Employee Motivation: How to help your team care about your company, their work and each other

Are your employees engaged by their work? Sadly, there’s a high chance the answer is a resounding “no”. That’s because the UK is home to some of the least-engaged workers in the world, according to the Qualtrics® Employee PulseTM (surveying over 4,500 individuals).

It goes without saying that employees who don’t feel engaged by their job are less likely to be motivated to perform at their best. Further research has discovered that employees who feel happier in their workplace are up to 31% more productive than others, make 37% more sales and achieve 19% higher accuracy in tasks.

It’s obvious, really: make your workers happier, and they’ll feel more engaged, more motivated, and care more about your business.

But how do you actually do this?

How to make employees feel valued and respected

We all want to feel as if we matter. We all want to feel as if our work makes a difference. But a study by ADP Research Institute found just one-third of UK employees feel valued by their employers, while more than half believe their roles lack purpose.

How can you change this?

  • Deliver feedback: provide employees with transparent feedback on a regular basis, offering praise on their achievements (however small) and recognising the challenges they overcome. For example, strict deadlines, lack of resources, absent colleagues, etc.
  • Gather opinions: poll your team to learn more about their workplace experience — ask what changes they want to see to the office decor, to working hours, and so on. This shows you value their views and care about improving their time at work.
  • Give credit where credit’s due: when your business delivers a positive outcome for a customer, be sure to name the employees who played a part and thank them for their hard work.

Cultivate a strong company culture

Don’t believe a strong company culture matters? Check out these stats:

  • 94% of executives agree a distinct culture is vital to a business’s success.
  • Companies with a strong focus on their culture saw a 4x growth in revenue.
  • Employees at businesses with well-established company cultures rated their workplaces 20% higher than those elsewhere

How can you cultivate a company culture that motivates employees and encourages them to care?

  • Share ownership with your team: when someone owns even the smallest piece of something it entirely changes their mindset. It’s called The Ownership Effect. Sharing a slice of the action with your employees is a proven motivator, which results in productivity gains and helps you to attract and retain talent.
  • Make your business’s objective clear: create a mission statement that outlines how your workers — and the company as a whole — will make a positive impact on customers’ lives.
  • Create a set of values that defines your brand: What ethical standards do you want employees to adhere to, and why?
  • Be a strong leader: take an active role in the company, rather than managing from your private office — get to know your employees, demonstrate the work ethic you want to inspire in others, and earn their trust.

Offer a path to promotion and growth

More than one-third of UK workers prefer alternative work models (project-based employment, seasonal jobs, etc) to traditional options. Core reasons for this are entrepreneurial aspirations, a drive for variety and a desire for greater control.

The proliferation of online productivity and communication tools is helping empower ambitious individuals to forge their own careers. This is why it’s more important than ever for businesses to ensure employees feel they have opportunities to grow and progress.

Companies should:

  • Offer access to training to help workers learn new skills.
  • Aim to promote from within rather than bringing new workers in to fill vacancies.
  • Consider restructuring your workforce to allow for growth and progress, with more team leaders, supervisors, deputy managers and departmental directors.

Foster greater collaboration, teamwork and camaraderie

According to a study by TinyPulse, peers and camaraderie are the top reason workers are willing to “go the extra mile”, rather than money.

It’s easy to believe simply offering a slight pay rise is enough to boost engagement, increase motivation and achieve better results. But this statistic highlights just how much of an impact strong bonds between colleagues can make.

Employees with a personal connection will be more likely to help each other achieve goals, pull their weight and be open with ideas. Productivity, innovation and retention may all improve.

So, how can you encourage more camaraderie in the workplace to boost motivation?

  • Implement multiple communication and collaboration tools: use project management platforms (Trello, Asana, for example) and internal messaging (rather than just email) to foster greater visibility and real-time interaction.
  • Consider introducing peer-to-peer bonuses: consider equipping employees a peer-to-peer bonus system, to recognise their colleagues’ achievements and build a stronger team spirit.
  • Address interpersonal issues and obstacles: don’t let resentment, rivalry and frustration fester — encourage employees to be transparent with one another and tackle conflicts head-on. It’s sure to feel awkward initially, it may help avoid tension down the line.
  • Provide staff with break-out areas and entertainment: create spaces in your workplace for employees to enjoy their downtime. According to a survey, around 90% of employees feel refreshed after a break, though 20% fear their employers will consider them lazy for taking a full lunch break.

On the topic of break-out areas, equip employees with ways to relax and bond. Board games, video games, magazines and televisions can all spark conversation unrelated to work. This gives their mind a rest and can help them return to their desks re-energised.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your office layout and decor, either. Colour, design and features can all make a big impact on the employee experience.

Every business needs to take employee motivation, engagement and satisfaction seriously. Not only do happier workers tend to be more productive and achieve better results, higher engagement has been shown to reduce turnover, too.

Experiment with the ideas explored above to make positive changes in your workplace. Over time, your employees may become more engaged, more productive and more motivated to achieve their best.