How to Motivate Employees

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 12, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employee motivation provides a healthier workplace environment and increased morale. Still, the ins and outs of employee motivation are more complex. In this article, we discuss the importance of having motivated employees, and provide techniques on how to motivate them.

Why is employee motivation important?

Employee motivation is essential in every workplace because it increases performance and your employees' job satisfaction. Productive employees achieve company goals more quickly by experiencing higher output levels. In this sense, management benefits from investing in motivating their employees because it helps the company as a whole.

As an employer, you don't need to implement extensive motivation strategies overnight. You can take small steps toward increasing employee motivation. You may choose to start with small opportunities for your employees to have more control over their careers. This can improve the relationship between employees and the management team quickly.

Related: Work Ethic and Success in the Workplace

The benefits of having motivated employees

Here are some of the major benefits of motivating employees in the workplace:

Improved employee loyalty

Motivated employees are more appreciative of the company they work for and more loyal to management. Loyal employees mean you don't need to worry about high employee turnover or frequent sick days.

Increased efficiency

Motivated employees are more likely to work efficiently and produce high-quality work. This means the company saves money by retaining employees who work harder and more effectively. This is because motivated employees will want to go to work and will want to work harder in their positions.

Better resource management

When you motivate your employees, they have a better sense of the company's resources and what it takes to manage the organization. You can expect the company's resources to be used more efficiently, and employees will respect company property.

Positive work culture

Motivated employees create and maintain a healthy work culture. That's because happy employees are more positive when interacting with their colleagues and the surrounding environment. Fostering a healthy work culture results in employees who motivate each other. This includes encouraging collaboration, social interaction, and maintaining a welcoming physical workspace. Happy, motivated employees extend their positive attitudes to interactions with your customers or clients, too.

Motivation techniques

Motivational techniques are both internal and external tools used to motivate employees. They increase productivity and workplace happiness. Here are 12 motivational techniques you can apply at your workplace:

1. Support autonomy

Allowing your employees to be autonomous shows them they're trusted and increases overall well-being. An employer who encourages autonomy in the office allows employees more freedom in choosing their schedule and workload. Another example of supporting autonomy is allowing employees to work remotely.

2. Ask your employees for their opinion

Employee satisfaction and happiness go hand-in-hand with motivation. Consider creating anonymous surveys and polls that ask employees for their opinions. These polls can also ask your employees for suggestions on how to improve working conditions and the office environment.

This technique works because it shows your employees that you care about their opinions and about their overall well-being. It communicates to your employees that you value their hard work and loyalty.

3. Provide opportunities for training

Allowing your employees the opportunity to improve themselves increases their motivation. Providing opportunities for training enables them to become better in their respective fields and to engage with the company more. Increased training also keeps them up-to-date with advancements in your field and increases productivity.

4. Tell them when they're doing well

Employees appreciate being congratulated and rewarded for their hard work. This validation is inspiring and drives employees to work harder. You can provide employees with recognition by complimenting them or thanking them. When you do this, give examples of what they've done especially well. If you don't have time to stop by their desk, you can also write them a note or email.

5. Remember to set goals

A great way to increase employee motivation is to set goals that are measurable and achievable in the short term. These goals can relate to projects the team is currently working on, or smaller projects within the office.

You can also use goal-setting to increase motivation by letting your employees have a say in their goals. In doing so, employees get a clear understanding of how their actions impact the company. Regardless of what the goals are, they need to be achievable. This keeps employees motivated and looking forward to the next milestone.

Read more: Setting Goals to Improve your Career

6. Update offices

Motivated employees require an area where they can relax completely. That's why it's important to update their offices to ensure that they're comfortable while they're working. You can do this by replacing some furniture or changing the wall paint. If you're looking for some cost-effective ways to make your employees more comfortable, you can also buy some plants for the office. Anything that improves the ambiance and makes the space feel more welcoming can go a long way.

7. Try profit sharing

Profit-sharing is a system that awards employees with some of the company's profits as a bonus. With shared profits, employees have stakes in whether the company is successful. This technique increases performance, collaboration, and employee satisfaction.

8. Create healthy relationships with your employees

A healthy relationship between employees and management is essential. When this relationship fosters mutual respect and understanding, employees are more motivated to work hard and reach company goals.

A Harvard Business Review survey assesses how a strong relationship between employees and their management can affect the workplace. They surveyed over 19,000 people about what they value in leadership. The key value they prioritized was respect between employees and leadership. In fact, they found employees were over 50% more engaged when they felt respected by their employer.

9. Improve benefits

When your employees have a good benefits package, they're more likely to feel valued and be motivated to work hard. Attractive benefits programs also increase employee retention and draw more candidates to apply for job vacancies.

10. Opportunities for career advancement

Another great way to motivate your employees is to provide them with the opportunity to advance their careers. You can do this by hiring a career advisor or life coach to help them determine and set their goals. You can also organize training sessions, guest speakers, and other learning opportunities to support them in developing their skills.

11. Be positive in your interactions

Lead by example. If you want your employees to be motivated, you also need to show that same motivation in your daily interactions. Set a good example by putting on a smile and expressing your motivation to achieve company goals. Your attitude can inspire your team members and create a culture of motivation company-wide.

12. Work on the people in your team

Successful businesses have motivated teams. Everyone within your teams should feel inspired and motivated to do their best. This way, they'll all contribute to the project more effectively and work as a unit toward a common goal.

Motivation in management

To motivate employees, management has to lead by example. Managers that are motivated and work toward clear goals set the path for their employees to do the same. Here are some ways you can motivate your team as a manager:

Communication

Few skills are more important than communication for increasing motivation and job satisfaction in the workplace. When management practices effective communication, they'll recognize when an employee has met or surpassed expectations. Management can then congratulate employees on their achievements and encourage them to keep up their hard work.

By allowing employees to take on more responsibilities, it encourages autonomy. The management team needs to communicate boundaries and expectations clearly for this to be successful.

Project leads use communication skills when delegating tasks and setting clear goals. Employees work more efficiently when they understand their tasks and how to complete them.

Related: Motivation and Inspiration (Definition and Differences)

Keep your employees up-to-date

Whether you're implementing new policies or setting up a new project, keep your employees informed to motivate them. When your employees know what they're doing and why, they'll have a better idea of how they can contribute to given projects and how they'll have an impact.

Understand where your employees are coming from

When asking for feedback and listening to your employees, it's important to understand their point of view. No two employees are the same, and each one may have an idea to bring more success to the company. Involving them in offering suggestions and making improvements will motivate them to keep up their hard work.

Related: 9 Types of Management Styles for Effective Leadership

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