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How to Keep Your Employees Motivated

Not much is worse than having to work without being motivated. Many managers and leaders put in large amounts of effort in order to motivate their staff. But once you’ve got them motivated, how do you keep that fire going?

A motivated team is more productive, engaged, and committed to achieving the goals of the business. However, keeping employees motivated is not always easy.

As a manager, you know that you won’t be perfect. But, there are specific ways to ensure that your team will be  motivated at your company. The goal is to help your company keep good employees around for the long term. You also want those employees to care about your company and its objectives.

So what are some of the best ways to do that? Let’s look at the different avenues you can take to keep your team thriving and happy while working for your business. These are some simple yet meaningful ways to bring your employees together and keep them motivated to do inspired work.


1. Be Transparent

There is nothing more important than trust between you and your team. It takes a long time to build trust, but only one instant to destroy it. Building trust takes openness and transparency of your expectations, critical feedback, and being upfront about what the position entails from the start. No one likes to be told one thing about the responsibilities of their role to find out later that it is something completely different. If trust is shakey from the start and not on a solid foundation, it is even more difficult for employees to want to go above and beyond for your company.

It is essential to show transparency in your role and what is expected of them from the start. Some good employees may begin to become apathetic if they feel like there is poor communication in the workplace. Not only will this avoid future distrust issues that could arise, but it can also save you from losing out on a good employee because they couldn’t trust your word.


2. Be Understanding of the Work/Life Balance

Life happens to all of us. There was a time when one parent handled the household while the other worked. This isn’t the reality that we face anymore. This is significantly more true now that the balance between someone’s home-life and work life is a priority now more than ever.

Kids get sick, a family emergency takes place, or someone on your team gets ill. Those things are part of life. When you don’t accommodate these issues your team members may find another company more understanding of their circumstances.


3. Recognize Those Who Go Above and Beyond

Different initiatives such as “Employee of the Month,” service awards, or honoring an “Employee of the Year” can be unique ways to highlight your employees throughout the year. In a small business, you can give all the employees an extra monetary bonus for their dedication and hard work through the years.

Lack of recognition can cause good employees to stop caring about their jobs. Acknowledging your employees ensures that everyone is equal in your company’s success and plays a role in keeping it thriving. All recognition does not need to be monetary, however. There are several non-financial ways to reward and recognize your employees.


4. Be Open to Constructive Criticism From Your Team

Transparency needs to be an unlocked door from both sides. Many famous entrepreneurs like to hear constructive criticism from their teams because it offers some of the best insights into improving their companies. Shows like “Undercover Boss” are a great example of this. On the show, CEOs went undercover to learn from their employees how the company could improve upon what it does and be better for everyone.

Asking for constructive feedback can help you improve in ways you don’t always see. This will also let your employees know that you value their opinion and strive to be better because of their feedback and recommendations.


5. Give Them a Worthwhile Goal or Project

Most employees like to be a part of the overall mission and betterment of a company. Giving a team project or setting up attainable bonus goals for your team is a strong incentive to entice your employees to deliver results. Bonus goals can be a great way to get your employees motivated to start and finish a project within a specific time.

The most important aspect to remember is to make them measurable and reachable based on the individuals and their roles. You also want to ensure that it’s not more accessible for some to accomplish and harder for others to finish. Fairness is essential here.


6. Encourage Friendly Workplace Competitions

Some friendly competition can bring some excitement and fun into a workplace. In the right context, a competition of some kind can add create motivation and drive for the whole team. Games like workplace bingo, a costume contest, or a team trivia game are easy to implement but help inject some variety into a workweek.

To get you started, here are a few things to consider when encouraging workplace competition. 

  • Set clear goals and rules for the competition to avoid misunderstandings and ensure fairness.
  • Create teams or pair individuals to foster collaboration and build camaraderie.
  • Choose a competition format that fits your company culture and values.
  • Offer meaningful rewards, such as recognition or small prizes, to incentivize participation and effort.
  • Celebrate and recognize the winners and participants.
  • Keep it fun and light-hearted to avoid creating negative or toxic competition.
  • Regardless of the outcome, reward everyone who participates with something.


7. Remember the Little Things About Your Team

When you have large teams, this may be difficult; however, doing so with those who report to you directly can inspire them to do the same thing to those under their supervision. Taking time to have lunch brought in for their birthday (in a safe manner, of course) or having the team sign a birthday card for them can go a long way and motivate them in a manner they will remember. 

Even asking about their families’ well-being and their lives outside of work are meaningful yet straightforward gestures. It shows how much you care about them as an employee and person.


8. Build a Work Family

It is much easier to build a business and a career when you are surrounded by people you care about. While the people you work with can never replace or be a substitute for a real family, building a work family can keep a team involved and engaged. A family shares responsibilities but also shares good times.

Try to find ways to have fun and interesting work events that can help build camaraderie. Hosting a ZOOM or Google Meets conference call for non-work-related activities to bring people together can be used by companies temporarily working remotely or those that have gone entirely to remote workers.


9. Share Some Motivational Insight 

One thing that my manager did was share his favorite quotes with us. He would save them over time, compile the list and email them to his team to reflect on and choose our favorite. We would all share which one we liked and why we liked it. You have to learn more about your coworkers, how they think, and what matters to them in the workplace and in life. It’s a great practice and one that will always stick with me.


10. Encourage Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition involves employees acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and achievements of their colleagues. When employees receive recognition from their peers, it can boost their morale. It can also give employees a motivational boost.

Employees may feel like it is management’s job to recognize them. However, when a colleague recognizes them for their work, it tends to motivate them to continue contributing to the team. You can implement a peer-to-peer recognition program easily by placing a recognition box in the office. You can also ask employees every month whom they think deserves recognition. 


This article was first published in April 2021 but has been updated and expanded

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Summer Anderson
Staff Writer: Summer Anderson is a mother, wife, writer and long time lover of the game of golf. Her passion lies in writing from the heart, and on topics that are most important to the Millennial generation. She hopes to impact those through her writing and advice on marketing and social media communication. When she is not on the golf course, blogging or watching "Frozen" with her little ones, she can be found designing websites in her home state of Pennsylvania.

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Entrepreneurial Lifestyle · Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Leading Your Team · Productivity · Sales · Your Mindset

Staff Writer: Summer Anderson is a mother, wife, writer and long time lover of the game of golf. Her passion lies in writing from the heart, and on topics that are most important to the Millennial generation. She hopes to impact those through her writing and advice on marketing and social media communication. When she is not on the golf course, blogging or watching "Frozen" with her little ones, she can be found designing websites in her home state of Pennsylvania.

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