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30 Ways to Motivate Employees

It’s a given that investing in fancy tools and HR software will help your business grow. But if your employees aren’t driven to do amazing work? Well, those investments aren’t getting you the payoff you deserve.

Maybe your employees are getting complacent; they’re feeling unappreciated, bored, or unhappy. But it’s not too late! You’ve invested in onboarding processes, carefully filtered through applicants to get the perfect hires, and now you’re carefully managing your workforce. Continue to invest in the most important aspect of your company – the people – and try these simple actions to reignite the motivation fire.

  1. Make it a Game

Who doesn’t love a good game? Bring out those competitive drives by making a game out of work. Try creating a healthy competition that incorporates acknowledging achievements and reaching goals with rewards.

  1. Set the Standard

Set a standard of behaviour above that which you expect of your employees. Work harder than they do, and stay true to your word. Show through your actions that you don’t ask anything of them that you wouldn’t ask of yourself. A grumpy boss makes for grumpy employees, so use your positions to set a tone of positivity.

  1. Trust

Avoid micromanaging or constantly correcting work you’ve delegated. Show you trust your employees whenever possible. If you’ve got a problem, entrust them with the chance to solve it. If you keep your promises and remain transparent, you’ll gain their trust in return.

  1. Recognize!

Regularly recognize accomplishments and a job well done (rewards can be inexpensive and creative, and should be offered to both individuals and strong teams). These moments shouldn’t be rare! Taking the time to appreciate an employee will motivate and excite your workforce, and can break up long working days. Employees should also be encouraged to let you know of the achievements of their peers. Remember to tailor recognition techniques and rewards to the individual.

  1. Let them Lead

Actually lead (remember our earlier talk about trust?). None of this backseat driving or micromanaging that attempts to mask itself as responsibility.

  1. Reward Feedback

Getting thorough and honest feedback from unhappy employees can be difficult. Encourage feedback by offering incentives. Filling out an email survey could earn employees a voucher, or permission to leave a few hours earlier. Anonymous options for feedback will further encourage respondents!

  1. Create Purpose

Employees need to feel like their work matters. Clearly communicate their purpose and show them how their actions contribute to the big picture.

  1. Welcome New Ideas

Innovation is an inspiring, motivating force. Encourage it instead of crushing it by supporting and even implementing your employee’s new ideas.

  1. Enforce Work-Life Balance

The workaholics may not like leaving on time or taking a proper lunch break, but this strategy has massive pay-offs and ensures your employees won’t burn out.  Encourage everyone to take breaks. Encourage them to take their annual leave. Deny them access to work from their home computers or forbid responding to emails outside of work hours. Schedule naptime. Do whatever it takes, and your employees (and their loved ones) will thank you.

  1. Share Your Vision

You see a big, bright future for your company, and you need your employees to see it too. Create unity and drive by communicating to everyone what they’re working towards (and keep them updated on how it’s going!).

  1. Set ALL the Goals

Big goals, little goals, personal goals, and company goals – set them all. Make sure you use small attainable goals as stepping-stones towards bigger success. If you make goals unreachable, you’ll leave employees drained and unmotivated.

  1. Share the Power

While it can be tempting to keep it all to yourself, no one wants to feel powerless. Give your employees power by incorporating them in decisions that will affect them, or by giving them opportunities to lead.

  1. Celebrate Individuality

Communicate and think of your employees as people, instead of just a smaller component of a faceless team. Use people’s names, look them in the eye, and ask them questions. You can even celebrate their milestones, such as birthdays or hiring anniversaries. Respect differences between extroverts and introverts, and create a workplace that allows both to flourish.

  1. Remove Walls

While Trump is building one up, you want to tear yours down. Have an open door policy and get rid of other barriers that may deter employees from reaching out to you, such as consistent unavailability or discouraging personal assistants. Step out of your office and get down in the trenches with your workers on occasion, and get a taste for what they experience. If you’re not getting the communication you want, create a buffer-board of nominated individuals that can liaise between yourself and the employees as a whole.

  1. Prioritize Morale

If you don’t have time to maximize employee morale, then let someone else take charge as a “morale officer”. Make morale so integral to your company that it’s part of someone’s job.

  1. FREE Services at Work

Who doesn’t love a freebie?! The options are endless! A personal trainer, a masseuse, a personal-development speaker, or an accountant; find out what service your employees would love and treat them to it once in awhile

  1. Create Tradition

Holidays and birthdays (while fantastic) are celebrated everywhere. Create something unique and special in your workplace that employees can get excited about and call their very own (perhaps an annual event or weekly social activity).

  1. Send Love Letters

I just wanted your attention. What I really mean is: hand-write thank-you notes. Taking the time to write a personal, handwritten thank-you means the world in this digital age, and your efforts will be greatly appreciated.

  1. Foster Talent

Don’t let your employees feel stuck or like they’ve reached a dead-end. Make mentors available to those who want them, and provide constant learning and training opportunities to develop skills and further careers. Even if the training is beyond their current position, it will prepare them for their future.

  1. Spice it Up!

(Your workplace that is…) You’d be amazed at the renewed, invigorating energy that comes with change. Paint the walls a new colour, rearrange the office layout, change up the snacks in the lunchroom or revamp the weekly schedule. No more mind-numbing sameness for your workers.

  1. Encourage Healthy Habits

Healthy employees are happier, more energetic, more productive, and take less sick days! Stock your vending machines or lunchroom with healthy snacks and fresh fruit and vegetables to keep everyone energized. Reward healthy habits such as walking or biking to work, or hold monthly competitions for the highest step counts on a FitBit.

  1. Pay Competitively

Pay your employees the most you can. Never pay below what someone is worth or the industry average and everyone will be happy and loyal.

  1. Be Flexible

Be as flexible as possible without impeding on productivity. Provide options for where, how, and when employees work.

  1. Laugh

Don’t reign in your team’s laughter, but instead join in and celebrate it. Laughter is a good sign!

  1. Discipline Privately, Reward Publicly

Solve disputes away from other employees, and hand out praise or recognition in front of others.

  1. Upgrade

Outdated tech and equipment? Clunky computers that crash all the time? Dial-up internet? It’s a no from me. Keeping the tools your employees use as current as possible will promote excitement and instill pride in your workers.

  1. Promote

If you want happy, loyal workers, they need to feel like they’re working towards something. If there isn’t an opportunity in their field to move up into a new role, you can create a sense of career advancement with tiered pay levels, bonuses, and additional responsibilities with corresponding title adjustments. Let them know their hard work is getting them somewhere. Leave favouritism and nepotism at the door, and set a standard of promoting based on work ethic, qualifications, and excellence. Anything else will leave employees unmotivated.

  1. Have Their Best Interests at Heart

If a system or procedure isn’t working, ditch it. Being trapped in a bad system leaves you feeling powerless and unmotivated. Your loyalty is to your employees, and it’s important you demonstrate that through your actions.

  1. Stand With Your Team

In the face of stubborn customers or bloodthirsty bosses, you need to protect your team. Show them you believe in them, trust them, and will defend them against anything unwarranted or unfair.

Now you’re 30 steps closer to having the vibrant, motivated employees that your workplace (and onboarding software) deserves.


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