in Employee Engagement & Satisfaction — 8 min read

Jump to Motivation Infographic

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run. If your employees are unmotivated, they’re not going to be able to create, innovate, and achieve the type of results you’re after. 

According to 30 percent of executives, motivating employees is the hardest part of their job. If you’re part of this 30 percent, keep reading. Outlined below is everything you need to know about helping your employees to feel and stay motivated.

Why Does Motivation Matter?

When employees are motivated, the morale of the entire company improves. Improvements in morale and attitude about the business, in turn, can increase productivity and boost performance across the board. 

Employees who are happier, more productive, and performing to the best of their abilities help to boost the company’s bottom line and increase revenues. It’s a win-win for everyone.  

Cost of Disengaged Employees

Keep in mind, too, that disengaged employees can also cost the company a lot of money. On average, employees waste about two hours of every workday. Unmotivated employees also cost the economy approximately $300 billion each year.

Think of how much money your business could be losing because your employees are unmotivated and disengaged. By taking steps to increase their motivation, you can minimize time-wasting and ensure that every hour is maximized.

Science and Data Behind What Really Motivates People

Okay, you can see why motivation matters. It’s important to also understand, though, what science says about how people actually get motivated to do more and better work. 

Lots of leaders use the “carrot and stick” approach to motivating their employees. They blend rewards and punishments to keep people moving forward and ensure they’re getting things done. 

This method does work for simple, straightforward tasks. When it comes to those that require creative thinking, though, it’s far less effective. 

Research shows that people are far more motivated by things like autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Money can be a good motivator, but the increase in pay or the bonus offered needs to be significant. 

According to the latest data, 67 percent of workers are the most motivated by praise from their superiors. Sixty-three percent said that attention from leaders was the greatest motivator, and 62 percent said they’re most motivated by increases in responsibility. 

Approximately 60 percent of employees are motivated by cash bonuses, and 52 percent are motivated by pay raises. Stock options are only motivating to 35 percent of employees.  

How to Motivate Employees in 6 Easy Steps

Now, let’s get down to business. What can you do to motivate your employees? Start with these six steps:

1. More Praise

Praise is free, and it goes a long way when it comes to motivating your employees. After all, everyone wants to be recognized when they do good work, don’t they? 

Recognition from a superior is especially valuable and means a lot to employees. When someone does something well or completes a project, congratulate them for it. 

If you have a hard time keeping track of employees’ progress, use Weekdone to monitor their status. That way, you can give specific feedback for the plans they’ve completed. This is far more valuable than a casual “Good job” tossed out at the end of the workday.  

2. More Attention

A mere 40 percent of employees are well-informed about the strategies, goals, and tactics of their employer. If your employees don’t know what they should be aiming for, how can you expect them to accomplish it?

One way to keep your team in the loop is to offer more attention, particularly in the form of 1:1 meetings. These meetings allow you to set clear expectations, address potential points of confusion, and help employees set individual goals that help them move the needle forward toward meeting the company’s goals. 

3. More Responsibility

Research shows that the more challenging a project is, the prouder people feel after it’s accomplished. When your employees feel proud of the work they’ve done, there’s also a greater chance that they’ll feel motivated to continue doing good work in the future. 

Give employees more responsibility and allow them an opportunity to rise to the occasion. Give them the freedom to make decisions, and provide space for them to make suggestions, too. When you loosen the reins a little and make it clear that you trust them, you’ll be surprised at the ways in which your employees step up to the plate.

4. Better Bonuses

A properly structured incentive program has been shown to increase employee performance by up to 44 percent. Offering employees more significant bonuses can boost their motivation and encourage them to go above and beyond toward accomplishing the company’s goals. 

Make sure the bonuses you offer stand out from regular pay and set goals that are realistic and that your employees can accomplish. Don’t make the bar for receiving a bonus so difficult to reach that no one even tries to clear it. 

5. Pay Raises

In addition to offering bonuses, you might want to consider increasing your employees’ pay. Offering more money can reinvigorate an unmotivated employee and show them that their work is valued. 

When increasing pay, make sure that it correlates with the employee’s results and development since they started their job. Sit down and talk to them beforehand, too, about the amount and the terms of their pay raise (will they be taking on more responsibility, for example?). 

Keep in mind, too, that in general, pay should increase by at least 10 percent to make a difference to employees.     

6. Use Weekdone

Performance management tools like Weekdone are a must if you want to keep your employees motivated. 

Weekdone uses OKRs (which stands for Objectives and Key Results) and makes it easy for you to track progress of you company's quarterly goals. It also allows you to provide transparent feedback and lets your team members set weekly plans to drive your goals forward.

Start Motivating Your Employees Today

At first, figuring out how to motivate employees might seem like a daunting task. If you keep this information in mind, though, you’ll have an easier time keeping your employees engaged and helping them to put their best foot forward. 

Motivation Infographic

How to motivate people at work