15 Tips to Improve Employee Motivation in the Workplace

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What is the motivation of employees?

Employee motivation is the driving force behind an employee's desire, enthusiasm, and commitment to perform their job tasks effectively and achieve company goals. It is the process of stimulating and sustaining an employee's engagement, energy, and initiative within the workplace. There are two types of motivation — intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is the internal drive and desire from within an individual to engage in a particular activity or task. It arises from personal satisfaction, enjoyment, or a sense of fulfilment derived directly from the activity itself. Intrinsic motivation is driven by an individual's internal needs, values, and interests. When someone is intrinsically motivated, they find joy, curiosity, or a sense of purpose in the process of engaging with the activity, which fuels their motivation and sustains their commitment to it.

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation refers to the external factors that drive an individual's motivation to engage in a specific activity or task. It involves seeking external rewards, recognition, or incentives to motivate their behaviours. Extrinsic motivation can take various forms, such as financial rewards, promotions, praise, or recognition. Unlike intrinsic motivation, which stems from internal sources, extrinsic motivation relies on external factors to encourage and sustain motivation. Extrinsic motivation can be an important factor in driving behaviour and helping to motivate your employees.

The importance of employee motivation in the workplace

Employee demotivation

Imagine a workplace with employee demotivation. Actively disengaged employees with low motivation who put in the minimum effort. Their attitude is poor, they appear sluggish and uninterested. Procrastination is rife, projects get delayed, tasks are avoided and employees spend excessive time on their phones. Above all, their lack of focus and energy is evident in their work.

Unmotivated employees are not only a waste of resources but can also be detrimental to employee retention and company culture. The ripple effect of demotivated employees is that it can become draining for other employees and create a negative work environment. Potentially it can impede the entire company's ability to produce high-quality work, meet important targets, retain your top talent and damage the organizational culture.

Motivated employees

Conversely, a motivated employee is characterised by enthusiasm, drive, and a sense of pride in their work. They are willing to put in more effort, tackle tasks promptly, take initiative, and strive to excel, both for personal fulfilment and the benefit of the company.

Whether your company is thriving or working its way towards success, employee motivation holds immense significance. When motivation declines, revenue and output are likely to follow sooner rather than later.

5 benefits of employee motivation

Increased productivity levels

Implementing employee motivation techniques not only encourages higher productivity but can also lead to improved revenue outcomes. Additionally, a productive work environment positively impacts the employee experience, fostering greater job satisfaction.

Enhanced innovation

Motivating employees through rewards and benefits nurtures a culture of innovation. When you support employees and they feel valued by their organization, they are inspired to push their boundaries. Recognising the importance of workplace motivation is crucial as it stimulates growth, and managers who understand the motivating factors for their teams often witness exceptional results.

Reduced absenteeism

Managers who prioritise motivation in their leadership approach understand that supportive rather than critical management yields the best outcomes. When managers demonstrate care for their team's workload and well-being, absenteeism rates tend to decrease as employees experience lower stress levels and a sense of being overwhelmed.

Increased employee retention

Public recognition, employee rewards, and motivation work hand in hand, contributing to high retention rates. When employees receive recognition, rewards and incentives that go beyond mere compensation, their motivation remains high, and they are less likely to seek other job opportunities, particularly if competitors cannot match the comprehensive rewards package.

Enhanced reputation and stronger recruitment for your organization

Organizations that recognise the significance of increasing employee motivation tend to deliver an exceptional employee experience, leading to a strong internal brand. However, building a strong internal brand takes time and relies on data-driven strategies driven by employee feedback. Businesses with established brand ambassadors, (e.g. happy and motivated employees) are more successful in both retaining top talent and attracting new talent to their organization.

15 tips to improve employee motivation in the workplace

1. Clearly communicate organizational goals and expectations

Ensure that employees understand the company's mission, vision, and objectives, as well as their individual roles in achieving them.

