Full Guide To Employee Motivation


Do you have trouble keeping employees motivated at work? Motivation is crucial for employees to get and stay productive.

Fortunately, you can try a few things to determine which will motivate each team member. Then, you won't have to worry about some complex plan to develop and maintain employee motivation.

Read on for some ways to motivate your employees.

Table Of Contents


Develop a Positive Environment

One of the best ways to keep employees motivated is to offer a positive environment at your company. A positive work environment can have a significant impact on team members and overall business success.

You can inspire employees to show up every day feeling excited to get to work. The positive work environment can also keep your entire team motivated with difficult tasks. And they may be able to maintain that positivity on a personal level.

Future success can also come from a positive workplace due to higher employee engagement. When employees feel good, they may be more productive. That can help your company put more work out into the world, which can keep everyone motivated long term.

While there will be days where employees aren't as upbeat, the environment is critical. Do what you can to provide a positive place for employees to come to work and get stuff done.

Also read: What Are 8 Ways To Increase Employee Loyalty?


Decorate the Office

Another one of the best ways to motivate workers is to decorate the office with images, quotes, and other posters or art. Working in a bare office with nothing on the walls can get boring over time, and people may not be as productive.

You can use minimal decorations to keep from overwhelming your staff. Another option is to add colorful art, which can be especially useful for your design team.

Consider adding some indoor plants or spraying a scent throughout the office.

If you need to add more storage, consider making it look good. Then, people will want to look at the bookshelf or other organizational tools.

Have your employees all make vision boards that they can put on their desks. That can help motivate each person individually, and they can make their boards look however they want. And they can inspire other employees as they make new vision boards.


Reduce Boredom

To keep your employees on track, reduce the chances of them getting bored. Make sure everyone understands your organizational process for assigning tasks. Have employees set professional goals so that they can make real progress.

Giving employees meaningful work can also impact productivity. When they know exactly what to do and why, they can develop intrinsic motivation. That can help your company overall because employees will want to do as much good as they can.

Keeping employees motivated can also reduce boredom, so it can become a cycle. On the other hand, when employees are bored, that can negatively impact productivity. That could then become a cycle, and your company may not make as much organizational progress.

So make sure all employees have something to do to maintain employee motivation. Even if that work is small, consider how it can help the company and its employees reach professional goals.

Also read: 10 Employee Incentive Programs That Will Massively Engage Your Team


Always Have Tasks to Assign

You may have some employees who need the entire day to work on one thing. However, other employees may finish a task in half the time or even sooner. For those employees, make sure you have plenty of tasks for them to work on.

Assigning more tasks can help high-performing employees get more experience, and they will always have something to do. They won't have to sit at their desk for half the day, and they won't feel like they have to work slowly just to have work for the whole day.

As people get more experience, they will get even more efficient. Then, you can continue to give them new projects that suit their skills.

If you ever don't have a task to assign, have an employee work with someone who hasn't finished their work for the day. Then, both people have something to do, and they can bounce ideas off of each other.


Vary Those Tasks

If you really want to motivate workers, try to give them more meaningful tasks. It can be easy to give someone some busy work to keep them from complaining of boredom. However, busy work can be just as boring as doing nothing.

When possible, give employees tasks directly related to their roles. For example, maybe a sales representative has contacted all of their leads. Try to give them more leads to contact for the rest of the day.

Or if one of your accountants finishes going through the books, ask them to review the work of their teammates. Then, they will have something that fulfills them and that takes advantage of their skills and experience.

You may not always have relevant tasks to assign, but try to do that when you can. And if an employee consistently completes projects early, consider how you can always have something ready for them to do.


Consider When to Promote

After a while, you may notice a few high performers who always get their work done early and correctly. Keep an eye on those people and consider when you may want to promote one or more of them to a management role or something similar.

Promoting an employee is a big decision. You'll need to consider how much extra you'll have to pay the person and what other benefits you should offer. But promoting people can be a great way to maintain that motivation and keep them interested in working for you.

If you go too long without promoting one of your best workers, they may want to leave. After they gain experience, they might decide to look for jobs elsewhere. By offering a promotion, you can keep your best people on your team.

