Tips for employee motivation

Put yourself in your employee's shoes. The new job honeymoon is over, sticky notes are everywhere and the enthusiasm for the day rarely lasts beyond the first cup of coffee. It's not your fault, but it's certainly your problem.

Growing to-do lists, workplace stress and the perpetual ticking of the office clock can all require the need for employer intervention, especially if productivity is falling. If you're wondering how you can reignite that all but extinguished workplace spark, read our handy tips for employee motivation. 


Employee empowerment may be a phrase that evokes images of revolution (and unfortunately Russell Brand) but delegating responsibility to workers could be the catalyst that injects some life back into the office. 

Staff need to feel some ownership in order to perform at their best. If you have zero influence over your job, workplace or company, how can you possibly remain motivated? Assigning authority and responsibility to others will not only imply trust, but can also lead to autonomous employees who take pride in the positive impact they're having on the business.

Acknowledge and reward

Okay, so rewards for good work might give rise to classroom flashbacks, but our affection for gold stars and public recognition doesn't diminish as we learn to knot a tie. Happy employees need to feel valued and whether it's for a one-off project or consistent performance, rewards offer the most tangible representation of your appreciation.

Unfortunately, rewards can often cause a strain on the company purse strings but money certainly isn't everything when trying to motivate a workforce.

The majority of workers respond to an innate drive and no amount of pennies (unless they're chocolate of course) will lead to an increase in productivity. It's usually the little gestures that make the biggest difference and gift cards, food or public praise can all result in motivation on an individual or team wide level. 

Encourage learning

Knowledge is power and power leads to a happier and more motivated team (supposedly). 70% of learning is considered informal (unstructured, day to day) and employers should constantly be encouraging staff to build their skills and understanding away from conventional training. 

We all take pride in being considered an 'expert' and developing a new portfolio of expertise can re-energise those who are slowly making the transition to 9-to-5 zombie. Allowing staff to take some time back for personal growth may slow down the occasional project in the short term, but could eventually lead to a more skilled and effective team of workers in the future. 

Be inclusive

From the work experience tea slave to your band of trusted managers, there's perhaps nothing more key to a motivated workforce than ensuring that everyone is equally involved and valued. The nature of business tends to mean that the big decisions remain at the top and this can often leave a feeling of detachment lower down the chain. 

Now I'm not for one moment suggesting that you hand the keys over to your latest graduate recruit, but giving everyone a voice will create a culture of inclusion. Opening a platform whereby opinions can be openly discussed (without repercussion.) will unify the company and enable even the least authoritative employees to feel like an important cog in the machine. Rotating jobs can also create a similar environment, but might not be practical for many companies. 

Promote creativity

Creativity sets you apart from competitors and you'll be surprised at just what can be achieved when you give staff the freedom to express ideas. Admittedly, not everyone has the capability to conceive the latest Dragon's Den sensation, but the answers to some of your own challenges might just lie betwixt the ears of your employees. 

Designating the occasional hour or afternoon to bouncing thoughts around might feel unproductive on the surface, but could go a long way to fostering happy and motivated staff.

Brainstorms are the classic way of provoking the flow of ideas, but encouraging private or anonymous suggestions might prove to be effective for the more introverted of workers.

Instilling an ideology of innovation and openness can take time, however engaged staff are not only more productive, but are also more likely to take the company into directions that you had never even considered. 

There's no set formula for motivation and you'll soon find that not one initiative will result in a 100% success rate. Whether it's money, responsibility or just simple praise, we're all driven by different factors and it's the job of the employer (who should always be leading by example) to learn exactly what will get the most out of their staff. Discovering this can take time, but our motivation tips should give you some ideas that are easy to implement and potentially highly effective.