Executive Education

Motivation in the workplace: how to show your employees they’re valued

Workplace motivation is the level of commitment, energy and creativity your employees bring to their jobs. It is essential for a thriving company and can make or break a business.

Motivation is a core human emotion; what drives us forward, from personal relationships to great technological breakthroughs. In the business world, motivation is vital, since every organization is the sum of its best people and their individual acts.

Since firms with high employee engagement are 21% more productive and suffer 28% less internal theft than those with low engagement, investing in workplace motivation is an important way to protect your business.

The trick to really nailing workplace motivation is to create a culture in which employees feel motivated by the overall direction of your business.

What motivates? 

Motivation has three main components: decisions, persistence, and intensity – the vigour employees arm themselves with to ‘go at’ their goals.

It is important to work on all three to keep your business growing at the desired pace. According to motivational psychologist Professor Dan Ariely, the key to keeping up momentum is to connect a sense of meaning to each individual task.

“Remind yourself what the final goal is to get through the drudgery,” he advises. For a team to stay engaged even when times are tough, you need to acknowledge hard work and remind them of the broader vision.

Invest in training 

One of the simplest ways to boost motivation levels in your workplace is to invest in training and development. It is important to build quality training structures within your organisation, tailored for everyone from junior recruits to company directors.

Quality training ensures your staff fully understand their role and targets, and importantly, that they’re well-equipped to thrive. It also ensures senior team members remain engaged and view their future within the business.

Offering a competitive salary is rarely enough on its own – you need to provide a business environment where there’s always a clear pathway for growth. Your business can only truly scale if its top executives are able to grow and develop.

It is a good idea to budget for externally sourced personal development resources, as well as training days, to give growth a social element. Invest time and energy into training, and you’ll see long term financial rewards.

You can outsource training on any topic, from specific software programmes to courses on business analysis. QA provide a broad range of courses and industry-recognised certifications, available at locations near you, or online.

Organise award events – and hire a speaker

There are few things more beneficial for staff morale than company get-togethers. From seasonal parties to lunchtime get-togethers, a strong workplace culture drives team function. The data shows that creating an organisation with connected employees can improve productivity by 20–25%.

But, to really motivate your people as a team, your events should include a few key ingredients: business updates, awards for great performance and an inspirational host.

Memorable awards events can keep staff motivated for many months – as they compete for prestigious awards, and retain the stimulating messages communicated at the event.

To really make the most of the occasion, hire a motivational speaker. Providers like Speakers Corner can match your organisation with the perfect host, whether you require an expert on security and risk, customer service, or pure entrepreneurial spirit.

Motivational speakers are experts in lifting business spirits. They can inject vital enthusiasm into your team, reconnecting them with the wider goals of growth and innovation.

Show gratitude 

A common mistake among business leaders is believing a pay cheque should be all the thanks your staff require. This leadership mentality can attract employees who are disinterested and uncommitted. Show your employees they’re more than worker bees, and performance will shine.

A simple “thank you” is invaluable in the workplace. Create a culture of kindness, and let this filter down through the ranks. Make your praise specific, focusing on the type of behaviour you’d like to encourage, and you’ll see the results in real-time. 

Involve employees in company decisions 

A fully democratic workplace may be difficult to manage, but it’s still important to let employees have a say. People are your most valuable asset. They are your eyes and ears around the business – and if you hire smart, your teams will have the interests of the business in their line of vision.

Listening to employee feedback and grievances means you can learn what’s working, and what isn’t around your organisation. Thinking ahead to improve your employees’ working lives can also sharpen workplace culture. If you can use technology to minimise the time your staff spend on trivial tasks, they’ll be more passionate and productive on the work that really matters. 

Know the importance of self care 

Self care in the office means promoting healthy and happy working lives. This can involve simple changes, like investing in health-conscious office design, or stress-boosting group activities.

Intuit give all employees “10% unstructured time” to work on any work-related idea they’re passionate about. The benefits of schemes like this are twofold: you can show appreciation and lift pressure from your staff’s shoulders, while encouraging innovation among your best talent.

Don’t believe the myths 

Don’t believe the common myths about workplace motivation. Fear is not the best motivator, and, perhaps surprisingly, nor is money. When praising staff, managers can focus too much on the on innate talents or qualities, rather than the effort exerted. Praising effort for its own sake is one of the simplest ways to encourage your staff to go above and beyond. 

Helpful hints for everyday office morale: 

  • Maintain a bright and positive office environment, in line with your company vision. This makes everyone feel professional and focused. Studies show indoor plants increase attention capacity in the office – and they look great, too.
  • Make time for fun in the office. Create competitions, sporting tournaments, or a separate room for recreational activities.
  • Avoid robotic working timetables. Mix up the routine to see better-quality results.
  • Provide healthy snacks in the office. This helps your staff to make the most of healthy screen breaks through the day.

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Aimee Lee Webber
Editorial Aide/Reporter at The CEOWORLD magazine. Nationally Syndicated Advice Columnist. Generally prefer dogs to humans. Loves dragons. New Yorker.