Organizational Wellness

Five Ways to Actually Motivate Your Employees

Aug 23, 2023
Last Updated Aug 23, 2023

Motivating employees is similar to solving a puzzle. You’re trying to snap every piece into place to create a full picture of engagement, growth, and support. But when pieces can go missing — maybe because of distractions, or burnout, or stagnation — your workforce is going to struggle to stay energized and productive.

Investing in all the right puzzle pieces will help motivate your teammates and support employee engagement. Let's explore some ways to increase employee motivation in the workplace.

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  1. Encourage Teamwork

Teamwork can unlock the support, collaboration, and companionship that make work fun.

Employees who feel a sense of team belonging and support are greater than 11 times more likely to agree with the statement, "I am motivated to take action at work."

Teamwork has such a strong effect on employees because it boosts intrinsic motivation — that feeling you get when something brings you fulfillment — according to the American Psychological Association. Not only that, but when teams respect and talk honestly, members experience an increase of 80% in higher emotional wellbeing.

There are plenty of ways to encourage teamwork at your organization, even with a hybrid or remote workforce.  Here are a few to consider:

  • Team-building activities: These group experiences are great for getting employees to build friendships and trust.
  • Problem-solving together: Exercises like escape rooms give your team ownership and authority to tackle novel situations.
  • Project planning: Collaboratively assign tasks and roles on projects together.
  • Open input: Encourage teams to share constructive feedback and ideas to improve processes, facilitating a shared sense of ownership.
  • Collaboration tools: Support your team to work together with platforms that help ideate and collaborate effortlessly, like for example, visual whiteboards from Mural.

  1. Create a Supportive and Psychologically Safe Environment

In a psychologically safe work environment, people feel comfortable asking for help, sharing their opinions, and challenging their manager's thoughts. Employees feel motivated to do their best work in a culture like this because a supportive environment allows them to learn and fail without fear of consequences. This removes the hesitance of trying new ideas. It motivates team members to experiment, innovate, and grow, according to a study by McKinsey.

To create a safe and supportive work environment, consider all the elements that affect employee psychological safety. Things like: is their salary covering their living expenses and basic needs? Are they having a positive employee experience? Do they feel included and represented? Do they feel the company has policies that look after employees' physical and mental wellbeing? Do management and peers respect them?

To make sure your company caters to a safe and motivating environment, consider the following:

  • Respect every opinion: Encourage employees to foster a culture of respect, where everyone's thoughts and ideas are heard.
  • Encourage innovation: Reward employees for trying new ideas and methods, even if they don’t pan out.
  • Be constructive with mistakes: Talk with employees about mistakes as moments of growth, not as failures.
  • Feedback: Create channels to receive employee feedback on their experience in the workplace. Show them that their input is welcomed and appreciated.

  1. Include Your Employees in Company Decisions

Involving employees in decision-making can increase their motivation and double their engagement.

It shows your organization cares about their thoughts and knows they have capabilities beyond their specific role. Consulting them on high-level decisions communicates you trust their judgment and leadership abilities. For employees, seeing they influenced how a major initiative was executed can be very rewarding.

Here are some tactics you can use to include your employees in decisions:

  • Make project planning inclusive: Invite employees to contribute to the project planning stage with their input. Through inclusion, employees get more clarity of project needs and how their efforts will impact overall project quality.
  • Get feedback: Ask employees for their opinion on major decisions. For example, if your company introduces a new email platform, ask for their opinions and thoughts.
  • Encourage participation during meetings: Make sure all employees are heard and involved in the conversation during team meetings. Encourage them to participate and hear their ideas.
  • Create company workshops: Invite employees from every department to a workshop exercise. These workshops aim to find a solution to improve processes using feedback from different perspectives.

  1. Support Career Development Goals

Every employee has aspirations, goals, and milestones that move them forward. But without a clear roadmap to reach their goals, they might feel discouraged and stagnate. Companies can help motivate employees by agreeing on a defined career growth plan.

Showing employees you support their professional development goes a long way. When employees meet with managers to discuss their career goals, they'refive times more likely to say, "working here is inspiring."

Consider scheduling time aside to discuss career growth with your employees. By understanding their goals, you can adjust tasks and responsibilities to include skills they want to develop.

Meetings are usually the first step because it brings an understanding of their development goals. From there, you can show support through:

  • Workshops and events: Consider giving employees the time to attend workshops and events that support their career growth.
  • Mentorship: Allow employees to learn first-hand from senior positions in the company.
  • Resources and training: Support your team with additional training courses to develop their career skills.

By offering career growth opportunities, organizations can help create an environment of learning that keeps employees engaged and motivated.

  1. Recognize Employees’ Efforts and Good Work

When you reward employee performance, it demonstrates you appreciate their work and value them as a key player in the company.

Managers that recognize their employees increase engagement by fourfold, according to a report by Workhuman, as it shows their staff that their hard work makes a difference. In turn, employees are more likely to perform in ways that get managers' approval and a sense of fulfillment.

There are many ways to recognize employees — here are a few you can consider introducing in your workplace:

  • Written notes: Personalized and hand-written notes are a great way of expressing gratitude 
  • Awards and gifts: Celebrate outstanding performance with awards, certificates, or gift cards.
  • Team lunches: Celebrate accomplishments or quarterly milestones by treating your employees to a meal.
  • Public appreciation: Publicly recognize employee achievements in public channels or during team meetings.
  • Wall of fame: Highlight employees by adding their accomplishments to a hall of fame.
  • Financial rewards: Give employees monetary recognition for their work, like a bonus or salary raise.

Invest In Wellbeing to Boost Motivation 

Supporting your teammates as professionals is foundational to increasing employee motivation, but it’s not the whole picture. Motivation also about how they feel: Business units with engaged workers are more profitable than departments with a miserable staff.

Investing in workplace wellness programs can help your employees feel their best. They let you meet your employees wherever they are on their wellbeing journey. Whether they’re looking to become more mindful, get better sleep, build muscle, or improve their nutrition, you can help them cultivate wellness to avoid burnout.

Are you interested in boosting motivation through employee wellbeing? Talk to aWellhub wellbeing specialist today!

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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