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14 Employee Motivation Strategies: Expert Tips

Performance Management
October 18, 2022
Rad time: 10min
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There are different ways of motivating employees. When it comes to nurturing a productive and satisfied workforce, employee motivation strategies can make all the difference. Along with the importance of prioritising employee mental wellbeing, we’ll share motivational strategies for employees. 

What is Employee Motivation?       

Employee motivation is how committed staff feel at work. Combined with their commitment levels, it refers to how much energy and innovation they contribute on a daily basis. 

Since employees won’t necessarily love every aspect of their job or feel passionate about every task, employee motivation strategies help maintain a productive and engaged workforce, even during times when their workload isn’t desirable. 

Why Keep Employees Motivated?

When you feel forced to do something you’re not interested in, how are these results compared to when you’re passionate about the project or task? It’s likely the case that you work slower, procrastinate, potentially miss deadlines, and are easily distracted. 

Employees who aren’t motivated not only waste resources and time, but they also affect the overall team morale and company culture. That lack of energy can be felt by all. 

By supporting employee motivation levels with employee motivation strategies, organisations and staff gain: 

  • Higher productivity levels
  • More innovation
  • Lower levels of absenteeism
  • Lower levels of staff turnover 
  • An improved reputation and stronger recruitment

What are Employee Motivation Strategies?       

We’ve mentioned employee motivation strategies a few times already, so it’s now time to uncover what we mean by them. After reading this, you should know how to motivate employees as a manager or higher-up in any business. 

1. Set Goals   

Goal setting can be a really big deal for many different employees and the organisations as a whole. By defining clear goals, employees are able to understand what is expected of them and see how their work contributes to more than just themselves. 

Along with this understanding, they can also visualise their own success before they reach their goals. Visualisation practices can help to retain motivation day-in and day-out as employees have something to work towards and can see themselves accomplishing goals before it happens. 

2. Celebrate Milestones       

It’s easy to get stuck celebrating major accomplishments on a quarterly or annual basis. Celebrating big milestones is of great value, but it shouldn’t mean that you lose sight of the small wins that employees achieve on a daily basis. 

Of course, organisations neither have the time nor resources to celebrate wins for everyone, every day. But, it is possible to make note of performance-driven or KPI-focused wins on a weekly or even monthly basis. 

Celebrations can be recognised via social media or announcements during meetings. By celebrating small and big milestones, employees feel valued and recognised, which helps keep motivation levels alive. 

3. Offer Meaningful Feedback   

As we just shared, positive recognition can mean a lot. Beyond recognition, providing specific feedback is useful, too. For example, rather than just saying, “You’ve done a great job providing customer service,” give specifics, such as, “You went above and beyond when you proactively followed up with that new customer - great job!” 

Consider using the 5:1 ratio for feedback in which you provide five positive takeaways followed by one piece of constructive feedback for improvement. This way, the constructive criticism doesn’t feel overwhelming, but rather it can serve as motivation for growth and improvement.  

4. Enable Problem Solving       

To keep employees motivated, you may feel as if you always have to have all the answers or provide all the solutions when a challenge arises. In actuality, it’s best to empower your people to be able to solve their own problems. 

With this ability and support, employees know that their ideas are of value and they feel enabled to overcome hurdles. To create a work environment in which learning and creative problem-solving is encouraged, be sure to: 

  • listen to everyone’s ideas
  • grant ownership of each employee’s own work and outputs
  • allow failure to serve as a growing pain
  • focus on each team member’s respective strengths to put them in the spotlight. 

5. Deliver on Promises       

If you say you’re going to do something, be sure to follow through. The only way to maintain trust and establish a transparent work culture is to lead by example and remain aware of what you promise to your employees. 

As a manager or executive, your actions are representative of the organisation as a whole. Employees create relationships with organisations through the actions and words of their managers and supervisors. 

As a result, employees are committed to the organisation and acknowledge that their actions and behaviours have consequences in the same way that managers’ actions, words, and behaviours do. 

6. Be Open to Experiment

When applying employee motivation strategies in practice, you’re going to wish that you’d know the outcome before you try each method. Unfortunately, no one can know the future before it happens. 

