Top tips for creating a more motivated workforce

Motivating staff in 2016Less than a quarter (24%) of employees felt motivated at work after the Christmas break according to research by Red Letter Days for Business.

The report, ‘Employee motivation: Who came out on top in 2015?’, is based on 2,006 responses from employees also found that just 21% of respondents aged between 18 and 24 felt motivated at work last year, compared with 17% of respondents aged 45-55 and 39% of 25 to 34-year-olds.

Diverse generations in the workplace are common, and while each generation certainly has its differences, there are some aspects of management that can help to create motivated employees, no matter what their age. Here are four simple ways to inject some drive and momentum into your employees:


1. Achievement

Achievement in the workplace gives employees a sense of pride and accomplishment about their jobs and the organisation they work for. And by providing opportunities for employees to achieve something that also improves personal satisfaction you can increase motivation levels.

There are several ways you can support your employees and provide opportunities for them to accomplish something that has meaning to them; this can include:

  • Give them the freedom to do interesting work
  • Assign them a challenging but realistic goal/project
  • Let them solve a problem or develop an idea

Providing regular feedback to employees is essential because it enables a measurement of success. However, that means that the feedback given to employees needs to be reliable, quantifiable and factual.


2. Challenge

Motivating employeesBalancing day-to-day tasks with challenging projects can boost an employee’s motivation and self-esteem. By giving your employees ownership of a challenging project you’re saying that you trust them and that they are capable of doing a good job.

It’s important to find interesting ways to challenge your employees, and there are a number of options available, such as:

  • Training and inducing new team members
  • Working on a project or task that develops their skills or knowledge
  • Assigning tasks that they are good at and enjoy

When assigning a new project to a person, be clear about the challenge you are giving them and the reason for it, “You did such a great job writing that report last month, I would like you to present it.” Recognise the contribution they have already made when giving people their next challenge, and then support them to help them achieve it.


3. Knowledge

In general, employees want to continue to learn, develop and grow. By providing them with opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills you can have a significant positive impact on their motivation levels.

You should encourage employees to take ownership of their roles and career development, while at the same time providing opportunities for increased responsibility, sharing resources and knowledge, and giving genuine recognition for learning and development achievements.

Managers need to find out what skills and knowledge your employees need for their current role and their career aspirations, and help them create a development plan. This could include training courses, coaching, special projects mentoring or secondments.


4. Recognition

Recognition is essential to having motivated employees; it is priceless and can convey much more status than a cash bonus. It also significantly contributes to employee achievement, and the willingness of team members to rise to a challenge and engage in learning.

Recognition needs to be used at the right time and for the right reason: it needs to be immediate and genuine. Never underestimate the power of a company-wide email acknowledging a person’s achievement or contribution, or a shout out in a meeting.

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A practical guide to creating the right work environment and addressing individual needs in order to improve engagement amongst your employees.

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To create a motived workforce employers need to give their employees opportunities to achieve their potential and recognise their efforts in doing do. Each element is interlinked; providing a challenging goal and mentoring employees to achieve that goal can lead to achievement and new skills and knowledge. This mix of motivational needs can help managers drive their employees to bigger and better things.


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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