Motivation in the digital workplace

digital motivationThe workplace is changing, and digital technologies are having more and more of an impact. Instead of communicating by email and phone, we’re using instant messaging and communication boards like Slack and conferencing applications such as Skype. Employees collaborate more and teams who are based in different locations can work together in real time. Businesses are moving faster and becoming more global

A 2014 survey by Teknion, an office design firm, found that over 1 in 4 companies (88%) offer their workforce personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. Nearly 90% of companies were planning to increase their investment in productivity-enabling technologies such as sophisticated video conferencing. And companies were reporting that workplace mobility programs were generating bottom-line savings of as much as 30%.

For the younger generations, this is normal. They are proficient in virtually all technological tools and digital applications, and as a result, they are demanding greater freedom in managing how they work, where they work from and when they work.

But this presents real challenges for HR professionals when it comes to motivating employees, especially those who work remotely.

When it comes to motivating employees in the digital workplace here are three elements for you to consider:



One way to motivate employees is to ensure that you are facilitating effective communications across the organisation as sharing information makes employees feel respected. Unless information is confidential then distributing information that lets your employees know how the organisation is doing, its focus or changes in the workforce can help maintain morale and motivation levels.

Clear and transparent communications can also help build effective working relationships between managers and employees across all departments, aid collaboration and problem solving and help employees identify opportunities for career development all of which will motivate employees to succeed.

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Peer to peer recognition

An effective staff recognition programme will contribute to keeping your employees motivated and engaged. Manager-led recognition programmes place addition burdens on already busy managers, and with the best will in the world, managers may not see or know about the extra effort employees are putting in. This is even truer in a digital workplace where the employee may be based in a different part of the country.

Peer to peer recognition programmes allow any member of the organisation to recognise their co-workers, and by empowering your employees to recognise the contribution each other makes you’ll be creating a positive working environment.

Digital technologies such as social media techniques, mobile applications, recognition portals and other technological advances are valuable tools and when used in the right way, can have an enormous impact on encouraging employees to recognise and motivate their peers, and to keep them engaged.



Gamification can give you influence over your employees actions. It can be used to encourage desired behaviours, drive participation, educate and ultimately improve engagement.

People are naturally competitive. Offering us the chance to receive some form of reward for completing an action appeals to our competitive nature. This can be utilised in employee motivation programmes by introducing game mechanics to encourage certain behaviours such as improving product knowledge, driving employee performance, encouraging employees to complete an action, and improving internal communications.

However a gamified application must offer a worthwhile experience that appeals to users; otherwise, people are simply not going to use it. And at the same time, its success has to be measurable. Gamification is so much more than just adding a flashy game to a website. Done in the right way gamification can have an enormous impact on the success of your motivation programme.

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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