2. Provide regular feedback and recognition

Offer constructive feedback and acknowledge employees' accomplishments and efforts to boost employee motivation and morale.

3. Foster a positive work environment

Cultivate a supportive and inclusive culture where employees feel valued, respected, and encouraged to contribute their ideas and opinions.

4. Offer opportunities for growth and development

Provide employees with training, mentorship, and career advancement opportunities to help employees develop new skills and progress in their careers.

5. Set achievable and meaningful goals

Work with employees to establish clear and attainable goals that align with their interests and strengths, providing a sense of purpose and direction.

6. Empower employees with autonomy

Allow employees to have a certain degree of control and decision-making power over their work, such as flexible working hours to foster a sense of ownership and motivation.

7. Promote work-life balance

Encourage a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements, time off, and promoting a culture that values well-being.

8. Recognise and reward achievements

Implement a system of rewards and recognition, such as an e-thank you, incentives, or employee of the month programs, to acknowledge exceptional performance and motivate employees.

9. Encourage teamwork and collaboration

Foster a collaborative work environment by promoting teamwork, cross-departmental collaboration, and open communication to create a sense of camaraderie and shared success.

10. Provide a comfortable and well-equipped work environment

Ensure that employees have access to necessary tools, resources, and a comfortable workspace that supports their productivity and well-being.

11. Encourage innovation and creativity

Create an environment that values and encourages innovative thinking, allowing employees to explore new ideas and take calculated risks.

12. Promote work appreciation and social connections

Organize team-building activities, social events, or employee appreciation programs to foster positive relationships among colleagues and enhance the sense of belonging.

13. Encourage regular breaks and relaxation

Encourage employees to take regular breaks, engage in stress-relieving activities, and promote healthy work-life integration.

14. Lead by example

Display enthusiasm, positivity, and dedication in your own work, serving as a role model for employees and inspiring them to perform at their best.

15. Solicit employee feedback and involve them in decision-making

Actively seek input from employees, involve them in decision-making processes, and show that their opinions and perspectives are valued and taken into consideration.

How to measure employee motivation

Performance reviews

Performance reviews serve as more than just a means to motivate employees. They can also serve as a valuable measure of motivation itself.

Poor performance review results often reveal unmotivated employees and poor engagement. Identifying these performance issues is an important step for employers to understand and address the underlying causes of low motivation. By recognising the connection between performance and motivation, employers can focus on investigating and resolving the factors to get their employees motivated.

Employee motivation and employee engagement surveys

Surveys are a widely recognised popular method for measuring employee motivation. Nevertheless, employers must exercise caution when selecting survey questions.

Maintaining anonymity is of utmost importance when conducting employee engagement surveys. This ensures that employees feel comfortable providing honest feedback without fear of repercussions. Furthermore, employing a combination of question types, including open-ended questions and rating scales, can yield more comprehensive insights into employee motivation and engagement levels. By utilising these strategies, employers can gather valuable data to inform targeted improvements in their workplace environment.

Customer satisfaction surveys

The satisfaction of customers is often intertwined with the satisfaction of employees. In fact, motivated and engaged employees tend to contribute to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Hence, assessing customer satisfaction can serve as an indicator of employee motivation, particularly for employees who directly interact with customers. This approach is commonly employed for employees working in sales and customer success roles.

Create highly motivated employees

Implementing these tips can create highly motivated and engaged employees, which can help you on your way to business success. Understanding what each of your employees feel and what each employee brings to the table can help you to discover their motivational factors. After all, each employee will have different basic needs. Each person's motivation will be different and not all employees will have the same levels of work motivation. Understanding what drives motivation for each of your employees is vital for improving employee motivation.

This greater understanding can help you to make changes, throughout your organization to help improve employee performance, increase employee motivation and make them feel involved within your company culture.

A great way to make your employees feel motivated is by introducing a reward and recognition program. Try encorePeople for free, our peer-to-peer recognition and rewards platform where employees can give meaningful recognition and rewards to make sure each employee feels valued.

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