Increasing employee motivation

4 Ways to Positively Motivate Your Employees

Posted on April 20, 2013 · Posted in Managing Performance, Motivation, Productivity, The Happy Workplace

Here are 4 ways to positively motivate your employees in a guest post from Julie Hartwell.

For as long as desk jobs have existed, so have discouraged employees. For every horrible boss, there are throngs of people throwing up their arms and putting in their two weeks notice. It’s never easy to maintain a work relationship, especially for authority figures. But there are simple nods you can make to your workers that will not only encourage them, but make the office a more supportive place.

1 Rewards

Everyone knows that free stuff is the way to anyone’s heart. Rewards can come in the form of free movie tickets, gift cards to places your employees frequent or even a paid lunch. If the company doesn’t have the budget, try giving your people some free time. This is a more cost effective way of letting them know that you appreciate what they do.

It’s important when exchanging gifts such as these with your employees that it’s genuine. Personalized novelties can go a long way, a lot longer than recycling the same rewards over and over again. You want your employees to value what you give them as a reward for doing a good job. By reminding your workers that they are appreciated, they will appreciate the gifts you give them.

  • Keep material rewards fresh but cost-effective.
  • Personalized gifts go much further than those more standardized.
  • Appreciate your employees and they will appreciate what you give them.

2 Friendly Competition


Naming someone “Employee of the Month” can be tricky in practice, but when done well, it will motivate everyone, even management, to work a little bit harder. If you’re a sales company, recognize your best salesman that quarter with a plaque, or give out a certificate for “Best Sell of the Week.” Having an established awards system can keep the competition consistent, but if opportunities for more personalized awards present themselves, use it as a way to highlight specific individuals.

People want to know when they are doing a good job, and as a manager, it is your job to let them know when that is. Put together an Awards Ceremony so that everyone is included and can share in the festivities. This creates an open forum where people can take a few minutes away from the daily grind and be supportive of each other, and maybe talk a little smack.

  • Employees want to know when they are doing well.
  • An established awards system can keep competition consistent.
  • Activities such as Awards Ceremonies are a fun way to bring people together.

3 Company Functions

There are countless activities you and your employees can take part in as a company; softball, volleyball and bowling just to name a few. Outings such as these bring the company closer together as a whole, rather than as individuals. When everyone is batting for the same team, it’s a great chance to build a collective consciousness outside of the office.

If sports aren’t your thing, invite everyone over to your house for a BBQ or game night. It may be difficult to let co-workers into your personal space, but by welcoming them into your home, you’re showing them that even away from work, your door is always open. And if that doesn’t work there’s always hockey games, basketball games, etc.

  • Teamwork is just as valuable on the field as it is in the office.
  • Having employees over to your home shows that you care.
  • Make sure everyone knows that your door is always open.

4 Affirmation

Not every boss is as hands on as they would like to be, it varies from person-to-person. But something that is always handy is the classic pat on the back. It sounds cheesy, but if you’re genuine your employees will appreciate it. Don’t rely on just this to keep them motivated, but if all else fails a simple, “Nice Work,” can mean a lot to someone.

Regardless of your leadership style, respect is key to your employees’ happiness. You can employ as many tactics as you would like to reward their productivity, efficiency or what have you, but if respect is lost at the top of the corporate ladder, so is your staff. Even if it is just a pat on the back, show your employees that you care about them; after all you’re nothing without your team.

  • A pat on the back can go a long way if done genuinely.
  • Mutual respect is the key to company success.
  • You’re nothing without your staff.

Julie Hartwell is a freelance writer who loves anything to do with the arts, design, and fashion. When she’s not busy embarking on her own creative adventures, she writes about custom t-shirt printing from BlueCotton.