15 Ideas to Increase Motivation in the Workplace

Teemu Puuska

Co-Founder @Evergreen

Employee motivation – seems like a simple concept, right? It's defined as the level of energy, persistence, creativity, and commitment that your workers are bringing to their job, day in and day out. It makes sense that when employees are more motivated, it results in more productivity and engagement.

Because of this, it makes sense that motivating employees is now a top priority for most businesses.

The Importance of Employee Motivation in the Workplace

Employee motivation and employee engagement are closely connected. Usually, better employee engagement means higher productivity levels.

If you are the leader or manager in an organization, continually trying to motivate employees is likely a top priority.

This is especially important since up to 70% of employees in the country aren't working up to their full potential.


Less engaged employees aren't as emotionally connected to the business. They don't feel a sense of pride working for the company, don't always share its values, and don't act as brand ambassadors.

Consider these statistics:

  • 69% of employees stated they would work harder if they were better appreciated.
  • Companies with high levels of employee engagement are up to 21% more profitable.
  • Highly engaged workforces see absenteeism that is 41% lower than less engaged workforces.
  • Developing a strong company culture helps increase revenue by up to four times.

These statistics alone make a case for taking steps to improve employee motivation and employee recognition in your company.

If your employees feel disengaged or if they are unhappy while at work, they won't innovate or take a proactive approach to help grow the business. That's because they don't feel involved with it. The key is to ensure everyone is onboard and dedicated to your mission to help take your business to the next level.

How to Improve Workplace Motivation

Now that you know what it is and why it is important, it's time to learn how to improve motivation in your company.

1. Maintain a Positive Attitude

You know the dilemma of the carrot and the stick, right? Which one do you give your team? Do you focus on the negative (the stick) or the positive (the carrot)?

If you want to improve workplace motivation, use positive reinforcement as much as you can. While there may come a time when bad results or results have to be brought to attention, in most cases, you will always attract more flies with honey.

2. Reconsider Your Workplace "Theme"

Have you ever heard of color psychology? In your workplace, it creates a theme and plays a huge role in overall employee motivation.

Specific colors will encourage motivation while helping your team achieve a more optimistic attitude. Due to this, you may see some of the same colors in different workplaces. Yellow and blue are specifically known for helping people be more creative, while darker colors are usually related to laziness or boredom.

3. Recognize Employees Who Do a Good Job

Recognizing your employees is a great source of motivation. While some HR professionals and managers may be unsure about using recognition programs, there are a few reasons they are a good idea.

First of all, recognition helps create an emotional connection between employee and employer, which is essential for employee engagement. It also helps to meet the worker's needs of belonging to the group and esteem.

Failing to recognize your employees for the work they do is a huge mistake. In fact, according to one study, 79% of respondents stated that rewards and recognition encouraged them to work even harder.

One of the best parts of recognizing your employees is that you can do it for a relatively low cost. You can create a formalized program or just send out a handwritten note or email to all team members calling out those who really "shined" for that week or period.

Remember, too, that not all employees want recognition in the same way. Some are fine with an email, while others want a more public display. It's up to leaders to figure this out. Taking time to know your team will help you figure out what type of recognition they respond to, which will help you learn to motivate them better.

4. Set Smaller, Measurable Goals

Everyone has dealt with projects that seemed to drag on and on and never come to an end. It can be quite demoralizing to get stuck in a rut, which is why seeing the visible progress you have made feels good. It's also a clear indication the work is making a difference and serves as a source of motivation for your team.

Setting clear and achievable goals provides a huge boost of motivation every time you conquer one. It also helps to keep your entire team on track. You can make these effects even more significant by taking the next step and making sure to celebrate the achievements made.

5. Choose the Right Leaders

The right people must be found to lead employees. Quality leaders will have the almost natural ability to engage and motivate their people.

Some of the things that employees don't want in leaders include:

  • Not recognizing achievements
  • Not asking about employees' lives and interests beyond work
  • Not providing clear directions
  • Not speaking to people on the phone or in-person
  • Not having time to meet with team members
  • Not knowing worker's names
  • Refusing to have conversations with subordinates
  • Not providing constructive criticism

Companies need to take time to ensure the right people are in leadership positions for the best results.

6. Make the Purpose of the Work Being Done Clear

No one is interested in working without reason.

Taking time to lay out the purpose of your team's work helps them understand the impact it has on your company and clients. It also helps to make your team feel like they are making a difference and goes a long way in helping them stay motivated.

