How To Motivate Your Employees

Motivating employees to work hard is an essential skill that all business leaders need to possess to retain their best workers and build a thriving company. 

Keeping your employees happy and motivated is a key factor to maintaining a thriving business. The last thing you want to do is spend time building the perfect team to watch their performance slowly fade away. 

Increasing Employee Retention Is Important

Since the pandemic, we’ve seen many professionals make major career changes they believe are more aligned with their values and long-term goals. That’s because it often takes more than a paycheck to ensure employees are engaged with their coworkers and feel valued in the workplace.

Recent data from Gallup reports that 36 percent of employees were engaged in work in the U.S. during the first half of 2021. The percentage of actively disengaged employees is up slightly from 14% in 2020 to 15% through June 2021.

It’s important to take strategic actions to help employees stay involved and enthusiastic about their work. When employees are eager to benefit the company and its mission, it positively affects the overall business performance. 

Job Satisfaction Plays an Important Role

Employee job satisfaction and engagement levels are crucial to retaining employees. We have found that fairness and transparency are fundamental concepts that hold much weight with employees.

According to a research report from 2017, the following factors are the leading contributors to job satisfaction:

  • Respectful treatment for all employees at every level
  • Overall compensation/payment structure
  • Establishing trust between employees and senior management
  • Confidence in job security
  • Opportunities to utilize skills and abilities at work

The good news is job satisfaction, and employee engagement has remained high — 89% of U.S. employees reported they were somewhat or very satisfied in their current job role.

However, even though satisfaction and engagement levels were relatively high, about 40% of employees considered seeking employment elsewhere within the next year.

What was their reasoning? Better compensation or pay.

Five Ways To Keep Your Employees Motivated

  1. Company culture is Important
  2. Celebrate Employee Milestones
  3. Encourage Employee Development
  4. Promote A Wellness Challenge For Employees
  5. Boost Employee Engagement With Company Swag

It’s the employer’s responsibility to motivate employees at work and figure out what they need to perform their best. Many types of personalities respond in various ways to different incentives, so you’ll likely need to implement several of the following approaches. 

1. Company Culture Is Important

This one is usually top of the list for employee motivation. Employee satisfaction tends to be better when employees feel part of a team and a valued company member.

Suppose you have a consistent star performer known to go above and beyond yet rarely feels recognized or rewarded for their efforts. In that case, they will eventually feel unappreciated and experience a decrease in motivation.

Implementing a robust employee recognition program or initiatives will have a good impact on your employees and the quality of their work. Company culture starts at the top and rolls down the chain of command.

How Company Culture Helps Motivate Employees:

Simple things like hosting an employee appreciation luncheon or highlighting an employee of the month can do a lot to bolster employees’ motivation levels because it makes employees feel valued.

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Team members respond better in a work environment with recognition and company perks. Everyone wants to feel like they’re doing a good job and that their work matters.

2. Celebrate Employee Milestones

Celebrating employee milestones like birthdays and anniversaries brings joy into the workplace. Whether big or small, celebrations are a great way to improve working relationships.

A simple but effective way to improve employee experience is to acknowledge new hires with a welcoming announcement and introduce them to the team. When an employee reaches a milestone in their career, either tenure or performance, make it a habit to have one of the company leaders give a speech highlighting their contributions.

As easy as it is, 40% of working Americans say they would put more energy into their work efforts if they were recognized more often.

How Employee Milestones Help Motivate Employees:

A work environment that celebrates milestones within the company shows employees they’re appreciated and keeps them inspired to reach for the next milestone in sight continuously.

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It’s important to stop and recognize all the personal and professional accomplishments in life. It’s fun and encouraging to celebrate achievable goals with your team. 

3. Encourage Employee Development

Everyone loves to be recognized and celebrate their wins, but an employee who doesn’t feel like they have growth potential will eventually lose motivation in their work.

Professional development should be a top priority for business leaders who want to retain their employees long-term. When an employee can picture themself moving forward within a company, there is no need to look elsewhere.

Most employees consider the possibility of advancement in their career path an important factor in their overall job satisfaction. Setting company goals everyone can work towards is a great way to promote teamwork.

How Encouragement Helps Motivate Employees:

A company that offers learning opportunities and ways for employees to advance will prevent boredom and stale thinking. Employee satisfaction rates are typically higher when they are incentivized to learn new skills.

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You can take several approaches to encourage employee development throughout your team. A few options are training workshops, mentoring programs, or educational subscriptions like LinkedIn Learning. 

4. Promote A Wellness Challenge For Employees

Hosting a company-wide fitness or wellness challenge is a great way to promote a healthy work-life balance and increase employee morale.

It shows employees that their company cares about their well-being and offers a way to establish goal-setting strategies and encourage hard work within your team.

Getting employees excited about a fitness challenge can be difficult, so there should be some form of employee perk or extra recognition to foster friendly competition. You may consider special privileges or a bonus to employees that reach a particular weight loss goal or walk the most steps.

How Wellness Promotions Help Motivate Employees:

With more companies moving towards remote work, it can be too easy to develop unhealthy habits. Encouraging employees to take time to prioritize their health will leave them feeling empowered and increase motivation.

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There are endless benefits to maintaining regular physical activities, such as higher levels of dopamine and serotonin that will boost employee performance.

5. Boost Employee Engagement With Company Swag

Everyone loves to rep the team they’re proud of — your company should be no different.

Gifting your employees gear to rep their pride in the company they work for is a sure way to foster team spirit. Employees with matching swag have a strong team identity and build company loyalty to your brand.

You could take it further and host a spirit week across all your departments to promote teamwork and bonding. It’s a fun and simple way to get people excited about where and who they work with.

How Does Swag Help Motivate Employees:

Who doesn't love free swag? Offering company gifts can motivate employees by creating a meaningful connection between them and their employer. Receiving a box of swag makes a happy moment in their day that may just be the necessary motivating factor.

We Like This Motivation Strategy:

It’s known that business productivity increases when employees are happy. So many fun options for customized swag make it exciting for everyone involved. 

Clear Communication Motivates Employees To Work Hard

Clear and effective communication skills are crucial in keeping employees focused and motivated. Employees appreciate honesty and transparency, especially if major changes might influence their job.

When the lines of communication are open, employees feel empowered and have an added sense of belonging, camaraderie, and responsibility. You can schedule communication-oriented meetings weekly or monthly to show you care about everyone’s opinions and employee feedback.

Sharing personal stories of each other’s successes and failures helps to build community and provides valuable lessons to everyone on the team. Be prepared to open the floor for all questions, concerns, and opinions with an open mind and intentional listening.

Lastly, make a considerable effort to show interest in employees' concerns. If they feel you’re committed to solving their problems, they’ll feel valued and more motivated to work hard.

Bottom Line

Learning how to effectively motivate your employees will empower them to work harder, strengthen the business, and promote loyalty within the company.

Not everyone is born a natural motivator, but if you make an effort to build solid relationships with all your employees, it’s a skill that can be developed over time.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, Hoist can help you with every step. 


U.S. Employee Engagement Data Hold Steady in First Half of 2021 | Gallup

2017 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Doors of Opportunity Are Open | SHRM

Recognizing Employees Is the Simplest Way to Improve Morale | Harvard Business Review

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