Motivating Employees: 5 Easy Ways

Today’s workplace can be a slippery slope when it comes to getting the most from each employee. As leaders, we want each and every member of the team to work to their full potential, and we want them engaged in the results of their efforts. Motivating employees today takes leaders that are, first and foremost, self-aware and conscious of how they impact the people within their sphere of influence. In order to motivate others, a great leader must be vulnerable enough to have an authentic connection to their team members, charismatic enough to engage them, and humble enough to realize that true leadership often involves helping team members reach individual goals.

According to national research done just last year by Dale Carnegie Training, out of 1500 employees:

  • If an employee felt “very dissatisfied” with an immediate supervisor, there was an 80% chance that they were “disengaged” from their work
  • When surveyed, 69% of disengaged employees quit for even a 5% pay increase. 
  • Of employees who have confidence in their Senior Leadership, 61% are fully engaged.

Disengaged employees are not motivated to move toward success. That means HR and upper level managers need to be asking some pretty serious questions, along the lines of

  1. Are we choosing the wrong people for management?
  2. Are we choosing the right people but not giving them the right motivational training?
  3. Are we losing employee motivation by continually asking them to do more with less?
  4. Are we creating less productive, more anxious and more stressed employees through layoffs, benefit cuts, or various other company dynamics?

Clearly, there are no quick-fix solutions to motivating employees.  Truly motivated teams require planning, an unwavering commitment to change and the flexibility to engage employees around the team’s goals.  An employee’s relationship with his or her direct manager is the single most important factor influencing motivational levels. The responsibility to improve engagement and motivational levels in all employees falls squarely on the shoulders of our leaders.

RELATED: What Really Motivates Employees?

Get started motivating employees, here are some things leaders can do to inspire engagement.

5 Easy Ways:

  1. The Golden Rule –  The age-old adage of treating people in the way you’d like to be treated may be basic, but it’s a great motivator. It shows you respect your employees as individuals, and for the job they do.  This is motivational in that it validates employees and their work as truly valuable. With the right kind of genuine validation and feedback, your team will reward you with more of that great work.
  2. Actively Listen – This may be the hardest one of all for leaders who are used to telling team members what they need to do. Active listening involves paraphrasing what your team member may have said to you, right back to them.  Another element of motivational active listening is to ask really good, open-ended questions and truly listen to the answers. This is motivational when employees bring up questions or concerns. It reinforces that they can affect their workplace in a positive way.
  3. Take a genuine interest in the future path of an employee’s career and of them personally– Your employee’s attitude will skyrocket when they believe you really care about them and where their career is headed. Mentoring, coaching, suggesting additional training or coursework –  all of these can be helpful to employees, and highly motivational.
  4. Be aware of the importance of a work-life balance – When an employee feels like their leader “has their back” with regard to the ever-present modern challenges of balancing work and outside commitments, it can go a long way toward motivation.  Small gestures often make a big difference.
  5. Align individual economic interests with company performance – This does take more doing at the highest management levels than the rest.   Incentive compensation programs that give employees at all levels of an organization a chance to benefit when a company prospers… can naturally boost motivation and engagement.

How do your leaders motivate employees?

Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.