. And a box of yummy donuts is always a hit.
3. Trust In Your Team Members
Though tempting, try not to micromanage your team members, especially remote workers. Instead, give employees some autonomy and flexibility. Research shows that employees with higher levels of job autonomy report increased rates of work-related wellbeing.
Trusting in the team involves easing up on when and where work gets done. Flexible schedules and remote working allow employees to work the hours and locations that suit them best.
And the intranet is an excellent platform for encouraging more autonomous working. After all, your intranet is the central hub for all company information, systems, and processes. Using self-service, employees can source all the data they need for themselves. And that’s empowering for workers. Plus, it means you can confidently step back, knowing that your direct reports have all the tools required to get the job done.
Furthermore, a company retreat, team-building exercises, or shared social events help build trust among members. And they also boost team spirit allowing positive relationships to flourish.
4. Involve Employees In Goal-Setting
When setting goals and targets for an employee, be sure to involve them in the process. Collaborative goal-setting is a no-brainer. Research tells us that employees who are involved in goal-setting are more likely to take ownership. It provides clarity about what’s expected. And it fosters that sense of the bigger picture and making a worthwhile contribution. Just make sure individual targets align with company goals and your core values.
Furthermore, develop goals that will challenge and stretch your employee. Personal growth and development, plus the successful completion of minor and significant milestones, are incredibly motivating. And be sure to congratulate the worker as important goals are achieved to maintain that motivation.
5. Celebrate Success As A Team
Don’t take success for granted. In the daily grind, it’s easy to move on to the next project without pausing to celebrate achievements. Instead, make an effort to enjoy joint successes together. A team outing, shared lunch, or even a collective round of applause is often all it takes. However, the positive vibes and shared sense of achievement will keep your employee motivation buzzing for the next project.
6. Share Positive Reviews
Got a five-star Google Review? Or perhaps a happy customer has posted a positive testimonial on your Facebook page. Sharing glowing customer reviews is a surefire way to promote positivity. Publish great testimonials on the intranet newsfeed or team chat so all employees can feel the love.
7. Provide Opportunities For Learning and Development
Training budgets may have taken a hammering during the pandemic. However, there are plenty of low-cost ways that you can provide growth opportunities for the team to increase motivation. Harvard Business Review reports that 86 percent of employees would jump ship to another employer offering better career development. Clearly, learning and development are well worth the investment for motivation and retention.
There’s a wealth of cost-effective online learning options now available. And don’t forget your internal resources too. Mentoring schemes, work shadowing, and lunch and learn events are easily implemented and won’t blow out the budget.
8. Promote Collaboration
When it comes to motivation, collaborative work can be a game-changer. For employees experiencing ‘been there, done that’ in their current job, the fresh perspective that comes with collaboration can make all the difference. Joint working can encourage innovation and generates new ideas to achieve company goals. Plus, it introduces an element of peer accountability that may have been lacking in the employee’s everyday work.
And for remote workers, collaboration promotes a feeling of connection and kinship. With many reporting issues with isolation and loneliness, collaboration can be a lifeline for remote workers.
9. Set Up A Volunteering Program
Doing good in the local community can help revive unmotivated and actively disengaged workers. Getting out of the work environment to share knowledge and skills with others is very rewarding. Plus, it helps to build emotional bonds between colleagues that often continue back in the company. Furthermore, employees report learning new skills from their volunteer experiences. And these can lead to career advancement and promotions.
The feel-good factor from volunteering often translates into renewed purpose in day-to-day jobs. And so, the multiple benefits make a volunteering program well worth exploring.
10. Create A Feedback Loop
Employee feedback is crucial to a motivated company culture. Give your people a voice, and employees feel valued. They are more confident and comfortable in offering up innovative ideas. And that’s a win-win when it comes to meeting company goals.
Make sure your management style promotes constructive feedback. Use your employee catch-ups to offer constructive feedback on employee performance. Invite direct reports to contribute ideas and remember to express gratitude for all their hard work.
Touch base with the team using pulse checks and employee surveys. These tools help you monitor employee motivation over time and ensure you stay on track. The intranet’s integrated forms builder means you can create forms in no time and reach out to employees.
11. Prioritize Employee Engagement
Employee engagement and motivation are two sides of the same coin. Employee engagement is the sense of connection and commitment your people feel towards the company. On the other side, employee motivation is the energy and passion a worker has to act on that feeling. Think of it this way – employee engagement is the feeling, and motivation is the doing.
If your company mission prioritizes engagement, you will also be helping to keep employees motivated. In fact, many of the ideas we have shared here will impact both sides of the coin. Strong communication, constructive feedback, variety, autonomy, and opportunities to grow are crucial to employee motivation and engagement.
12. Make Your Workplace A Great Work Environment
A positive, friendly work environment goes a long way to supporting employee morale. Simple things like a bright interior design, comfortable desks and chairs, and well-equipped kitchens are critical. Plants and artwork will add to the welcoming vibe.
Furthermore, make sure workers have all the tools and resources needed to get the job done. For example, it’s not easy for an employee to stay engaged and motivated if their PC is slow and clunky.
Plus, allow opportunities for employees to connect and socialize with in-person or virtual get-togethers. Shared lunches or virtual trivia evenings are vital for team morale. And they help ensure your company’s culture makes you a great place to work.
The Cost Of Disengagement And Poor Motivation To Your Company
The bottom line is that disengaged employees cost, and we’re talking big time. Gallup estimates it could cost the US economy a hefty $350 billion yearly. Forbes cites research showing that disengaged workers have higher absenteeism, lower productivity and decreased profitability. Moreover, all those damaging vibes from disengaged workers have a ripple effect. Before you know it, you’re dealing with a tsunami wave of negativity.
Motivated workers are vital to company success. From productivity and performance to customer service, no aspect of your business is unaffected.
Use our best practice ways to motivate employees and give your company that crucial competitive advantage.
How To Motivate Employees: Quick Summary
- Get to know your team members as individuals. And identify what makes them tick.
- Understand that everyone is different. One person’s motivation will be different from the next.
- Use our proven tips on how to motivate employees and get your team back on track.
- Look for ways to enhance job satisfaction with professional development and fresh challenges.
- Gather employee feedback and experiment and personalize the solution to each worker.
- Make it your company’s mission to check in with employees in one-to-ones and employee pulse checks and surveys. That way, you can nip any problems with employee motivation in the bud.
- Promote employee engagement as an everyday part of your organizational behavior.
MyHub is a leading provider of beautifully designed, non-techy cloud intranets. Under one virtual roof are all the tools employees need for anytime, anywhere working. Our platforms keep employees motivated, connected, and achieving their best performance every day.