19 Ways To Increase Staff Motivation at Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 September 2021

Increasing employee motivation at work is one of the most important things you can do as a manager. Motivated employees are happier, which inevitably leads to a rise in productivity and better work. You can improve motivation in your office by creating an encouraging environment where staff feel invested and driven to do their best work. In this article, we discuss why motivation is vital for a happy and productive workplace and give our top 19 tips on how to increase it.

Why is motivation at work important?

Staff that feel motivated at work are more likely to put more effort into their work. Ensuring that your team feels motivated is also an important aspect of employee retention, as motivated employees tend to stay in roles longer than those who are simply doing their jobs. By fostering an encouraging, supportive and creative environment that allows your team to flourish collectively and as individuals, you can enjoy a happier and more relaxed workplace while delivering better results for your company.

19 ways to increase staff motivation

Factors such as the size of the company and the department, your budget and the personalities and working styles of your team members determine the best ways to keep your staff motivated. Here are our 19 suggestions for how to increase motivation in your workplace:

1. Create a positive working environment

One of the easiest ways to improve motivation at work is to make work a pleasant place to be. This could include simple things like adding plants and making sure your workspace has plenty of natural light. You may even consider reorganising your work environment entirely. Some managers find that open-plan offices encourage an open and collaborative working style.

2. Provide employee recognition

By recognising your team's achievements and improvements, you can show them that you appreciate and value them. This doesn't have to be a complex or even formal system. It could be as simple as writing short thank you cards or even just sending a personal email when an employee does something well.

3. Establish realistic, meaningful goals

Employees who are working towards a clear goal, either individually or as a team, are more likely to feel driven and work harder to achieve it. It's important that your team understand the goal and where it fits into the company's strategy as a whole. However, staff can easily become demotivated if they feel like they're working towards something impossible—so make sure the goal is realistic.

4. Encourage employee involvement

Get teams involved in developing projects, planning budgets or setting company objectives. This shows them that you value their idea, and you appreciate their work. It also helps employees to understand the overall aims of the company and how they are contributing to them.

5. Offer bonus incentives

Bonus schemes offer monetary rewards for exemplary performance or meeting specific goals. You could award bonuses on an annual, bi-annual or quarterly basis. Make sure that your team understand what they need to do to receive a bonus and how they can work to achieve these goals.

6. Set up a points system

Similarly, you could set up a points system where employees can earn points for achieving certain goals or hitting targets. This works best when there is a tangible reward to work towards. For example, you could offer a free day off or a gift card of their choice to the employee who earns the most points in a month or quarter.

7. Foster open communication

Encouraging open and honest communication between staff, team leaders and management ensures that each member of staff feels valued and trusted. It's important that employees feel they can trust their managers so that they feel comfortable coming to them with any problems. This, in turn, allows management to deal with any potential issues before they become disruptive.

Related: Types of Communicators at Work (and How to Deal With Them)

8. Consider flexible working

Many employees benefit from working flexible hours instead of the traditional nine-to-five pattern. Allowing staff to work the hours they choose where possible helps them to organise work around their other responsibilities. Also, not everyone gets their best work done at the same time of day. For example, if someone works better in the evening than in the morning, it makes sense to allow them to start and finish work later.

9. Make time for socialising

Allowing staff to connect with each other in non-work settings can help them to work better together in the long run. Look for simple ways to encourage socialising, such as setting aside a day every week for team lunches. You could also set up a team social media page to encourage staff to interact with each other or plan regular social events away from the office.

10. Provide opportunities for development

Opportunities for professional development that allow employees to hone useful skills have a lasting effect on employee motivation and performance. Start by asking your staff which elements of their job they're comfortable with and which they're less sure about. That way, you can make sure the training you provide is meaningful and valuable.

11. Offer fair compensation

Employees that feel valued are likely to work harder and more productively. To make sure you are paying your team fairly, research average salaries for roles within your industry. Providing opportunities for advancement, for example, as an employee gains experience or earns a new qualification, is also crucial for employee retention.

Related: How to Ask for a Pay Rise (With Script Examples)

12. Create healthy competition

There are many ways to create competition in the workplace, such as implementing a points system as described above. Another way to encourage healthy competition is to organise external team-building events, where your team works together to achieve a goal that isn't related to work. Healthy competition can foster an engaged and enthusiastic team.

13. Provide opportunities for mentoring

Setting up a system in which more experienced team members can mentor new hires can be extremely beneficial to both parties. For new staff, the ability to learn from someone who has been at the company a long time is invaluable in allowing them to understand the processes, goals and ethos of the company. Meanwhile, staff who are asked to mentor others feel that their work, skills and experience are appreciated.

14. Promote workplace wellness

Workplace wellness could mean a number of things. For example, you could create an area where staff can walk around or exercise. If your company provides internal catering, look into what healthy options you could provide. Listen to staff about how they work best. Some people may prefer to work at standing desks or to use exercise balls instead of chairs, for example.

15. Encourage autonomy

Your employees want to feel that you trust them to do their work. Work with your team to figure out what works best for everyone. For example, some people may prefer to check in with their manager at the beginning of the day to discuss what they'll be working on and any problems, while others may be able to work autonomously with one weekly meeting to make sure they're on the right track.

Related: Laissez-Faire Leadership: Definition, Tips and Examples

16. Allow home or hybrid working

Along with allowing staff to better fit work around their other commitments, working from home occasionally allows staff to focus on tasks that need their full attention and may be more difficult in the office. Showing flexibility on the issue by allowing at least partial home working shows employees you trust them, which leads to better employee engagement.

Related: How to Stay Focused When You Work From Home

17. Create traditions

Creating traditions within a workplace boosts morale and can lead to more motivated and ultimately harder-working employees. This could mean celebrating holidays with an office party or team-building event. Smaller traditions like dress-down Fridays or ordering lunch once a week can also increase employee motivation.

18. Encourage creativity

Show your team that you value their thoughts by organising regular brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas for the company. Allow your staff to lead these discussions and resist the temptation to step in even if you think you know better. While fostering a creative environment, your team might have some great ideas for improving the company's performance.

19. Ask your team what they want

Something that increases motivation for one person might not work for someone else. For example, while some people thrive in environments where they are encouraged to compete against their peers for points or bonuses, others may find this overwhelming. If you're not sure about the best way to motivate your team, just ask them. You could send out a survey or just meet with team members individually to ask their opinion. Just make sure your team knows that there are no wrong answers, and that what works for someone else might not be the best solution for them.