4 Keys to Boost Employee Motivation

In the engine of business, motivation is the accelerator. It determines the energy with which your team tackles assigned tasks and their enthusiasm about generating solutions to obstacles that may arise during a project. If you want your team to approach their work with a high level of energy and excitement, then crafting a team culture where positive motivation thrives will be critical to achieving that goal.

Motivation is also a critical factor in employee retention. Team members who feel unappreciated, frustrated or like their work doesn’t matter often leave their job in favor of a new opportunity. In fact, a recent survey by McKinsey reported that the top two reasons employees leave a job are that they don’t feel valued by their manager or the company or don’t feel a sense of belonging at work.

Finding ways to positively motivate your team can improve retention as well as energizing the group to complete work and succeed. Here are four key strategies to boost employee motivation.

1. Communicate Goals and Priorities Clearly

If your team doesn’t understand and buy in to the goals or which tasks have priority, it’s much harder for them to do their jobs well and have confidence about their work. Explaining what you want them to do and why it’s important or how it serves the goals of the company or team helps them understand their role in the process. It also helps them understand the importance of the work they perform and makes them feel valued.

Make sure your team is notified when priorities change. Finding out that they’ve continued working on a project that was delayed rather than switching to a higher priority task generates frustration. Keeping your team informed as priorities change lets them know you value their time and effort.

2. Offer Flexibility Where You Can

Giving your employees freedom to make decisions about their work offers them autonomy and respect. For example, if an employee is frustrated about a procedure or struggling to complete a task, ask for their input. What could they do differently that would make this task easier to complete?

If there are ways to accommodate their ideas, do so. If not, try to find a satisfactory compromise.

As often as possible, let employees have input on how a task is accomplished. If you have team members who struggle to be alert first thing in the morning, try having at least some of your team meetings later in the morning or in the afternoons.

Prioritizing your team’s needs and making room for their creative problem-solving shows you value your team members and have confidence in their ability to achieve their goals. It gives them ownership of their work and instills a sense of pride in their role in the team.

3. Recognize a Job Well Done

This sounds easy, and it is! Also, it really works. Make an effort to call out the things your team members do well. Notice their effort and show appreciation. At KCC, we often refer to the chapter “Catch Them Doing Something Right” in The One Minute Manager…an old classic read in our opinion!

The most effective recognition is specific and notes the effect the behavior had on the team. First, state what the team member did. Then, explain how that impacted the team or a customer’s experience positively.

Regular positive feedback is one of the most effective ways to motivate your employees. It assures team members that their work is valued. Positive recognition also lets them know what you want them to keep doing and how you want them to do it. It allows your team to approach their tasks with confidence.

Having a hard time remembering to do this? Try putting a recurring reminder on your calendar. You can also make a point to being or end each team meeting by giving positive feedback to a couple people on the team.

4. Celebrate Success as a Team

Having a team culture that celebrates success and shares compliments with one another helps keep your team focused on your goals. It also creates an environment that invites cooperation rather than competition.

Easy ways to celebrate success could be as simple as having someone in the team congratulating a member who achieves a goal or milestone at a meeting. It could mean sending a small gift after the team has finished a project or reached a deadline. Feel free to experiment and find the experiences your team enjoys. You may also make a short list of celebration options and ask the team to vote on which one they would find most motivating.

Motivation: Critical to Employee Retention

One of the key failures of teams with low employee retention is often a lack of motivation and recognition. The good news is, that doesn’t have to be a difficult fix! Once you learn how powerful a tool good motivation can be, using it will seem like a no-brainer.

Check out our training session on Motivation, Recognition, and Retention to get the best tips and strategies to motivate your team and boost employee retention now.



Ingrid Kelada and the KCC Team

Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert