Top 10 ways to motivate employees

There are several steps in the journey to building a successful team for your business. First, you hire the best candidates. Then, you train your new employees on the most important aspects of your operations and their roles. But after they’re in the groove of their day-to-day activities, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to motivate employees to work harder and stay engaged. 

Motivation is key to employee engagement and retention. A Gallup study found that 85% of employees are not engaged in their work environment. In order to do your part to decrease that number, you’ll need to create an environment that makes employees feel good about coming to work every day. Sometimes all it takes is a little more communication among the team

Luckily achieving this type of work culture isn’t difficult—it just takes a little dedication. Here are 10 tips on how to motivate employees to keep them around and productive. 

1. Incentivize accomplishments 

An incentive program appeals to most employees and helps highlight good work and goal achievement. You can offer a reward for your team as a whole if a goal is met, such as free lunch or offsite activity. You can also reward individual employees for a job well done in their specific role. Employees’ morale is very likely to improve when they feel like their hard work is being noticed.

You can even take the incentive a step further and create a contest either among your best employees or between different departments. I mean, who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? The reward for winning the contest could be anything from a game night to an afternoon off. Not only does this create a sense of fun and competition in the workplace, but it also encourages employees to step up their game.

2. Create excitement 

Here at Homebase, our Customer Success team fulfills goals towards providing excellent service to our valued customers on a monthly basis. We kick things up a notch with themed days on the last week of every month, and everyone gets into it! 

The entire team may show up to work on Monday looking sharp for Dress for Success Day, but by Wednesday they could be decked out in neon. The activity builds a positive energy in the office, which is a powerful tactic to help motivate employees.

When you create excitement for work, it can help employees forget about the mundane tasks they may have to complete on a daily basis. It also gives them something to look forward to and gives the team a sense of unity.

3. Encourage professional development 

Many of your team members likely have goals for the future—whether that’s within your business or elsewhere. Be an ally for them in this area. Meet with employees individually on a regular basis to talk about where they see themselves in the future and help them set up a plan for the next steps. 

If that goal doesn’t include your business, encourage them to further their career through skill development, training sessions, and more. By presenting employees with new skills and knowledge, you can help your team become proficient in their roles and ultimately more satisfied at work. Your interest in their ambitions will motivate them to succeed both in their current role and in the future. 

4. Conduct team building activities 

Sometimes the best motivation doesn’t come from you, it comes from within the team. Employees who are bonded on a certain level will be more likely to encourage team members who may be having a hard time. 

Encourage this bond by setting up team building activities for your staff that will help break the ice for newer members, increase the connection between the team as a whole, and even improve the teamwork skills of your employees. Here are a few easy examples with guides and ideas for getting started:

Don’t have enough time to set these events up yourself? Get your team involved and pick a new manager or employee each month to lead the charge. Find someone who would be excited to plan an event for the rest of the team—it’ll show that you trust them to take on a new challenge. 

5. Motivate employees by staying positive 

When figuring out how to motivate employees, look at what kind of energy you’re pumping into the workplace. If you’ve got great energy on a regular basis, your employees will notice, and it will soon become the norm and a part of your company culture. Play music, share jokes, and have fun! Your employees will be much more motivated to be a part of a great environment. 

6. Connect daily before shifts 

We all have our favorite inspirational speeches from movies, and this type of tactic can also be applied to your strategy on how to motivate employees. While you may not have the same pep-talk skills as Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, your employees will benefit from hearing your passion for your business shine through in daily standup meetings. 

To help craft your confidence-boosting speech, set an intention for the day. Think about your favorite quotes or real-life stories that help drive you and connect them to your team’s goals. You’ll be surprised by how inspiring you can be. 

Start your day off on the right foot by connecting with your team members before their shifts. This small gesture can help employees feel more valued and motivated, setting the tone for a productive day.

7. Encourage work-life balance 

Let your employees know that it’s okay—and also important—to take personal time for themselves. If your employees believe that you value them as people instead of just as employees and care for their well-being, they’ll be much more willing to go the extra mile  and do the best work possible. Not only does this increase employee satisfaction and motivation, but it’s also great for your business. Happy and motivated employees lead to a more productive and positive work environment.

8. Let the team take the lead

Here’s a new strategy on how to motivate employees: let them motivate themselves. Each week during your team meetings, give the reins to a different team member. Let them set the agenda, decide what to discuss, and lead the conversation. 

This way each employee has a chance to showcase their opinions and ideas, and they’re even more motivated to make those ideas happen. Even if you are a business owner running a small business with only a few employees, this is an excellent way to inspire motivation and create a more self-driven team. 

9. Maintain transparency

No one likes surprises. If something is happening on a larger scale at your business, let your team know what’s going on, and what you plan to do about it. Give them a chance to ask questions, allow them to give feedback, and make them feel included in the situation. People want to be heard, and this is a great way to give them that opportunity. 

Doing so will instill in your employees that they are part of a larger team working towards a common goal. And this feeling will increase their commitment to your business. 

10. Learn how to motivate employees on an individual level

It’s easy to think there should be one way to motivate your team as a whole—but everyone operates differently. Some team members may value positive feedback, while others are driven by rewards. Get to know each employee personally, learn what makes them tick, and use that knowledge to increase their productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.

You can do this by setting up time each quarter to grab coffee with each member of your team. Use this time to ask them questions about what drives them, what they like about your employee motivation strategies, what they would like to see improved, etc.

Take that feedback and remember it so you can have a more well-rounded perspective on how to motivate that particular employee.

There are many different ways to motivate employees, and what works for one person may not work for another. By trying out some of these tips, you’ll soon find which employee motivation tactics work best for your team and your business.

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