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The Art of Motivation: 6 Effective Ways to Inspire your Employees

Learning & Development, Workplace Productivity, Business Articles

Motivated employees are happier, healthier and more productive in the workplace. Yet only 47% of employees say they feel motivated by their workplace culture (Mind). Here’s how to turn this around to make your workforce feel inspired.

Motivation and employee engagement go hand-in-hand. An incredible 87% of employees who describe themselves as being motivated are also highly engaged with the organisation they work for. On the other hand, only 3% of demotivated employees are found to be highly engaged with their company (The Art of Motivation report, Motivates).

How do you help employees ‘feel’ a connection with a company? Tackling motivation issues can sometimes feel like an intangible task to managers and leaders. Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, tackling several aspects of a working environment really can make a difference to employee motivation. Here are the six most important areas that can make a genuine difference:

1. Clear Progression Structures

Employees want more from an employer these days than money, but don’t underplay the value of pay rises and career progression either. In fact, 53% of staff say a pay rise is what currently motivates them most at work (The Art of Motivation). Having a structure in place for salary reviews, incremental pay rises and promotion opportunities all make a real difference to staff. As important as having the structures in place is communicating them and having a dedicated time of year when progression and salary is discussed with all employees. 

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2. Rewards for Doing Well

Employees are motivated when they feel valued. Rewarding your people for doing well at work can be as simple as a ‘thank you’ or a special mention on the staff intranet. Having a programme of incentives and appreciation can be the extra motivational boost that your staff need. Incentives can do more than just motivate too – 59% of employees say a personalised benefits package would encourage them to stay with their company (Perkbox). Vouchers, lunch tokens, massages or opportunities for personal development and training can all be incredibly motivating to a workforce.

3. Adequately Challenging Staff

Employees value being recognised and rewarded, but most want to work for this recognition. Studies show that staff feel a sense of motivation when they’ve been pushed or challenged in their role. Completing a piece of work they found challenging was actually the top reason given by employees for remaining motivated in the workplace (The Art of Motivation). Ensuring staff have varied roles, encouraging new ideas, involving them in new projects and putting them forward for development opportunities outside their comfort zones have all been shown to be important motivators.

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4. Team Dynamics

Feeling part of a team and having friendships in the workplace positively correlates with how motivated employees feel at work. An impressive 47% of employees who describe themselves as being motivated say they’re more productive when they work on projects with colleagues they consider to be friends (The Art of Motivation). Investing in team building activities and encouraging employees to participate in social events really can pay off.

5. Effective Leadership

Managers and leaders in a workplace have a direct impact on how motivated employees feel. Managers should allow their teams to get on with their jobs without too much micromanagement, say thank you for work well done and demonstrate human empathy towards the pressures of achieving a work-life balance. Despite these general rules, however, managers and leaders must lead people on an individual basis too, noticing what management approach works for different personalities. Investing in leadership training is key to getting management just right in a business.

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6. Empowerment

Employees thrive when then feel a sense of control over their own destiny, and this applies in the workplace as much as it’s relevant in the rest of life. As well as trusting employees with responsibility to lead projects or manage their workload in a way that works best for them, businesses can also empower employees through workplace benefits. One key area related to this is offering flexible working, with 91% of staff believing that being given the opportunity to work more flexibly would increase their motivation and therefore productivity at work (HSBC).

Achieving a motivated workforce is a process that must be addressed from multiple angles. Money, incentives and rewards are important, but without the human elements of team spirit, inspiring leaders and autonomy, they wouldn’t be anywhere as effective. Put together, however, and employees have clear reasons to feel good and motivated at work

“It’s less about the aspiration to be number one in the world, and more that we want our employees and future employees to love it here, because that’s what’s going to make us successful.” – Karen May, VP of People Development, Google

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