You may still lose people because they move or for another reason. But you don't have to lose a ton of workers.


Be a Supportive Leader

Supportive leadership can make a world of difference for company culture, which can help keep your employees motivated. Try to start and end days on a positive note. Offer constructive feedback to help employees to do better on the following project.

Let independent workers focus on their work without being too overbearing. But also focus on offering a good team spirit. While you want everyone to do well in their day to day roles, if more than half feel supported, that's a great start.

You can also be supportive by offering clear communication.

Whenever the company is changing things, for example, tell employees about the switch. Then, they can learn what to expect, which can help keep employees engaged and motivated to get work done.

Also read: The Most Effective Employee Retention Strategies for Keeping Your Best Talent


Participate in Projects

As a manager, you may have a lot of your own tasks to handle. However, consider when it makes sense for you to participate in the same projects as your team. Maybe you have a project that you're an expert on or where your people need your help.

Make time to work on that project with the people in your business. Then, you can get the project done well, and you can make sure you do it right. That can help save you and others time since you won't have to fix mistakes.

While it may not always make sense for you to work on a project, do it when you can. At the very least, have another manager work on projects with lower-level employees.

That way, even your entry-level workers will have access to someone higher up. They can learn from you or a different manager, which may help everyone get better at their jobs.


Open Your Doors

Perhaps you can't spend time working directly with your team. Whenever you aren't on a conference call or need to get deep into your work, keep your office door open. This can make it easier for your team to come to you with questions.

They may not feel as motivated to ask for help if they have to knock on your door. And if they don't ask for help, they may struggle to get the project done. They also might have errors that you or someone else needs to correct.

When that happens often, your people may not feel as motivated to work on certain things. A worker could feel like they aren't the right fit for the job.

Opening your office doors is an easy way to motivate you and everyone in the office. You can have a better connection to your team, so everyone will be able to communicate and get work done.


Work Together

While you should support your employees, another way to build a motivated workforce is to have everyone work together. Of course, some people may view working alone as a great motivator, but some projects require people to work with others.

Setting up team projects can improve employee morale, especially as they get to know their team members. This can motivate employees to focus and go the extra mile. Speaking with other employees may also help people maintain good mental health at work.

Engaged employees can also look for opportunities to improve. Then, you don't have to increase motivation for those employees. Instead, you can focus on giving your best employees plenty of office space and time to work with each other.

That way, your company can retain its top talent. Unfortunately, teamwork isn't a great motivator for everyone, so consider letting employees work alone occasionally. Then, you can reduce the negative aspect of forcing people to work on certain tasks with others.


Consider Employee Skills

When assigning employees to work together, consider what skills each person has. Maybe someone on your sales team is great at connecting with cold leads. But someone else doesn't have that skill.

Pair those people together so that the employee with cold selling skills can teach the other. Then, both of them can start to handle cold leads. The second employee might become more confident about making cold calls or sending cold emails.

Maybe someone on the marketing team is great at social media, while another is better at graphic design. Those two can work together to create social posts.

Then, you'll have posts that look nice and that people will see when they follow your company. That can be a great way to help grow your business and teach workers new things. It doesn't matter what team you run or what industry your business is in.


Don't Forget Personality

When pairing employees together, make sure they will do well as a pair. If possible, try not to have the most extroverted employee work with the biggest introvert. Those two personalities may work together, but they could encounter problems.

If employees have problems with each other, they may have trouble with their work. Not getting along may also keep people from wanting to give their all to a project.

When that happens, the quality of their work can suffer, and that can affect the rest of the business. Now, you can have the two people talk things out and get over their differences.

However, it may be easier to pair each person up with someone else. Then, everyone will be able to work together and enjoy the process. And you can make sure they feel motivated to come to work and complete their tasks.


Recognize Motivated Employees

If you notice that some employees are doing well, recognize those accomplishments. Set up a rewards program to encourage people to get work done. Use the system to make employees feel good about the work they've completed.

