Seven ways to motivate your employees

Knowing how to keep teams inspired and engaged helps them toward success. Here are a few ways you can do it

Photograph by WeWork

How do you keep your employees motivated? It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that it takes more than a couple of inspirational posters in the break room. 

Motivated employees are those who feel supported by their managers day in and day out. They are engaged with the work they’re doing, and are continually inspired by the people working around them. 

Achieving this when working remotely or across satellite offices can be a challenge, but with hundreds of professional workspaces around the world to choose from, services like WeWork All Access can be the first step toward motivating employees. WeWork locations offer convenient office space where teams can collaborate and be productive.

For even more flexibility, WeWork On Demand lets employees access workspaces and meeting rooms in more than hundreds of locations in dozens of major cities, without the hassle or constraints of a monthly commitment.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the techniques managers can use to help motivate their employees, how unmotivated employees can affect a company’s performance, and how leading by example can help reenergize a business.

The importance of motivated employees

Keeping employees engaged and involved in the company’s mission is about much more than simply maintaining performance and productivity. 

When teams and individuals lose their motivation, they contribute less of themselves, and businesses can begin to lose their forward momentum. New ideas seem to dry up, innovation disappears, team culture fades away, and morale drops as a lack of interest in the company’s goals takes hold.

So how do you turn things around when energy levels are waning? Let’s take a look at a few ways to boost an employee’s all-round engagement and make teams feel valued, included, and supported at work.

Ways to motivate employees

Set weekly achievable goals

Long-term goals are an important way to make sure that teams are progressing in the right direction and toward an objective, but hitting smaller targets helps keep individuals motivated along the way.

Consider breaking big tasks down into more manageable goals that can be reached in days and weeks rather than months and years. Not only does this make long-term goals seem less daunting, but hitting lots of smaller targets also creates a satisfying sense of momentum and progress.

Make them part of important decisions

Don’t keep people in the dark when it comes to making important decisions about the company and its future. Instead, try to think of opportunities to ask an employee for their thoughts on anything from product design and packaging to office relocations and sustainability practices

While not everybody can have their ideas implemented every time, simply being listened to and asked for input may boost engagement and improve their motivation.

Let them know when they do things right

Not feeling appreciated by a manager for your hard work is demoralizing. Learn to recognize when an employee has performed their job well, and take the time to privately or publicly acknowledge the good work they’ve done.

Learn about them and what they like

Take an interest in what motivates and fascinates the people you work with. Listen to them, learn about their goals and ambitions, and make proactive choices to help them do their best work and to grow with those goals in mind. 

That might mean assigning them work that they’re most passionate about, or it could be something as simple as reaching out to them for guidance and advice on a specific topic they know inside out.

Give meaningful rewards

Let’s not overcomplicate things: Of all the ways to motivate employees, compensation is near the top of the list. Generous salaries, reasonable workloads, and plenty of paid time off are the main drivers of overall employee satisfaction, performance, and retention.

But you can incentivize performance even further with fun and meaningful rewards for individuals and teams who reach milestones. Rewards like spa weekends and short city breaks can help motivate and challenge teams to reach for success.

Encourage them to give you feedback

Creating a space for positive and candid communication between managers and employees means that everybody is better equipped to handle problems as they arise, or even avoid them altogether.

Encourage constructive feedback, whether that’s one-on-one or anonymously, and then try to act on that feedback as best you can. Asking for input from employees and then consistently ignoring their advice can be worse than never asking for input in the first place.

Respect work-life balance

The rise of hybrid working has made it more difficult for many of us to switch off and find some semblance of work-life balance, especially those who find themselves without a dedicated workspace away from home

Managers should lead by example by respecting the stated working hours of their colleagues. Turning a blind eye to people overworking themselves not only leads to burnout but creates an unfair pressure on those around them to push themselves too far. Not only is this sort of workplace environment demoralizing for everyone involved, but it’s ultimately bad for business too.

Motivation techniques

Motivation techniques are a set of tools and practices available to managers that are designed to help increase employee happiness, boost an individual’s engagement with projects, and inspire and encourage them to reach productivity targets.

The ability to inspire and lead others should come naturally to a good manager. But in large or specialist teams where a drop in motivation can have a measurable effect on the performance of the business, having a set of known techniques to fall back on can help ensure every worker is getting the attention and appreciation they need.

Lead with example when motivating

Leading by example is one of the most effective and proven management techniques out there, and when it comes to motivating employees, it’s also one of the most successful. By taking the lead and demonstrating the behaviors and attitudes you’d like to see exemplified in your business, you foster the kind of work environment that inspires teams to do their best work.

Whether consciously or not, people tend to take social and professional cues from those around them each day. When a manager actively listens to employees, does excellent work, and shows appreciation, they influence others to become effective leaders themselves.

Benefits of having motivated employees

Poor motivation can have a compounding negative effect on overall team performance. If one or more individuals are struggling to stay energized because they don’t feel supported in the work they do, they become far less effective at communicating and less able to cooperate with their colleagues. This can slow down or derail projects if it’s not quickly addressed, creating interpersonal friction that drains the confidence of other parts of the team.

Properly motivated employees are key to a properly functioning business. When teams have the tools they need to do their best work—in an adaptable and flexible workspace that supports their needs—motivation, confidence, and happiness will follow naturally.

Steve Hogarty is a writer and journalist based in London. He is the travel editor of City AM newspaper and the deputy editor of City AM Magazine, where his work focuses on technology, travel, and entertainment.

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