employee motivation strategies

My grandpa might not read this article, but if he does, it’s because he loves and supports me. He worked hard to provide for his family without expecting anything from his employer except a paycheck, benefits and a good retirement plan. 

The world has changed a lot since my grandpa entered the workforce.

Today, many employees work to make a difference, not just a paycheck. Successful employers recognize this and implement motivational strategies in the workplace, strategies even my grandpa could learn to love.

Why Is Employee Motivation Important?

Did you know there are non-profits built solely on the dedication of volunteers? They may have a few paid employees but, by and large, their important work is done by people motivated to give back to the community.  

Like volunteers, employees who contribute to the “greater good” or the bigger picture feel a strong sense of self-satisfaction. They are motivated to make decisions, solve problems, seek creative solutions, and work harder.

How To Keep Employees Motivated

Your company probably doesn’t have a pipeline of volunteers, so how do you keep employees motivated? A little hint for you… It’s not your compensation package, although that is important. Throughout this article, I will share employee motivation techniques you can implement to increase employee motivation.

Motivated employees are more productive and go the extra mile. They feel inspired by their work and believe in your organization. Motivated employees feel connected to your company’s mission.

To resilient transformation leaders out there, here are some employee motivation strategies you can utilize to create a happy work environment to keep your employees motivated. 

Educate Them On a Change-Proof Culture

This may sound counterintuitive to what the experts always say, that “change is good” and “change is necessary,” but creating a change-proof culture doesn’t mean the work or company will never change. It aims to create a team that is willing and able to embrace necessary and important growth.  

People can be resistant to change. However, there will always be uncertainty in life, which results in changes and adjustments. This can lead to employees feeling unmotivated and an unnecessary and avoidable loss of productivity.

To remain motivated, your team needs to learn how to embrace change, and that’s where you come in. Engaging a corporate motivational speaker can help your employees understand how to contribute to a change-proof culture and why resilience is critical. 

Teams that are change-proof understand how to leverage the power of uncertainty for long-term resilience. This resilience ensures your employees are able to sustain a high level of performance in the face of constant change. 

Check out my new book, Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-term Resilience for more employee motivation strategies. It provides a framework for tapping into the true potential of change with three main steps: Pause, Ask, Choose. 

When your employees understand the bigger picture about change, they will find the self-motivation to build a better workplace for themselves and your company.

Create a Supportive Work Environment

Successful employers build a mental and emotional infrastructure that provides a supportive work environment. They know that when employees feel heard and supported, they are more resilient.

If you can create a “got your back” culture, everyone will feel important. It’s critical for employees to understand that one person isn’t carrying the weight of the team. Bring awareness to your employees that the success or failure of the company is the result of a team effort. This fact alone will make your employees stronger and more resilient.

For more tips, read my other articles about building supportive work environments to create team resilience.

Set Goals To Create Meaningful Work

Remember those volunteers? The non-profit’s meaningful goals are what spur them into positive action.

An employer who sets clear goals and expectations gives meaning to employees’ work. Nobody wants to spend valuable time doing something that doesn’t matter. Understanding how their task (no matter how large or small) fits into the bigger picture is extremely motivating. Surveys have shown that 55% of employees (regardless of age, sex, region or tenure) are more motivated if they believe they are doing meaningful work. 

You can increase employee motivation by providing clear and concrete goals.

Be Transparent

Being transparent is critical for every employer, except for the CIA. In that case, please don’t tell us anything, because we know how it will end. 

For employers who aren’t the CIA, your employees are invested when you are transparent. Relationships are built on trust, and that is especially true in the employer-employee dynamic, which isn’t always tethered by emotional attachment. Being transparent encourages an atmosphere of trust. 

Your employees will feel included in big decisions and committed to the direction the company is headed, even when it changes.

Appreciate But Also Provide Constructive Evaluation

Nobody wants a “yes man.” Except maybe my wife, but that’s a fun story for another day.

In work and life, people value honest feedback over meaningless praise. While it’s important to provide accolades for a job well done, it’s critical to pinpoint issues as they arise. Discussing areas of improvement allows you and your employees to create solutions in a calm and supportive environment. Providing specific, targeted and constructive input shows your team you are invested in their success. 

During the onboarding process, ask employees how they wish to be recognized and how they prefer receiving constructive feedback. For current employees, send an email asking the same. Most importantly, listen to their input. Showing employees you appreciate their efforts and support their growth builds trust in your leadership. 

