By: Lauren Dellarocco
Projects in the workplace often start off strong with excitement amongst employees and leaders, a slew of innovative ideas, and sanguine anticipation for the outcome. Managers, directors, and department heads often come together to organize a kick-off meeting or brainstorm session to commence a new project and brief team members on their roles and responsibilities.
Though the whole team may begin a project on the same page with a common motivation, oftentimes, the team gradually starts to lose traction. In many cases, as the wheels start to turn, the collective motivation among team members begins to deplete. This is when the leaders of a company need to kick it into high gear and implement employee motivation strategies to maintain or restore employee engagement.
When there is a lack of employee engagement, work productivity decreases, employee turnover rates increase, and employee satisfaction suffers.
A Gallup study concluded that “actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.” The effects of poor employee engagement in a workforce can be catastrophic!
Understanding the true value of having team members that are motivated and engaged can increase your company’s profits, improve customer satisfaction, ensure employee retention, and boost employees’ overall happiness.
So how can you prevent a decline in team motivation? What are the best practices and ways of motivating employees? What actions can you take to keep employees engaged, to keep projects running smoothly, and to ensure deadlines and milestones are met?
What are employee motivation strategies?
Employee motivation strategies are tactics and processes put in place to keep employees inspired, engaged, and interested in their responsibilities. Ways of motivating employees will vary by workforce, based on different work environments, work cultures, and industries. There isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to motivating a team.
Strategies for employee motivation in the workplace are typically implemented by the leaders or supervisors of a company. Methods of motivation can include verbal reinforcement, rewards, incentives, trips, opportunities, or recognition.
According to Hawk Incentives, “86% of organizations have a rewards and/or recognition program in place.”
Why is employee motivation important?
Staying motivated means staying engaged. When employees are engaged with their work, they’re motivated to make decisions, solve problems, seek creative solutions, and generally speaking—to work harder.
Employee engagement leads to happier employees. For employees, knowing that they’re contributing to the bigger picture elicits a sense of satisfaction. Team members who feel that they’re integral to the big picture, and who understand that they’re a significant addition to the overall mission, feel compelled to remain engaged with their duties. Having a sense of purpose in the workplace contributes to a positive outlook and a happy disposition in employees.
To further establish this sense of purpose in the work environment, employee engagement programs are often used in accordance with motivational methods to engage team members with a communication program that makes them feel like an integral part of the journey.
Gallup determines that companies with high employee engagement achieve 59% less employee turnover.
High employee engagement also directly correlates with high work productivity. Disengaged employees tend to have a lower attendance rate at work, and they tend to simply ‘get the job done’ as opposed to going above and beyond to refine processes and explore new solutions. When employees are mentally present and engaged, they’re increasingly productive.
Studies show that highly engaged companies see a 41% reduction in employee absenteeism and a 17% increase in work productivity.
In a business with a centralized workforce and a physically-present team, maintaining employee engagement can be more manageable than with a decentralized workforce. With a decentralized, remote team, company leaders often find that they have to put in extra effort to increase remote employee engagement
No matter the type of workforce, remote or in-office, employee engagement is a critical component to work productivity, employee satisfaction, and consequently—customer satisfaction.
Top Employee Motivation Strategies
1. Praise and recognition
One of the simplest, yet most effective ways to motivate employees is to recognize them for their work and provide positive feedback. Recognizing employees for their efforts will communicate that these employees are valued and appreciated, and that their work doesn’t go unnoticed. Remind team members that their achievements are a vital contribution to the company’s overall mission to encourage a sense of purpose in the team’s efforts.
Leaders who work closely with employees have the opportunity to recognize their team’s accomplishments regularly. Although employee motivation can derive from implementing an employee recognition program, instances of employee recognition don’t have to be spectacular events; a verbal praise can do wonders for an employee’s motivation. Providing positive feedback with each accomplishment can help employees to understand which areas they’re performing well in and what they can do to continue making an impact on the company’s success.
Any team member who’s in a position of leadership should think through a supportive lens when communicating with employees and acknowledging their efforts. Employees whose accomplishments are reinforced by their leaders’ praise and positive feedback will remain motivated to continue progressing and achieving goals.
Perks, like surprise bonuses for top performers and profit-sharing opportunities, are excellent motivating factors in the workplace. Rewarding employees for their good work shows team members that the company values their contribution, and encourages them to continue performing at their fullest potential.
