Employee Engagement ~ 15 min

How to Improve Employee Motivation in the Workplace

HR Team, People Experts, Sociabble
HR Team People Experts

Employee motivation is a hot topic. And motivated employees make the best employees—they’re engaged and productive. But how to improve motivation in the workplace isn’t always so clear. In this blog post, you’ll discover strategies and techniques to get your workforce motivated to perform at their very best.

Employee motivation seems like it ought to be an obvious subject, but it isn’t. In part, because every employee is different, and thus motivated by different factors, but also because times are changing, and what employees are generally looking for from their jobs and companies has shifted drastically in just the last few years.

Here, we’ll discuss the nature of employee motivation, and explain simple steps you can take to increase motivation at your company and reap the rewards.

Why is employee motivation important?

Motivated employees miss less work, perform their tasks more efficiently, are more likely to be loyal to one company, and rise in the ranks.

Specifically, they:

  • Lower absenteeism
  • Create a good work environment
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Improve employee efficiency & work productivity
  • Improve the quality of customer service & client satisfaction
  • Increase employee retention & reduce employee turnover
  • Build a good brand reputation

In short, they enhance the overall profile and performance of a business. Yet according to a SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, only 68 percent of employees felt they were consistently putting in all of their effort into their work.

If, as a supervisor, you’ve tried a variety of incentives but are still seeing the negative side effects of low motivation, you’re not alone. Sometimes even the best managers have to think outside of the box to find creative and reliable ways to motivate their employees.

What is employee motivation?

Good question. One could say that at its essence, employee motivation is the level of enthusiasm, commitment, involvement, and energy that an employee brings to their job at any given company. It’s a drive to put forth the necessary effort and action towards work-related activities.

In fact, motivation is derived from the Latin word for “movement,” and that’s a good way to think about it. It is a kinetic thing, and it relates directly to how much an employee is willing to donate of their own time, intelligence, and energy for the good of the company.

If they believe in the company and its mission, and if they feel appreciated and find their work compelling and meaningful, they are more likely to be motivated to do their very best and give it their all.

What is employee motivation

There are two primary theories of motivation that are often used by employers: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic Motivation: External influences that cause an employee to act toward fulfillment of a work task or goal (i.e. a reward).
Intrinsic Motivation: Motivation that comes from within an employee. You are intrinsically motivated to work when the work itself motivates you.

Intrinsic motivation is often more effective than extrinsic motivation, because it is not being imposed on the employee from an outside source.

How to improve the motivation of employees as a manager? 3 easy ways to boost employee motivation

As noted above, many managers struggle keeping employees motivated. After all, in many cases, you are paying someone to be at a place and to do work, when they’d rather be doing something else. It’s only natural.

What it comes down to, however, is inspiration—inspiring them to do and give more. And below are three ways to inspire self-motivation in your employees and the tools to aid in the process. Discover employee motivation techniques:

Incentivize and Recognize

One of the most important factors in employee motivation is how often their hard work is recognized.

70% of employees say their motivation and morale would improve ‘massively’ with recognition from managers.

If an employee continues to expend discretionary effort to produce exceptional results, and that effort isn’t recognized, don’t expect the same effort in the future.

It’s not just important to recognize great work—how you recognize your team’s contributions has a significant impact as well. Employee recognition isn’t just an annual bonus at the end of the year, it can come in a variety of forms.

Employees will remain at your company if they have a reason to do so. If you want to keep your productive employees motivated, it’s worth implementing an incentive program.

This can take the form of a quarterly bonus or even a commission structure that’s better than the competition’s structure. Another avenue to explore is picking up the expenses of additional credentials or licensing.

Incentives can take the form of profit-sharing in your company. If people know they’ll be rewarded for a job well done, they’ll be more likely to exceed expectations and to deliver on them consistently.

Software solutions like social selling make it easy for anyone in an organization—managers and employees alike— to identify and applaud high performance in sales and other related roles.

With social elements within the software, it’s easy for sales staff to share brand-approved messaging with clients, as well as monitor their personal performance dashboards.

This motivates an individual to remain accountable and hit performance benchmarks, ultimately driving value to your company’s bottom line.

With the Sociabble employee platform, for example, badges and awards can be given out automatically according to predetermined criteria, and its built-in praise feature allows peer-to-peer recognition, so it’s not only top-down.

