Solvo Global

10 Powerful Employee Motivation Techniques to Use in Your Workplace

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The good news is that 85% of American workers are actually happy with their jobs. But that doesn’t mean employers can’t and shouldn’t do more to motivate their employees. 

One reason to utilize employee motivation techniques at work is that disengaged employees cost American businesses around $550 billion annually. Meanwhile, businesses with highly engaged teams produce 21% higher profits. 

It’s worth learning how to increase motivation in your workplace. But if you’re not sure how to motivate employees, we can help. 

Keep reading to learn our top 10 most powerful employee motivation techniques to use in your workplace. 

1. The Easiest of All Employee Motivation Techniques is to Ask What Motivates Them

You’ll never know how to motivate employees unless you ask them directly. So, it’s best to find out what makes them get out of bed every morning. 

Ask them what they’re passionate about, including their goals, dreams, and interests. These can include both personal and professional passions. 

Great Leaders Show a Genuine Interest 

The more you know your employees, the easier it is to know what motivates them. Also, it’s a sign of a great leader when they show an interest in their employees.

This is known as emotionally engaging your employees.

Ways to Engage Employees

There are many ways to get to know your employees such as:

  • Introducing a bring-your-pet-to-work day
  • Playing games designed to get to know each other better
  • Create a bucket list quiz

You can even just take a walk with your employees. Furthermore, walking helps relax people and promote brainstorming. 

2. Schedule One-on-One Time with All Employees

While games and walks are fun, a more intimate way is to engage with all your employees on a one-on-one basis. This setting allows you and each of your employees to create clear and consistent goals and expectations together. 

Take time to hear their suggestions, problems, issues, and ideas. Discuss any performance issues and their work. 

Structured Meetings Deliver the Best Results

Make sure that these meetings are well-structured so it works out to your advantage. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Take action on the feedback you receive
  • Create a zone free from distractions
  • Ask your employee ahead of time what they want to discuss

Do your best to avoid giving them minimal feedback. Employees want to know how you think they’re doing. 

Prevent Potential Problems

Giving feedback once a week helps people quickly recover from, and correct mistakes.

It helps no one if you wait for six months before bringing up an issue. Instead, a weekly meeting is a chance to prevent possible ongoing issues and grievances before they start. 

3. Create and Implement an Onboarding and Retention Program

Being a new hire is stressful enough. You want to ease the transition and ensure that all new employees feel welcome and smoothly transition into your corporate culture. So the best way to do that is to create and implement an onboarding and retention program. 

The onboarding process should be designed to teach new staff members about their job duties and responsibilities, and also about your company’s culture. Let new hires know how they can thrive and contribute to your company’s culture. 

The training and support you and your team provide to a new hire from Day One set the tone for the duration of that employee’s tenure at the company. It also helps your company avoid staffing issues

4. Offer Wellness Programs

The average return on investment (ROI) for workplace wellness programs is $3.27. So, for every dollar you spend on a wellness program, you save $3.27 in reduced healthcare costs. 

You save an additional $5.82 in lowered absentee costs for every dollar you spend on wellness programs. And 87% of employees take health and wellness offerings by potential employers into consideration when deciding to take a job. 

Wellness Programs to Implement

Some wellness programs you can easily implement at work are:

  • Stress management programs
  • Financial wellness resources
  • Gym access

You can also provide incentives for engaging in healthy behaviors or offer other physical wellness options. 

5. Recognize Great Work

While employees get paid for their work, it’s also nice to be recognized for hard work in other ways. In fact, providing timely and meaningful recognition is a powerful tool you can use to inspire your team.

Don’t just recognize the big wins. It’s the smaller wins that lead to those bigger wins, so recognize those as well. 

Ways to Show Appreciation 

You don’t have to throw a big party for every little milestone. Here are a few ideas to express your appreciation and gratitude to your team:

  • Write a personalized note of appreciation
  • Use the internal portal to send a shout out
  • Have a team lunch

Highlight how their efforts made, and continue to make a difference. Focusing on what your team does right (rather than what they do wrong) helps motivate them. They are also more likely to focus on achieving their goals. 

6. Emphasize Collaboration Over Competition

In the past, competition in the workplace was viewed as a healthy way to increase production. According to research, 25% of people wilt in a competitive atmosphere.

Another 25% are neither negatively nor positively impacted. The remaining 50% benefit from it. 

However, men tend to embrace competition while women, being more risk-averse, tend to avoid it. Also, younger generations do not enjoy the competition and prefer collaboration instead. 

Sharing Rather than Hoarding Ideas

Instead of hoarding good ideas, they’re shared and built upon. Employees work together and uplift each other. 

Together they’re more focused on the greater goal. The end result is a wealth of resources, ideas, and differing perspectives that can increase productivity and sales.

Ways to Effectively Collaborate

  • Clearly define your purpose
  • Choose your preferred collaboration method
  • Involve the right people from each department
  • Share how collaboration benefits each member
  • Encourage collaborative behavior among team members

It’s hard to collaborate with a team member if they refuse to return messages. So, you should also set clear communication guidelines.

