Seven Simple Actions that Build Employee Motivation

Thoughtfully motivating employees requires focused energy and a diverse set of motivational strategies and tools.  There are also simple activities that can support employee motivation. Here’s a list of opportunities to motivate others. Commit to them, and you will see positive outcomes in both the short and long term.

  1. Say “thank you.” Everyone is motivated by feeling appreciated. Be specific about what you are grateful for and explicitly acknowledge the positive impact the person had.
  2. Use formal and informal rewards. Consider a multi-tier award system, ranging from simple recognition notes and gifts, to more formal awards like spot bonuses, certificates and plaques. Share recognitions with more senior people in the organization, so your staff knows that their work is noticed.
  3. Talk about successes and impacts. When the group achieves something important – like meeting a sales goal or performance measure, openly share that success and talk about impacts.
  4. Provide development opportunities. Learn about your employee’s goals and provide them with development tools that support them. These could include stretch assignments, training or shadowing opportunities.
  5. Ask for help. Many people are motivated by feeling needed and valued. Ask for someone’s help and explain why you are asking.
  6. Set high standards. High levels of motivation lead to commitment and high levels of quality. One strategy for motivating employees is to set high standards for quality and insist that people meet them – be sure to demonstrate confidence that they can achieve great things, and people will find a way.
  7. Take a break. In addition to motivating others, you also need to take care of and motivate yourself. Think about what YOU most need to feel motivated – if you are feeling motivated, then you are more likely to shape motivation in others.

Employee motivation is not a static state – it must be continuously renewed and refreshed. Employee motivation takes sustained commitment and strategic investment.  Simple steps like the ones above will add meaning and value to the employee experience – and motivation will increase as a result.