Every day, employees make decisions that help their companies—or hurt them. Creating a strategy to increase employee motivation and boost engagement is one of the best investments a company can make to ensure its future success.
When employee engagement falters, so does motivation. And it’s expensive. According to Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace, only 21% of employees say they’re engaged at work, costing the global economy $7.8 trillion every year!
Employees who feel motivated and are passionate about their jobs stay in their positions longer, deliver better results, and help create a positive work environment for everyone. The stakes are high, but fortunately, there are many ways to motivate employees with great success.
10 Ways to Motivate Employees
Team motivation naturally ebbs and flows. For example, motivation is often high after people return from their summer vacations, whereas it often lags at the beginning of the year after the holiday season when winter seems like it will never end.
Employees generally fall somewhere on the spectrum between intrinsically motivated by true enjoyment of their work and extrinsically motivated by tangible rewards. These 10 ways to motivate employees to address both motivation factors—and they’re proven to increase employee motivation and keep team motivation at an all-time high. Using some or all of these motivational tools could be the helping hand you need to achieve or even outperform your targets.
1. Share a clear vision and team KPIs
A team without targets is a team destined to fail. Without clear goals, the team has no idea what they’re trying to accomplish. Communicating the project’s success criteria from the project’s outset is paramount to ensuring that everyone understands management’s expectations—so they can perform their best. At the same time, defining clear roles within the project team will eliminate silos, frustration, and a lot of wasted hours. When people understand their roles and project goals, they’re in a better position to combine efforts and work together to prioritize the right tasks and focus on the things that will ensure a successful outcome. A byproduct of this type of clear and open communication is improved transparency, which is a proven tactic to increase employee engagement.
2. Make the office a comfortable place to be
If your company is like most, it’s probably collecting a lot of data. But is your company using that data to its full advantage? Data-driven organizations have a better chance of reaching their goals vs. organizations that are just playing it by ear. Visualizing shared KPIs on real-time dashboards is one of the most effective strategies to improve team performance because it gives everyone a stake in the team’s success—or failure. However, simply tracking KPIs can lead to a reactive culture. Instead, become more proactive by analyzing the data to identify why the team is underperforming in some areas and what you can do to improve it. In other words, “look for the why–don’t just react to the what.”
3. Celebrate success
Making people feel appreciated is one of the most effective ways to motivate employees. Whether it’s a spot bonus of cash or a gift card for a job well done—or a more organized approach using motivational tools like leaderboards, instant notifications, and contests to recognize everyone’s small wins— celebrating success is a time-honored way to increase employee motivation, especially around KPIs.
🤩 Hot Tip: Celebrate success in exciting ways as a team with instant notifications!
4. Invest time in coaching each employee
When it comes time to increase employee motivation, 1:1 coaching checks a lot of boxes. Having facetime with the boss opens the lines of communication and makes employees feel appreciated without feeling micromanaged. At the same time, managers get a better understanding of each employee’s strengths, weaknesses, motivation factors, and career goals—making it easier to use the right motivational tools to coach their best performance. Coaching is an excellent way to support career development while giving employees the right opportunities to grow, assume more responsibility, and take on more challenging tasks. Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to feel loyal to their company, manager, and team.
5. Offer professional development opportunities
This goes hand-in-hand with coaching. Offering company-paid professional development opportunities is an effective way to strengthen your team’s skills while showing them that the company values their contributions and would like them to stay for a while. Coaching sessions are an excellent opportunity to get to know your employees and suggest appropriate training opportunities. To get the most out of this motivational tool, try to offer training with transferable skills that could be used in a higher position—this demonstrates a career progression and a significant investment on the company’s part.
6. Establish career paths and promote from within
Companies that establish clear career paths coupled with a “promote from within” policy give their employees something to work toward. A solid coaching program combined with clear advancement opportunities is a winning combination for motivating employees in their daily work while increasing the likelihood that they’ll stay with the company for the long haul.
7. Create a collaborative culture
Ongoing team conversations build camaraderie within teams by giving everyone a chance to contribute, be heard, and have their ideas recognized. Hold regular team meetings and solicit input on things you’d like to improve. Ask questions, acknowledge the value of each employee’s comments or suggestions—and ultimately, put their suggestions into practice. Once the team sees that they have a say in how things are done, they’ll feel more motivated than ever to share their ideas and contribute positively to the company’s success.
8. Make it OK to fail
While no manager wants to encourage failure, removing its taboo can yield great dividends. A culture based on the understanding that sometimes calculated risks pay off, but it’s OK if they don’t, can motivate employees to come up with innovative ideas—some of which are bound to work.
To make this a way of life, create a culture based on ideas like these:
- It’s OK to take chances.
- It’s OK to think outside the box.
- How you handle your mistakes is important.
- What you learn from your mistakes is what matters the most.
9. Pay employees what they're worth
Offering salaries and benefits that aren’t on par with other companies in the same industry and region is a surefire way to demotivate and lose employees. When you pay people less than they’re worth, they’re unlikely to go above and beyond—and worse yet, they’re likely to have one foot out the door. Frequently having to rehire for the same positions results in direct costs and lost productivity and revenue during the onboarding process. Be careful not to punish long-standing employees for their loyalty by paying new hires more for similar work. Ultimately, losing excellent employees because you’re underpaying them will cost more than you’ve saved.
10. Encourage teamwork
Combining the strengths, skills, and knowledge of several people can make it possible to achieve what might otherwise be impossible. But aside from that, working closely with colleagues creates social bonds. Most people don’t want to disappoint others and will work harder if they risk disappointing their teammates. Encouraging teamwork is an excellent way to build interpersonal relationships while helping people feel more engaged in the task at hand. It’s also a nice way to bring new employees into the fold and help them feel comfortable and able to perform right from the start.
Plecto Can Help You Increase Team Motivation
Plecto’s real-time KPI dashboards are an excellent tool for informing coaching sessions and increasing team motivation by giving everyone concrete goals to work toward. Plecto also provides built-in gamification features as well as features like leaderboards, points, and badges that make it easy to celebrate success in everyday operations.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial and discover how Plecto can help you motivate your employees to achieve their best!