Through profit-sharing, companies reward employees with additional money based on the company’s profitability. This strategy motivates employees to take it upon themselves and go the extra mile to increase the company’s profit margin.
Monetary bonuses for top performers show that employees’ hard work is rewarded, and their talents are valued by the company.
Studies show that companies offering incentives can experience a 28% decrease in employee dissatisfaction compared to companies that don’t offer these perks.
Though it’s more sustainable in the long run to implement strategies for employee motivation that lead to intrinsic motivation, external rewards, bonuses and profit-sharing opportunities can provide that extra push and encouragement for employees to remain engaged throughout the workday.
3. Employee performance check-ins
Check-ins to monitor employee performance and provide positive feedback for team members’ hard work can motivate employees to see where and how their contributions support the big picture in the company. These performance check-ins hold employees accountable for their progress and success, which encourages employee engagement.
To encourage goal-setting and accomplishments in team members, regular, recurring employee performance check-ins can be effective motivators. Scheduling check-ins with employees communicates that their performance is monitored and their achievements don’t go unnoticed.
Effective employee check-ins will acknowledge what exactly each team member is doing to meet the company’s overall goals, mission, and vision with positive feedback. Evaluating an employee’s performance throughout projects and milestones can help employees to adjust or refine their processes to better align with the company’s goals and its overall big picture.
4. Education/training development
By investing in your employees, you’re investing in the company’s overall success. One of the most effective methods of employee motivation is offering further education and training opportunities for employees.
This motivational strategy not only shows that the company has appreciation for its team members, but it encourages a team of talented and determined employees that strive to invest in the company’s prosperity.
Talent management throughout these opportunities is also made easier with software that streamlines communications to increase engagement, accountability, and commitment among employees.
Educational and training opportunities will further develop team members’ skills and interests, which widens the spectrum of possibilities for a business. Employees will feel empowered by their company’s investment, and will be motivated and well-equipped with the skills to achieve at greater heights within the company.
According to Bridge surveys:
- “Offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position”
- “If their job lacks growth opportunities and avenues for leadership development, 67% of millennials would leave their position”
With larger organizations and corporate companies, it can be more of a challenge to keep the entire workforce motivated. Smaller businesses with close-knit teams may find it easier to organize recognition ceremonies and conduct regular employee performance check-ins, so let’s take a look at a few ways of motivating employees, specifically in large-scale companies.
Disney Employee Motivation Strategy
Disney operates by encouraging leaders to immerse themselves with their employees. Leaders listen to feedback from cast members and employees who work at the front line, because they want to communicate the value in these employees’ work.
Disney also encourages its leaders to work these front-line shifts to fully understand the company on a granular, direct, consumer-facing level. Employees report feeling that their contribution to the company is appreciated, which increases employee engagement and overall work performance.
Google Employee Motivation Strategy
Google is known for its success at keeping employees, its happy work culture and high level of job satisfaction, and the positive effects of its motivational strategies.
By providing a slew of employee benefits and perks, Google has cultivated a work culture of satisfied and motivated team members. Between legal expense reimbursements, financial support for adopting a child, maternity benefits, onsite laundry facilities, doctors, fitness trainers, and more, Google goes the extra mile to provide support and encourage motivation throughout its work environment.
Apple Employee Motivation Strategy
Apple motivates its employees by offering an abundance of benefits and incentives, including employee stock purchase plans, computer programs, tuition assistance, and an onsite fitness center.
This company’s strategies for employee motivation also include bonus compensation for reaching goals, the leaders of Apple sharing meals and rewards on a personal level with employees, and free products gifted on a management and corporate level.
With numerous ways of motivating employees, Apple has a high employee retention rate and high employee satisfaction in its workforce.
Has your company implemented any of these effective employee motivation strategies? If it has, it’s likely that team members are satisfied, work productivity and employee engagement are high, and team members are staying with the company for years to come.
It’s the responsibility of a company’s leaders to determine the most effective ways of motivating employees in any given work environment. Every company’s work culture is unique, so each company’s motivational methods will differ.
One method that remains static between companies: ensuring that team members feel valued, heard, and appreciated with regular praise. This motivational method is easily the most cost-efficient and fruitful approach a company can have toward its greatest assets—its employees.