Providing ongoing, timely evaluations helps your team grow and develop, and is a natural employee motivation technique

One-on-One Meetings With All Employees

Like many managers, you are drowning in supervisory tasks. You may feel you don’t have the capacity to meet with your employees individually, but creating clear and consistent goals and expectations together now will save time later.

Start by asking your employees what motivates them and how you can help. Be sure to listen as they share problems, issues, and ideas. By exhibiting genuine interest and asking the hard questions, you show you are invested. 

You can also create scenarios for one-on-one meetings within your team. As long as the meetings are conducted with positive energy and supportive talk, they can provide constructive evaluations between team members.

Let Them Lead

There is no better motivational strategy in the workplace than letting your employees take the reins sometimes. Support your words with actions.

When you call a meeting, whether large or small, let each team member take turns selecting the topic and leading the conversation. Employees will feel heard and be motivated to bring their ideas to fruition.

Tell Them the Bigger Picture

Last CIA reference, I promise. While special agents may be on a need-to-know basis during super-secret missions, they understand and support the bigger picture. They are motivated to make the world a safer place.

While your mission might be different than the CIA’s, it is no less important. The more your employees understand how their contributions meet that mission, the more motivated they will be. By explaining how their work contributes to a goal, you show them their value. 

Talented employees will go above and beyond your expectations when they see the bigger picture and understand exactly what their hard work will achieve. 

Encouraging Rest To Build Resilience

This is another concept that my grandpa might scoff at, but not only is it an extremely critical motivational strategy, but it is also the kind and just thing for employers to do for their employees.

Resilience is not about how you endure, it is about how you recharge or recover your energy

Encouraging regular breaks gives your employees the ability to stay focused, problem-solve and boost productivity. It is important for the health, well-being, and safety of your team. Create standard operating practices that support this, such as respecting time zones, turning off emails on Fridays, and honoring time off.

These motivational strategies will help employees feel supported and empowered to focus on their physical and emotional health, leading to increased productivity. 

Encourage Flexibility

When the unexpected happened in 2020, employers were forced to get creative (and flexible) to continue business as usual (or unusual in this case). Now that we are returning to a new normal, many employers continue to offer flexibility around work locations and hours.

Encouraging flexibility shows you care about and trust your employees. You are giving an invaluable gift of balance between their work and personal lives. 

Click here to learn more about how to drive the success of your flexible team

Empower Problem Solving and Learning

Your employees manage their personal lives, so why not empower them to manage their work lives? By creating space to solve their own problems, you are exhibiting trust. It’s important to provide support and guidance, but ultimately, they know their role and are best positioned to come up with effective ideas and solutions.

Nurturing a culture where problem-solving and learning is encouraged includes: 

  • Listening to your team’s ideas
  • Embracing their unique skills
  • Encouraging self-directed learning
  • Allowing them to take ownership of their work
  • Creating a safe space where failure is framed as a learning opportunity

Empowering your employees leads to increased productivity.

The Right Workload

It won’t matter if you learn how to improve motivation in the workplace if your team is overworked. Expectations need to be discussed early and often, so you can make adjustments to match each individual’s strengths and capabilities. 

Well-respected managers check in regularly and make every effort to reduce unnecessary workloads. Ensuring employees aren’t overwhelmed is a key component in how to improve motivation in the workplace

Provide Career and Personal Development Opportunity

The success of your employees is tied to the success of your company. By providing and supporting learning and development opportunities, you help employees gain knowledge and acquire abilities. When employees have regular access to training and are empowered to develop their skills, they will be more motivated. 

Successful leadership seeks regular feedback to target areas of opportunity for training and development. A great way to start is by inviting a corporate keynote speaker to your staff meeting.

How Corporate Motivational Speakers Can Help

Let’s recap what we’ve learned. My grandpa would be the employee of the year in today’s environment and we should strive to be more like non-profits and less like the CIA. 

More importantly, since there is no one-size-fits-all formula for motivating employees, it’s helpful to engage a corporate keynote speaker to help create motivational strategies in the workplace. 

A motivational speaker for corporate events helps employers build innovative, high-performance teams that perform under pressure and operate more efficiently. Team leaders will also learn how to model and apply the principles of resilience on a daily basis for sustainable and consistent team growth. 

If you’d like to learn more about engaging a motivational speaker for your corporate events to help increase your employee’s motivation, contact us by calling 877.697.4868 or sending an email to team@adammarkel.com. You can expect a response within 24 hours.

Remember, your employees are the most important investment your company will make.