10 ways to motivate employees

emloyee motivationUnhappy, unmotivated employees are unproductive employees, and it affects not just the individual but also the whole team, and even the entire business. So here are 10 top ways to motivate your employees.


1. Treat everyone as an individual

Employees have different needs and wants, and therefore different things will motivate them. Talk to your employees individually, and get to know them both on a professional and personal level: find out what their dreams and aspirations are, what motivates them both at work and in their personal lives. Then treat them as an individual, and respect their individual circumstances.


2. Recognise employees

Show your appreciation for a job well done by recognising your employees. When they’ve done a good job let them know about it. Be genuine in your appreciation, be specific with the praise, by telling them what they did and the impact it had, and make the recognition public, by congratulating them in front of their co-workers.


3. Offer feedback

Many businesses have now implemented six monthly appraisals and feedback sessions. These indicate the need to provide regular constructive feedback on how your employee is doing, find solutions to issues your employee might be facing, and clarify expectations.


4. Encourage people to take a break

Working through lunch breaks and/or not taking holidays might, on the face of it, look like it will increase employee productivity, but all too often it has the opposite effect. Taking lunch breaks and annual leave is an important way for an employee to switch off and relax, and so maintain their health. It also shows employees that you care about their health.


5. Engage with the community

Offer employees a paid few days off each year to engage with the local community. Many businesses arrange for a company day out to volunteer at a local charity; such as doing some gardening at a local care facility. Alternatively you can support employees with their fundraising by holding cake sales, offering matched-giving, or allowing employees to volunteer or do some fundraising with a charity that means something to them.


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6. Have a ‘no blame’ culture

Often employees are scared to take risks, as they fear they will be blamed if it doesn’t work out. This can stifle creativity and innovation. If something does go wrong, sit down with the employee, or the team, and work out what caused it, and then move on – learn and improve.


7. Keep employees informed

Employees can often feel that they are not important if they are not kept up-to-date with company and team news. Provide your employees with regular updates on the business and it’s direction, and listen to the feedback from your employees and address any concerns they may have.


8. Help employees fulfil their career goals

Give your employees opportunities to fulfil their career goals. This might involve finding opportunities for them to take on more responsibility, or learn more about the business with a secondment to a different team. Help them make the right connections in the business, so that they can get ahead.


9. Get the little things right

Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s the little things that annoy us the most, such as poor coffee/tea making facilities or clean toilets. It doesn’t take a lot of money to improve the day-today issues that bother your employees, and fixing them can make a significant different to morale in the workplace.


10. Be flexible

Not everything can go right all the time: sometimes cars break down, and kids get ill, for example. Try to be flexible with your employees, and respect the fact that they are trying to balance their personal and work commitments. Where possible help your employees with flexible working – allow them to work from home, give them access to their work emails on a laptop or smartphone.


Recognising the importance of your employees, and treating them as people, help creates a productive working environment, boosts morale and increases employee loyalty and engagement, which can ultimately improve the bottom line.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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