7. Set Small, Measurable Goals

As you look at the top of a mountain when you’re at the bottom, it looms above you. It looks tall, imposing, and sometimes, impossible. 

However, the only way to reach the top of a mountain is by taking one step after another and following the trail markers. Eventually, if you keep taking steps in the right direction, you will get to the top. 

Goals Can Feel Impossible

Goals are like mountains. They can seem impossible and you may be tempted to avoid them at all costs. 

And when that happens within a company setting, that translates into projects that drag on forever with no end in sight. It’s demoralizing to feel stuck. 

But it feels great when you’re making visible progress. Progress also signals that your work is making a difference. 

Setting Measurable Goals

Measurable goals act as a roadmap to achieving success. Start by setting goals that actually motivate your team. Then implement the SMART strategy:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Put the goals in writing. The physical act of writing down the goals makes it seem both tangible and real. 

Have your employees create an action plan. These should be the small steps they must take to achieve their goals. 

8. Encourage Cross-Functional Teaming

Imagine your business was a machine. Like a machine, there are various parts that make up your business. 

You may have a sales team, a marketing team, human resources, and an administrative team. A machine may have wheels, gaskets, and a motor. But if those parts of the machine stop speaking to one another, problems arise. And the same is true for any business. 

What a Cross-Functional Team Does

A cross-functional team is a group of employees who possess different specialties and/or skills. This team is responsible for carrying out all phases of a program from beginning to end. 

Bringing people together from different departments to share ideas and achieve specific goals increases communication across departments. And it creates a cohesive work environment. 

You’ll find it leads to faster and more effective results. And it aids in motivating your teams when they all work together to attain commonly shared goals. 

Ways to Develop a Cross-Functional Team

Here are a few steps to take to ensure that you create a cross-functional team that produces the results you’re looking for:

Assemble the Right Team

Find team members with the shared skills needed to create a well-oiled machine. The best candidates are independent self-starters who are authorized to make important decisions. 

If possible, find members with previous experience. Those who require hand-holding won’t work well in these conditions.

Collaborative members should be able to work in a less-defined space. 

Designate a Leader

It’s more beneficial when a leader is designated. Make sure the leader is able to ensure each team member is an accountable self leader. 

It’s the team leader’s responsibility to educate, delegate, and give autonomy as well as following up on the team’s progress. 

Establish Clearly Defined Rules

Create a charter to define the project’s priorities. The next step is to create and approve a budget to provide everyone with a financial roadmap. 

Clearly define the outcomes you want and the time frame you want them achieved. Once all of these guidelines are established, the team members can do their work knowing what’s expected of them, when it’s due, and what resources they need to finish the work correctly and on time. 

Make sure that team members are all able and willing to communicate effectively together. Meeting together weekly helps keep levels of communication open and clear. This is especially necessary if cross-functional teams are not all working under the same roof. 

9. Provide Employees with the Right Resources

The most important question you can ask your employees is, “What do you need right now to do your job better?” Then, taking steps to honor their response will act as a huge motivational booster.

The right resources can be anything from needing more access to information so they can make the right decisions to moving to a new workspace to requiring better equipment. 

Offer Training Opportunities

Don’t just offer training opportunities that are required for technical, compliance or safety reasons. Also, give your employees the opportunity to gain new skills or knowledge in other areas. 

This will let employees leverage their natural strengths to advance their careers. While they may use these skills to transfer to another company, if you serve and value your employees well, most will stay. They will then utilize their skills for new projects to benefit your company. 

Create Mentoring Opportunities

Part of your continued onboarding process should include a mentorship with a senior employee. These mentors can offer guidance and act as a sounding board for new employees. 

It also helps make newer employees feel more welcome at the company. Mentors also benefit from this program by hearing fresh viewpoints from new hires. 

But, it’s best not to select an immediate supervisor to act as a mentor. You want free communication within these mentorship pairings.  

10. Celebrate Results

The fun part of setting small and measurable goals is that you now have reasons to celebrate all the hard work everyone is putting in. No, you don’t need to go overboard and clap just because a usually tardy employee actually makes it into work on time for once!

But you should let every team member know exactly how much each of them contributed to helping the company move forward. Be specific when you’re celebrating. 

What to Say When Celebrating Achievements

Saying “good job” isn’t enough. And don’t stop at “amazing job,” either. Applaud an employee’s success and point out how it contributes to the bigger picture. 

A good example is: “Great job on the social media campaign – it’s going to help promote our brand.”

Let Us Help You Do Business the Right Way

Employee motivation techniques help owners, supervisors, and employees feel valued and appreciated. It also helps improve communication throughout the company. 

But you may need some help in implementing these ideas. That’s where we come in. 

How We Can Help

We provide everything from staffing solutions to HR training and development to helping companies increase their profitability while reducing HR risks. And we work with a  variety of industries

Building your business the right way means fewer growing pains. So, contact us to see how we can help you manage your business.