Motivating Employees

The Dos and Don’ts of Motivating Employees

5 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

Motivation. We all know how powerful it can be in encouraging growth and turning lacklustre teams into high-performing ones. That inner vitality is critical to reaching goals but can be somewhat elusive. 

You can’t just tell someone to be motivated. You need to make them feel it. 

The best way to do that is with a solid motivational strategy that considers everything from ambition to employee wellbeing

Still trying to figure out where to start? We have some dos and don’ts of motivating your employees to set you on the right path.

How and why employee motivation makes a difference

Employee motivation is more than just smiling faces in the boardroom. It’s the engine that drives the most success. According to a study by the Corporate Leadership Council, people who are committed and motivated perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to quit or look for new roles. 

Where you might be going wrong with your motivational strategies

Even the best-laid plans can backfire. Here are just a few of the common failures and issues to watch out for when you’re trying to boost motivation in the workplace. 

Ignoring the signs of stress 

It’s all very well to want the best for your organisation and your team, but sometimes you have to step outside of your goals and consider the challenges individuals face. The APA’s 2021 Work and Wellbeing Survey found that nearly 3 in 5 employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress. For 26% of those, that stress manifested as a lack of interest, motivation, or energy. 

When you’re worried about a lack of motivation, it may be time to pull back and check whether you’re placing too much expectation on your team. Protecting your employees against burnout will help them thrive and can do wonders for overall motivation.    

You made a plan, but you’re not sticking to it

Few things are more frustrating for an employee than being told there is a new strategy at play without them seeing solid evidence of it being implemented. If you want to be a successful leader, you need to be able to put your money where your mouth is and follow through with initiatives.

That means putting structures in place to support your strategy, whether that’s software, regular check-ins or honest feedback sessions. People who trust their managers are more motivated, and building trust means consistently acting with integrity. 

Your managers are MIA or overly meddlesome

One of the trickiest balances to get right is the level of management needed for a successful team. Some managers might as well be labelled as missing in action because they never seem to be around when the chips are down. Others can’t leave their employees alone and micromanage horribly. 

Both extremes can be a massive drain on motivation. 

Teams need to feel supported and know that if they have a problem, there is someone they can turn to. On the other hand, they also need the freedom to get on with their work and grow their skillset. Self-management is so important in the workplace and should be encouraged at every opportunity. 

How to motivate your employees 

A motivational strategy can bring huge benefits, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Give your employees everything they need to get set with the following suggestions.   

Show your appreciation 

Employees who feel appreciated are much more likely to feel motivated. Who wants to work hard day after day and feel as though no one notices or cares? Introduce a culture of appreciation and make sure that your employees know exactly how valuable they are, and you’ll see motivation levels rise in no time.  

There are many ways to show appreciation, from casual comments, sharing feedback during meetings or giving quick and easy digital praise through a recognition platform like Mo!

Offer meaningful rewards 

While appreciation is a bigger motivational factor than physical rewards for most employees, there’s no denying that the occasional treat goes a long way. Help build motivation by offering the kind of rewards that make a difference, like a voucher for a free coffee or a physical gift sent to their home.

Rewards should only be part of your motivational strategy. Just be sure to check in and see whether the rewards meet your team’s needs. Don’t try to motivate teetotallers with free beer, and vice versa!

Show how flexible you are 

Flexibility has become increasingly important in a world where working from home is a real possibility for many organisations. More employees are considering the benefits of a good work-life balance and want to make the most of their time in and out of the office.

Introducing some flexibility into your workplace can have a big impact on motivation. Employees who feel their wellbeing is being taken care of are far more likely to be loyal to and invested in their company. 

Be the best workplace you can be

Helping employees to stay motivated means taking a look inwards too. 

Is your organisation fulfilling its potential? Have you been ignoring the signs that toxicity is slipping into your culture? Have you put as much effort as you could into defining and living by your own values?

Investing energy into developing a high-performing culture not only helps you realise organisational goals, but it also helps individuals grow too – and there are few things as powerful for motivation as knowing that you are on the path to greater success. 

Transform your culture with Mo

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Mo is an employee recognition and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues.

Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today!

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