Recognition employee motivation

Improve Visibility to motivate employees

Workplace software is not traditionally thought of as a motivational tool for employees. However, today’s software solutions, such as a human capital management system, were created specifically to improve the way your employees work, helping them become more successful.

These solutions can support teams and help to promote a feeling of overall accomplishment. For example, a task management tool can create a sense of achievement when teams or individuals have successfully completed a task or a project. When managers are able to actively track the progress on certain tasks, they are more likely to have confidence in their team.

HCM systems also have real-time visibility in reporting. This feature enables you to instantly track progress and to address needs efficiently. Although it’s nice to get a pat on the back at the end of a task or project, this alone doesn’t always motivate teams in accomplishing their goals.

Finally, when you use a collaborative software solution, you’re combining collaboration and the tools to supercharge the intrinsic motivation of every team member.

They can work together on tasks, collaborate on ideas, and share documents. Integrations allow for data connectivity, enabling teams to be more efficient in their processes.

For example, emails can alert a team member when a task is due or when someone has added to the conversation or workflow. Therefore, you’re never out of the loop.

These types of solutions help to streamline work, which enables team members to feel more effective and productive.

No matter if your employees are on-site or working remotely, tools that enable communication and collaboration can help them stay on track and remain a cohesive unit.

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Be Forward-Looking to motivate employees

A workforce filled with people eager to learn and develop is a sign a company hired well. Employees who are engaged in their jobs and careers want to know more about their company and industry and want to learn skills that will improve their performance.

Employers who want to harness the full value of their employees and foster loyalty and retention within the company will find training is a winning prospect for everyone involved.

Each employee contributes to an organization’s overall function. However, not everyone sees how this occurs. Employees with specific and limited responsibilities can easily begin to feel as though they are just a cog in the wheel and that their work may not be that important.

Training can help employees understand how their work fits into their company’s structure, mission, goals, and achievements. As a result, employees can become more excited and, in turn, motivated about their work, as they begin to understand how what they do matters to the overall success of the organization.

Employees are often more aware than their managers when their work, processes, or productivity could be better. In many cases, employees are missing the tools, education, or organization to achieve their potential.

To alleviate this, many companies are employing learning management solutions. Training, particularly for departments, workgroups, and teams, can help get things on track to improve work quality and outcomes. As a result, people feel happier in their work and more excited about the prospects of success. It also improve employee engagement.

Many workers join their organizations not just to secure a job but to develop a successful career. Opportunities for advancement are essential to employee retention and performance.

However, if these prospects exist only in theory, workers can become disenfranchised. Training helps employees realize their goals by giving them the education they need, not only to do their jobs better but to learn about new aspects of business and learn higher-level managerial skills they can use down the line.

Training is an investment employer’s make in their workforce. When companies offer training and education to their employees, they indicate they value their people and the contributions they make.

They also send a message that the organization values progress, both in organizational achievements as well in the careers of its people. Naturally, this creates attachment, loyalty, and enthusiasm among staff.

Improve Employee motivation

Employee motivation in the workplace is a common interest for supervisors and managers who are responsible for overseeing the work of other employees.

If you pay constant attention to these significant factors in motivation, you’ll succeed with motivated, excited, and more productive employees.

Tactical actions to be taken as a manager

When it comes to managers, there are unique steps they can take to additionally enhance the levels of motivation among employees.

By taking a tactical approach, and by incorporating these strategies, they can use their position of leadership to ensure that their workforce is motivated to perform at their best.

Improve overall communication with the team

Communication is a soft skill critical to strong management, and it’s absolutely crucial that workers feel like they have a direct line of two-way communication with their leaders.

This can be enhanced by digital tools. With Sociabble Enterprise Video, for example, team communication can be instantly improved via an easy-to-use video creation tool.

Employees and managers alike can edit and post videos to the platform with just a few clicks, even from a mobile device, which is critical for frontline workers.

And the feature’s real-time translation capabilities mean that language barriers can be instantly broken down, building team spirit and creating a sense of belonging.

enterprise video multi languages

Listen to your team

Communication can’t consist only of top-down messages. To stay motivated, employees need to feel like they’re heard. One way to do this is with surveys, another tool made easy with the built-in survey engine of the Sociabble platform.

By frequently taking the temperature of the employee mood, and gauging the levels of enthusiasm and employee engagement, you can easily see what gets employees motivated and what does not.