Maybe new employees learn sales skills, which moves your organization forward. Offer employee recognition, such as with healthy snacks or other food-based perks. Showing them their positive behavior is great for individual and team success.

Start motivating employees with these rewards to encourage employees to go the extra mile. And keep up with the program whenever someone deserves recognition.

If you have remote employees, offer perks that apply to them. Maybe you send them food or a gift card, or you host a virtual party to celebrate their accomplishments. Either way, the more your company can show appreciation for its employees, the more they'll want to improve.

Also read: Ways In Which You Can Show Employees You Are Thankful


Optimize the Rewards System

To help recognize high performers, develop a specific rewards program or system. Not only will this help motivate that high performer, but it can motivate others in the office. When someone sees another person getting a reward, they may want that reward.

If you have a clear rewards system, everyone will know what they have to do to get that prize. Then, you may find other workers start to become more productive.

You can offer almost anything as a reward. Maybe you want to pay for that person's lunch, or you give them a gift card to their favorite store.

Think about what your people would like to receive as rewards. And once you implement a program, consider what prizes people work for the most. You can offer more prizes like that and get rid of rewards that people don't want as much.


Follow Through With Promises

Whether you use a recognition program or not, make sure you only promise what you can do. IF you promise a luxury trip but can't pay for it, you can let your staff down. Once someone "earns" that trip, you'll have to admit that you can't give it to them.

That can demotivate that person and others who knew about the reward. Luckily, you don't need to offer anything massive. Sometimes, a free lunch is all a worker needs to get a project done a bit faster.

So make sure you can afford to offer the rewards you promise. Otherwise, you may lose some of your best teammates to a different company.

But if you can follow through with your promises, you can motivate people to earn those rewards. Then, you can keep everyone on your team. And you won't have to spend time and money hiring new people.


Improve Workplace Aesthetics

When designing aspects of your office, think of how the design can help employees. Use good lighting, preferably natural light, to give each employee space to work. Bring in a co-founder of the company to make sure the workplace accurately reflects the needs of the company.

Combine those needs with the needs of a motivated workforce. Maybe instead of cubicles, you decide to create an open space with desks. Then, you can encourage employees to work with each other and ask questions to complete projects.

The right design is crucial for keeping employees motivated because employees feel good. A well-maintained workplace can also keep employees from experiencing visual noise. And the more employees can concentrate, the more improved employee morale will be.

Most companies may not think about how the office looks. But the right design can encourage employees to get work done. Many employees want to work, but they can find it hard without the right work environment.


Make the Office Comfortable

While you may want your office to look good, consider how it feels to work there. Specifically, consider if a more aesthetic office compromises employee comfort. When you feel uncomfortable or in pain, it can be harder to focus on your work.

Make sure your employees have comfortable office chairs and that they can adjust them. That way, each person can choose the right height to help reach their keyboard.

If enough people want them, consider offering standing desks or a hybrid option. And think about offering couches or other seats where people can take their laptops to switch up their environment.

The more comfortable you can make the office, the better. You and your team won't have to stay in the same, uncomfortable position for hours at a time. Instead, you can all move around and work in a way that's comfortable and productive.


Motivate Employees Individually

You should also think about individual workers in your office. While you can motivate people overall, some things may not motivate everyone. For example, a vegan staff member may not care about a weekly lunch from the local barbeque place.

Think about what might make each person on your team want to do their best. Maybe someone works better when they have some privacy, so you offer them an office with a door. Or maybe one person doesn't care about a standing desk but wants a better chair.

When possible, offer each person what they need to be successful. Have people fill out a survey or talk to you individually about what they need or want.

You may not be able to fill all of those needs. So ask people what they'd prioritize, and offer what you can to help people want to work and get stuff done.


Learn What Motivates Employees

Employee motivation can be very subjective, so consider what makes each employee want to work. Maybe one employee benefits from individual development, while another loves doing meaningful work.

A third employee might like the thrill of a new project. Meanwhile, someone else may want to conduct market research with local artists.

Knowing what inspires employees can help your company and team succeed. Encourage employees to take on work that motivates them.

Then, be sure to offer up employee recognition for those who deserve it. Motivated employees will benefit from that recognition, and so will the company due to more interest in working.


Use Those Motivations

After you figure out what motivates the different people in your office, use that information. Assign projects based on what will get people to complete the task. Think about how you can maximize productivity with those different motivating factors.

The better you can use motivators, the more productive your team can be. For example, maybe someone loves being able to close a cold call sale. Give them a list of cold leads, and assign warm leads to other members of the sales team.

Perhaps one of the accountants loves creating graphs to show off your numbers. Let them focus on that instead of inputting data.

When you can give employees tasks that they enjoy, they can be more excited about the work they do. Then, they can look forward to their shift each day. And you can look forward to getting the best results from your team.


Prioritize Honesty and Respect

Another way to keep your employees motivated is to focus on being honest and respectful. This will help make employees feel good and like they can speak up when they have problems. Be honest with everything from weekly meetings to growth opportunities.

When an employee turns in a project, give them honest and constructive feedback. This can motivate employees to do a better job on their next project. If an employee does really well, provide employee recognition. Share how they've made a significant impact on the company.

You can also motivate employees with individual development opportunities. And let your employees come to you with ideas on how to improve the work environment. Make any changes that will help your team get more done.


Offer Professional Development

Speaking of individual development, consider how you can offer professional learning opportunities. When people can learn more about their jobs, they may feel more motivated to get better at their tasks.

Development doesn't have to be expensive or complex. You may be able to offer a written training document that includes tips and tricks to help people. For example, maybe you give your sales team a script they can use for cold calls.

Or you might implement monthly training for your marketing team. You can teach them yourself or bring in an expert each month to talk about a relevant topic.

After a bit of training, people may feel more motivated to do good work. Then, they can aim for the next reward in your business's reward system. If you can, offer these things for free to encourage workers to participate and improve in their jobs.


Send Regular Updates

Whenever you change something in your business's policies, update people. This is another important part of development and being honest.

Of course, not every staff member will like everything you change. But the sooner you inform your team, the sooner they can adapt. And when you do make a change, you can add a reward to encourage people to work with the new system.

Make sure everyone knows how the change will affect them. Offer tips that they can use to keep working. For example, if you switch from one computer operating system to another, offer a training session on the new system to teach people how to use it.

By updating your team regularly, you can make sure that they have the information they need to complete their tasks. That can help you run your business efficiently, and you may even be able to grow more quickly.


Be Flexible

Being flexible with your team is a great way to keep your employees motivated. For example, maybe someone needs natural light to get work done, but their desk doesn't have much. Look for a desk closer to a window so that they have a better work environment.

If you find your employees are taking a lot of snack breaks, bring in some food-based perks. Then, people won't have to leave the office, and your company can motivate employees to keep working, even when they have a small snack.

Let your employees provide constructive feedback about your procedures as well. Being able to participate in that process can be a great motivator. They will feel like a bigger part of the team, so they may want to keep working and moving the company forward.


Work With Employees

When it comes to flexibility, it can be easy to offer a blanket policy that applies to everyone. Maybe you decide to offer an extra week of vacation time, or you let anyone work from home once a week.

This can be great, but try to work with each person on your team, especially if you have a smaller group of people. Then, you can learn how much flexibility each teammate needs to get their best work done.

For example, one of your workers may have young children. They want to be able to pick their kids up from school, so they want to start and end their work earlier.

But you may have another person who doesn't have the best transportation to work. So they need to work from home more often than your other employees. By considering individual situations, you can make sure everyone has the flexibility they need to keep working for you. And you can keep from losing your best workers.


Trust People

If you decide to let someone work earlier, later, or remotely, trust them. Try not to lean over their shoulder while they work or force them to send a screenshot of their work every few minutes.

While this can give you some peace of mind that they're working, it can also be demotivating. Having to stop working to take a screenshot can waste a lot of time throughout the week. It can take a while to adjust, but it will be worth it for everyone.

Of course, you can check in with your team regularly. That way, you can make sure they won't miss an important deadline or forget a vital part of a project.