As such, it’s best to remain open to experimentation and trying new strategies with an open mind. The ongoing task of promoting employee motivation levels means that you’ll have the time to try new things and see how they work out. 

The good news is that any of these methods will never be harmful, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! 

Luckily, you can implement an employee wellbeing platform to obtain analytics on how your employees are feeling and doing emotionally and mentally, especially as you try out new motivation methods. 

Employee wellbeing platforms provide anonymised analytics to track daily mood and can help to assess how new strategies are working across teams and locations. 

7. Create Incentives       

When it comes to extrinsic motivators, employees tend to respond well to incentives. Rewards like cash bonuses, extra vacation days or company perks can help to promote motivation levels. 

However, be mindful of how much you use rewards, as rewards will result in diminishing returns. It’s of greater value to focus on employee wellbeing to positively support employees’ thoughts and behaviours in relation to the workplace. 

8. Encourage Work Life Balance   

By supporting your employees’ work life balance, you can help to maintain high levels of motivation and avoid feelings of burnout. To establish an adequate work life balance, be sure to encourage breaks during the workday. 

Even a small break can result in employees feeling refreshed. Other considerations when it comes to work life balance include flexible scheduling and the option to work from home. For more on this point, check out these must-know work life balance tips for employees. 

9. Create a Positive Working Environment       

Creating a positive work environment and company culture, there are some things you have to keep in mind. These include: 

  • Supporting autonomy: Whenever possible, allow employees to manage their own schedule and choose how they get tasks done. Less micromanagement results in happier employees. 
  • Inspiring innovation: When employees have the freedom to approach and overcome problems with their own ideas, they feel more accomplished. With sentiments of achievement, employees can hone in on their innovative thinking and creative problem-solving skills. 

An employee wellbeing platform can support this endeavour, too. With an employee wellbeing platform, employees can access tools and techniques to build resilience, strengthen mental fitness, and improve their overall habits and behaviours. 

10. Support an Open Door Policy   

Keeping an open line of communication for employees also helps to promote strong levels of motivation. By doing so, employees feel supported and encouraged to ask questions, share concerns, and provide their own feedback to management. With an open-door policy, you show employees that you care about their thoughts and feelings. 

11. Promote Team Collaboration   

Since employees spend most of their time working, a sense of camaraderie can also strengthen motivation. From an organisational standpoint, you can promote collaboration between colleagues and teams by planning team-bonding experiences and outings. 

Additionally, providing training for conflict resolution can help employees better resolve disagreements in the event that they arise.    

12. Enable Career Development   

Oftentimes, employees lose motivation when they feel stagnant or lack opportunities for growth and development. With staff training and development programmes, employees have something to strive for and work towards. 

As employees work towards bettering themselves on an individual and professional level, they expand their skills and remain engaged in the workplace. Staff training is an investment for an organisation because as employees grow, so too does your ROI. 

13. Prioritise Employee Wellbeing   

We saved the best for last. Of all the employee motivation strategies available to you, the pinnacle of success for any employee and organisation is born out of taking care of employee wellbeing. 

With the help of an employee wellbeing platform, you can support employees in strengthening their mental fitness and being able to better manage stress levels. 

When employees have tools to understand and improve their mental and emotional wellbeing, they become better problem-solvers, approach their workload with optimism, deepen social connections, and feel confident to reach their highest potential. 

In turn, organisations benefit from reduced levels of employee absenteeism, rates of turnover, and cases of disengaged employees. 

Wrapping Up 

Employee motivation strategies aren’t one-size fits all. To know what types of motivation strategies will work, it pays to know what your employees value and understand how they feel about their work in the first place. 

Besides initiating employee motivation strategies, it’s in everyone’s best interest to prioritise your employees’ wellbeing. An employee’s mental state of mind will dictate their behaviours, thoughts, and actions, including their levels of motivation and how they approach challenges. 

With an employee wellbeing platform, both organisations and employees can better understand what employees feel and what impacts their state of mind, so you can implement motivational strategies that align well with individual and organisational goals.

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