7. The Office Layout

Did you know that simply modifying or changing the wall design or placement of furniture can serve as motivation in the workplace? The entire idea of the modern workplace is all about diversity and bringing that into the office. That's why so many workplaces are searching for new ways to improve the layout and, as a result, improve productivity.

For example, when your office layout is optimized, it will support a diverse group of workers while instilling productivity. For example, some people may want a quiet corner to handle their work, while others want to work close to their team. Creating workspaces that offer both ensures that every employee has what they need to achieve optimal productivity levels.

Another way to help create separate work areas is with pods. These can be more effective than separate rooms, which completely close off workers from one another.

8. Take the Business Culture Virtual

It doesn't matter if your team is completely remote or not; there's a good chance a lot of collaboration occurs virtually. Because of this, it makes sense that your core values and culture extend into the virtual realm.

While the idea of taking your company culture virtual to help support your modern workforce makes sense, trying to accomplish this may be somewhat confusing. It's a good idea to find a tech partner that can help with this. Regardless of how you do it, and which great software or tools you use, going virtual with these aspects of your business is a must to ensure all employees – even remote ones – are properly motivated.

For example, you can use Café, a tool that offers new ways to schedule real-life interactions across teams to improve connectivity in three ways and keep your team thriving.

9. Celebrate Results

One of the biggest parts of setting (and meeting) small and measurable goals (discussed above) is that it allows you to celebrate all the hard work your team is doing.

Celebrating results doesn't mean you need to give your team a standing ovation every time they get to work on time. Still, it is important to let everyone know how much and exactly how their contributions are helping the company grow and move forward.

Make sure you are specific when it comes to your applause. Don't just say "good work." Don't just stop with "great work on the email marketing." Instead, applaud your team's success and, as you do this, tie in what they have done to the "bigger picture."

10. Provide Coaching for Your Management Teams

Investing in ongoing management coaching and development is needed to help maintain high levels of motivation. Keep in mind that the workforce is going to be continually changing and evolving. Because of this, your employees' characteristics and motivational factors will change, too.

11. Avoid Micromanaging Your Employees

If your goal is to increase motivation, make sure you aren't micromanaging your workers. Instead, provide them with the assignment and deadline, then let them go. By doing this, your employees will have the freedom to get work done when they have the highest motivation levels.

For some people, getting work done earlier in the day is best. However, for others, it's the end of the day. You may have some people who are most motivated on the weekend or overnight.

Allowing our team to decide how and when they will work creates a foundation for motivation, efficiency, and productivity.

12. Provide the Right Equipment and Accessories

Have you heard the term "productivity gadgets?" While it may sound like something new, having the right equipment and accessories for your team is a huge part of their motivation to do their job. Some of the items you should provide include:

You may also need other equipment and accessories based on what your business does. Be sure to provide these things to your team for the best results.

13. Provide Some Company Swag

Have you ever wondered why sports teams tend to wear matching uniforms?

In the past, it could be to signal who was on the team. However, today, matching attire shows cooperation, identity, and unity.

When team members match, they know they are working together to reach a common goal.

You can create this same sense of solidarity by providing your team with matching swag. When your team looks like a team, they will act more like a team, which will increase motivation.

14. Provide Fuel

It's difficult for anyone to stay focused on what they are doing if they become "hangry." That's why you need to ensure your team is hydrated, fed, and (in many cases) well-caffeinated.

Some employees get so focused on their work; they don't even take time for lunch. This isn't good for their health or your business productivity. Make sure you keep healthy snacks around the office, which will help ensure everyone has proper energy levels throughout their workday.

15. Encourage Fun

While not all projects are fun, it's important to find some fun in every task.

When the not-so-fun projects come up, it's a good idea to find specific ways to ensure that everyone has a little fun while completing the daunting task.

While you can go big with air hockey or ping pong in the office, there are also smaller ways to make the workday fun and keep your team engaged and motivated. It's up to you to get creative to discover what works best for your team.

No Time Like the Present: Start Increasing Motivation in the Workplace Today

Now is the best time to start working to improve your team's motivation. Try to choose one or several of the tips above and implement them in your day-to-day processes. After you are comfortable with those and if your team responds to them well, add a few more.

After a few weeks, you will discover you have become a motivation master, and your team will be performing at outstanding levels. When it comes to your team and your business, you can't afford to ignore the tips and information here. Taking the right steps is going to increase your business's productivity in many ways.

Remember, motivation can be hard to come by if you aren't focused on it. With these tips, you can become a motivation master.

Do you want to have a shortcut for motivating the team?

Use Evergreen, our Employee Recognition Software that will help you to motivate your team through the appreciation of the good work plus planting tree for the environment. Book a demo here

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