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5 ways to motivate your employees

Posted by Perceptive Insights Team - 26 November, 2014

5 ways to motivate your employees

When we’re talking about employee engagement, we’re referring to what keeps people happy at work, continually motivated and staying with a company, through thick and thin.

Motivation is that crucial factor that keeps people passionate about their work, and what drives a person to perform will be different for everyone. If you have motivated employees, they will naturally be more productive and this motivational aspect has the potential to go viral within the company. If your goal is to motivate your employees, your company has a greater chance of being successful.

Happy employees = happy customers

Don’t believe us? In the words of Sir Richard Branson: "Put your staff first, customers second, and shareholders third". He continues: "It should go without saying, if the person who works at your company is 100 percent proud of the brand and you give them the tools to do a good job and they are treated well, they're going to be happy."

And for Branson, it’s a no-brainer: Happy employees equal happy customers. Similarly, an unhappy employee can ruin the brand experience for multiple customers. 


Related content: The 10 Pillars of Employee Experience


Work no longer central

New research from the CIPD1 has found that just over a quarter (28%) of the employees surveyed feel that work is a central part of their lives. This, compared to almost half (48%) of employees when asked the same question in 2005. These figures suggest we’re seeking more from our working lives today and work is seemingly ceasing to be a source of fulfillment, rather it’s seen as a means to an end. Ergo, the inevitable question surfaces: How can we feel motivated by something we don’t nessecarily feel passionate about?

Fear not, there are ways to accomplish a satisfactory level of employee engagement. Here are five effective examples. Stay tuned for more!


1. Have clear vision

Inspire through a defined sense of purpose and vision. If you have a clear vision for your company and where you’re heading, share it with your employees. If it is to conquer the world in five years’ time or become the top rated company in your field nationally, do tell.

Storytelling is one of the most inspirational techniques that leaders can employ. So, find a way to tell the story of your company in a compelling way; starting by your history, the status quo and defining what your legacy should be - and how each employee can contribute to this exciting journey.


2. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

 …find out what it means to me (we couldn’t help ourselves). Without respect, even if people want to perform well, they can't, according to research by The Harvard Business Review2.

Their research shows that “no other leader behaviour had a bigger effect on employees […]. Being treated with respect was more important to employees than recognition and appreciation, communicating an inspiring vision, providing useful feedback — even opportunities for learning, growth, and development.”

Needless to say, respecting your employees and making them feel important and valued should be ingrained as a cornerstone of your operational strategy.


3. Excite and ignite

What excites you? We all have something we strive for and feel passionate about, whether that’s your family, that desirable boat, fluffy kittens - whatever it is - these can be used as workplace motivators. Finding out what the key driving forces are for your individual employees, means that you can focus on these and highlight them when speaking about the vision of your brand and encouraging your employees to get on board with new projects.

Tune in and listen attentively to what employees respond well to and what they speak passionately about. Here’s a hint, it’s usually not money! It could be something as simple as having the freedom to work flexibly to be able to focus on their family when needed.


4. "Great work!"

Encourage and reward good behaviour. No, we know this isn’t a doggy training boot camp but actually this technique works. Encouraging and inspiring people, instead of using fear as a driver, is a key motivator, and for the right reasons. Positive reinforcement promotes a positive working environment, and when people are appreciated and rewarded for their hard work, this encourages them to do more of the same. Also, it’s just a nicer way of telling people what they’re doing right or wrong. 


5. Lead by example

This one is a given but actually one that a lot of managers miss – believe it or not. Leading by example is key to keeping people motivated (seeing your boss slacking off or coming back late from lunch with a bunch of shopping bags, raving about the massive sale they just couldn’t miss out on – it has been known to happen – will not really keep your workers itching to get back into the office anytime soon).

If you want people to show up at 8 am and be fully committed to their work, you have to do the same, or ensure that senior leadership is. Being visible at work, talking to employees and making them feel important is something every business leader should aim for.

As you can see, findings suggest that business leaders should focus on finding innovative ways of matching the needs of their employees to those of the business, which will in turn increase employee engagement. Applying these strategies over the long-term and being persistent about enforcing them will pay off.


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1.The CIPD is the professional body for HR and people development in the United Kingdom. Research published in HR Review, November 2014.
2. As quoted in Inc.com.
3. Harvard Buisness Review Online, 19 November 2014. 

Topics: Customer Experience

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