Employee motivation and surveys

Celebrate wins, even the small ones

Employees like positive feedback and recognition—so give it to them! Celebrate and acknowledge achievements and victories, even those that may seem relatively minor.

Adrian Gostick, co-author of the book Leading with Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results, discusses how former Ford Motor Co. chief executive officer Alan Mulally was able to use small wins to turn things around. “At the time, Ford was expected to lose $17 billion,” he says.

Mulally asked each member on his team to present a color-coded update of progress toward key goals.

On-track projects were green, yellow meant the initiative had issues, and red meant the program was behind schedule.

Every time the project progressed from red to yellow and yellow to green, each step forward was celebrated. It showed the team that it was expected to make progress.

Little things count. And even a badge system, like the one offered by Sociabble as part of its built-in employee recognition system, can make employees feel good about their accomplishments.

Give autonomy, empowerment, and accountability

Employees value their freedom to function, more so than many other aspects of their job, in most cases. Instead of thinking of ways to restrict autonomy, good managers seek out ways to increase and enhance it.

Yes, employees should be accountable for their results. But managers should be seeking ways to give more freedom and self-determination to their team members, whether it’s having more flexible work hours, better remote work options, or even a more generous vacation policy.

One way to increase this sense of individual empowerment is to give employees the means to praise and reward each other for a job well done, for example, with a peer-to-peer recognition program similar to Sociabble’s, which enables co-workers to acknowledge each other without top-down involvement.

Help them better understand the company’s goals

Employees are looking to work at organizations that share their values, and that want to have the same kinds of positive impact that they do.

A growing sense of social responsibility has emerged among the global workforce. And the experience of going through the pandemic has only heightened this response, making people eager to invest their time with a sense of purpose, for the common good.

With this in mind, communicate clearly what your company’s actual and measurable goals are. And the good news is that digital tools can make this easy. With Sociabble’s video chat and Live events features, CEO’s can easily hold town halls and address the entire company to lay out their vision for the future.

Make sure employees understand clients’ needs

Satisfied clients generally mean satisfied employees. Relationships are better, interactions less stressful, and last-minute fire drills can often be avoided thanks to strong communication.

And when employees are motivated, they’re also more inclined to be attentive to client needs and address them in a timely and effective fashion.

One way to keep this chain of client-related communication alive is via a dedicated channel to client feedback and product improvement, which is easy to set up with a themed channel option like you’ll find with Sociabble.

Improve the quality of life

For employees, this can mean ensuring that they have the resources they need to feel healthy, both mentally and physically. As shown by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, if basic human conditions like safety, health, and a sense of fairness aren’t met, then it’s difficult to achieve higher goals and ambitions.

This is even more important following the pandemic, when unusual stresses and situations have made coping challenging in many cases.

Again, simple surveys, like those offered by Sociabble thanks to its survey engine, can help you keep tabs and gauge team members’ level of comfort and happiness at the workplace, which will in turn motivate them as conditions are improved and problems addressed.

Give employees a means to grow

Talent retention has been a challenge following “The Great Resignation” that occurred during the pandemic, and in order to keep employees satisfied with where they are, you have to provide them with the certainty that they can grow within their role and beyond.

A recent study by Better Buys found that employees who are given professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged and have a 34% higher retention rate than those who are not.

Sociabble, for example, makes it possible to create communication channels dedicated to this kind of theme. Internal job offers can be viewed by all employees, as the platform is accessible via desktop and mobile.

This also applies to training courses, as they can be promoted to specific audiences, depending on the needs and skills to be developed for the role.

How Sociabble can help with employee motivation in the workplace

You want to know how to use employee engagement to increase motivation?

Sociabble is an Employee Communication, Employee Advocacy, and Social Selling solution designed to help companies create a workforce that’s informed, engaged, and influential.

In short: it gives you the digital tools you need to accomplish everything that was described above.

Through an online platform and mobile app, it empowers employees to get the crucial information they need, as well as become brand ambassadors online.

We work with industry leaders like Coca-Cola CCEP, Group Renault, Primark, and L’Occitane, improving communication and motivation among their workforce. You can sign up here for a free Sociabble demo.

Schedule your demo

Want to see Sociabble in action?

Our experts will answer your questions and guide you through a platform demo.