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Employee Motivation: Five Ideas to Try

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The productivity of your company relies significantly on your ability to motivate your employees. When employees are motivated, productivity and profits are high. In essence, a motivated workforce is a productive workforce. This article explains the basics of employee motivation, provides the steps to implement motivational techniques and answers frequently asked questions.

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The basics of employee motivation

Motivation is the desire to complete a task. People can be motivated intrinsically or externally:

  • Intrinsic motivation: Intrinsic motivation is the internal drive to complete a task.
  • External motivation: External motivation is the force of an outside element to complete a task.

Many employees are motivated intrinsically to complete their jobs well, while some require external motivation from their managers to increase their productivity.

There are many different ways to motivate your employees. Selecting a motivational technique will depend on the goal, the task, the personality of the employee and the resources available to you.

Related: How to Motivate Your Employees

Five steps to consider

Here are five steps you can apply to a variety of situations and employees:

  1. Identify the goal
  2. Implement teamwork
  3. Create a culture of respect and trust
  4. Encourage work-life balance
  5. Evaluate success

1. Identify the goal

Begin by establishing the end goal. For example, your goal could be to increase production by a certain percentage or have employees implement a new procedure. Clearly and specifically define the goal for yourself and your team.

2. Implement teamwork

Meet with your team and see if there is a way in which tasks can be completed more equitably or through a more efficient process. Allow your employees to brainstorm and take ownership of the process.

3. Create a culture of respect and trust

By creating a respectful culture, your employees will see how to act and respond to each other. Therefore, if you need your teams to trust and communicate with each other, produce strong results, work hard and keep pushing your businesses’ objectives, then you need to show them how to act. Treat your roles, relationships with coworkers and responsibilities the same way you want your employees to treat theirs.

4. Encourage work-life balance

Show your employees that you value their time by encouraging a healthy work-life balance. When employees can juggle their personal and professional lives successfully, they are more productive. When employees work too much, they can get burnt out and are more likely to feel overwhelmed. They may have a challenging time getting work done because of stress and fatigue. Employees who have a good work-life balance tend to be more productive on the job.

5. Evaluate success

Now assess your goal and whether the previous motivators you’ve implemented have helped you and your team reach your objective. If so, continue to foster these long-term motivators for continued success and tweak if necessary in the futre. If not, reach out to your employees to seek feedback and improvement.

Related: 10 Recruiting Strategies for Hiring Great Employees

More tips for employee motivation

Employee motivation is vital to team productivity and the company’s success. Determining the best way to motivate your employees might be a trial-and-error process. What motivates one employee may not influence another. Generally, employees work best when they feel trusted, needed and appreciated. Here are four techniques to consider to stir employee motivation:

  • Recognition: Recognize employee achievement. People generally react well to positive reinforcement and will be motivated to continue the behavior that garnered them recognition.
  • Personalization: Allow employees to personalize their space in the office or even add individual touches to common spaces. Ownership of the space can lead to increased ownership of the work product.
  • Fun: Try game tables, a company pet or light-hearted competitions. Breaking up the workday can help employees stay motivated and productive.
  • Flexibility: Give employees the flexibility to work when and where they want. If it’s feasible, allow working from home. If remote work is not possible, set up a welcoming and comfortable outdoor space that employees can use to refresh.

Employee motivation FAQs

Here are someΩ top questions asked in relation to employee motivation:

  • What role do gifts play in employee motivation?
  • Is employee motivation expensive?
  • What is the best way to motivate a high-performing employee?
  • How do companies fail in employee motivation?

What role do gifts play in employee motivation?

Small presents can make an employee feel seen and valued by the company. If the gift is something physical, like a book or notepad, the employee may gain repeated motivation from it as they see it on their desk and are reminded of the attention from management.

Is employee motivation expensive?

Addressing company culture and promoting work-life balance are inexpensive examples of employee motivation, while gift-giving or providing regular perks like snacks or gas gift cards can cost more but the long-term investment may be worth it.

What is the best way to motivate a high-performing employee?

Productive employees should not be ignored by management. Instead, motivate high-performers so that they continue their excellent work. Giving a reward for reaching quantifiable goals is a great motivational technique for productive employees. This way, they are motivated to become even more productive for the chance at a prize.

How do companies fail in employee motivation?

Make sure the tools you use resonate with your employees. If your company has a health-conscious culture and you offer extra snacks or gift cards for ice cream, then employees will not see the value. Try to offer incentives for motivation that are in line with the company’s values like perks for gym membership, discounts for home furnishings or tickets to sports events.

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