If you don't trust someone to get the work done without your constant supervision, they may not be the right person for your team. You may decide to let them go or not give them as much flexibility until they earn your trust. Then, you can make sure they can do the work.


Budget for a Raise

Of course, you can't talk about ways to motivate your team without talking about money. You should budget for raises for as many of your workers as possible. Try to give a small raise each year to keep people on your team.

This is particularly important for your high-performing people since you don't want to lose them. But it can also be nice for all of your workers. If you don't give someone a raise for a few years, they may start looking for a different job with better pay.

You don't have to give huge raises, but try to at least cover inflation. That way, employees will want to keep working for you and your business.

Another great way to reward and motivate people is to give a bonus at the end of the year. If someone helped your business a lot, give them a financial bonus to show your appreciation and keep them on your team.


Offer Better Benefits

You should also consider how you can improve the benefits package your company offers to each employee. Of course, this includes the salary, and a yearly raise is a great motivator. But it can also include non-cash forms of compensation.

Giving employees things like better health insurance or a well-maintained workplace can help motivate them. They won't be as eager to leave, so you can retain some of your best employees.

Doing that can move your organization forward and result in greater business success. So consider how you can either improve the work environment or other forms of compensation to encourage employees to stay with the company and improve their work.


Consider Your Competition

Another excellent way to maintain motivation in your office is to look at your competitors. Just like with marketing, you have to compete with other businesses for your workers.

Figure out what benefits other businesses offer their workers. Maybe they have better health insurance, more vacation days, or something else. Perhaps they offer more flexibility, such as work from home options or different hours.

You don't have to offer everything that another business does. But you should offer enough benefits to make people want to stay with you. That way, you can keep people from applying to your biggest competition.

When researching other businesses, start with those in the same city. However, don't be afraid to consider companies around the country, especially if they offer remote positions. Then, you can figure out what you need to offer to stay competitive.


Do Something Unique

A good way to stay competitive is to offer something people won't find anywhere else. Maybe you have a partnership with a specialty gym, so you can grant access to your workers.

As you research your competition, consider if there are any perks that none of them have. Then, you can fill that gap and offer the perk to current and new staff members.

Depending on what you offer, it may be the perfect way to reduce employee turnover. That way, you can get and keep the best workers in the area.


Employee Motivation Made Easy

Keeping employees motivated is a continuous process. However, it doesn't have to be difficult or require a ton of time.

Be sure to consider how you can motivate employees to improve with each project. Then, your company will be able to increase revenue and grow over the short and long term.

If you need to generate paystubs for your employees, be sure to check out our paystub maker. We also have written about 6 talent acquisition strategies that could improve your business success for you to read.

Frequently Asked Questions

Foster open communication, promote teamwork, provide a comfortable workspace, and address any conflicts or issues promptly and professionally.

Solicit feedback and ideas from employees, involve them in brainstorming sessions, and empower them to make decisions that affect their work processes or projects.

Conduct regular employee engagement surveys, observe employee behaviors, assess productivity levels, and track employee retention and turnover rates. Use this information to make adjustments and improvements as needed.

Research industry salary standards, offer competitive pay, and provide benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Regularly review and adjust compensation packages to remain competitive in the market.

Encourage employees to attend workshops, conferences, and training programs, and provide opportunities for internal promotions, job rotations, and skill development.

Recognize employees through verbal praise, written commendations, awards, and public recognition. Offer monetary rewards, such as bonuses or raises, and non-monetary rewards, such as flexible work hours or additional vacation days.

Use the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Make goals challenging but realistic, and provide the necessary resources and support for employees to succeed.

Provide clear expectations, offer feedback and recognition, encourage professional growth, create a positive work environment, set attainable goals, involve employees in decision-making, and offer competitive compensation and benefits.

Employee motivation is the level of enthusiasm, commitment, and energy that an employee brings to their work, positively impacting their productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Motivated employees are more engaged, productive, and committed to the success of the company. They often take more initiative, show greater creativity, and contribute positively to the work environment.
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Full Guide To Employee Motivation
Samantha Clark

A Warrington College of Business graduate, Samantha handles all client relations with our top-tier partners. Read More

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