How To Motivate Employees

People sitting at table having a meeting.

How To Motivate Employees

Motivating people is not an easy task to accomplish. Consider motivation comes from within. You can’t just say, “Hey, Get Motivated,” and it’s done. It doesn’t work that way.

At times people are self-motivated, and other times there are methods to encourage motivation. You can work on driving those methods and keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t. Do more of what’s working and less of what doesn’t work.

Below you’ll find tips and insights to motivate employees as a manager. Applying the information can make a difference in your team’s overall motivation. Test them out to find what works best for your operation.

Let Your Employee Know You Trust Them

When you tell someone I trust you, they feel important and that their performance counts; they take more time to get involved in what they are doing because you trust them. Imagine telling an employee I don’t trust you. How do you think it will affect their work performance? They may work to build your trust if they really care about their job and what you think of them. If not, they may only do the very minimum to get by under the radar.

Tell your competent employees I trust you when an opportunity presents itself and monitor the difference in work performance.

Set Achievable Goals For Your Employee

When you provide goals and standards for your employees, it may help build their motivation. I have noticed that if they don’t have a goal, they don’t have any direction except the day-to-day task, no improvement, no motivation. When they have goals, they work to reach them, and their motivation increases.

The key to setting goals for your team is to set an achievable goal but not so simple that they don’t feel a sense of accomplishment when reaching it. Your goals should have clear expectations and a benchmark, so your employee knows when they have hit the target.

For example, instead of saying this month’s goal is to increase sales. You say, in the next 30 days, we need to increase sales by 3.5%. Our monthly sales are at $86,350. By April 25th, we need our sales to reach $89,375 to meet our target. If each team member made at least 2 extra cold calls and reached out to existing customers to increase our orders, we can reach our target.

Be Transparent

When you’re honest with your employees, you build trust and a strong relationship. Being transparent doesn’t mean you give away trade secrets; it builds a better work relationship, and better work relationships improve workplace motivation.

Get to Know Your Employees

When you genuinely get to know your employees, it builds a sense of caring, and when you care about your team, they will work more for you than if you didn’t talk to them.

You don’t have to be buddy, buddy with every employee, but you can get to know them on a professional level.

Prioritize Work-Life Balance

The balance between your personal and work life is a very important part of achieving life balance. Without separation, your life is always busy. You can easily become overwhelmed, and you could distance yourself from the people who matter most. It’s good practice to prioritize work-life balance.

Once you have achieved a work-life balance, then you can help your employees manage this as well. Naturally, some of your team members won’t be and don’t need to be as engaged in work as you are, but you can coach them on balancing work and personal life. Just by helping them to achieve work-life balance, you may see a spike in their motivation.

Have an Open-Door Policy

An open-door policy allows for better work relations. It allows you to know more of what’s going on with your employees and lets employees have someone to fall back on when needed.

Along with an open-door policy comes coaching and support. There is no use in having an open-door policy if you’re not going to coach and support employees. Coaching and support lead to improved motivation and allow you to improve morale one employee at a time.

Recognize a Job Well Done

I’m a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. Imagine having an employee that always goes above and beyond, is very accurate, always on time, and does great quality work. Imagine never acknowledging that employee.

The opportunity to say thank you, good job or congratulations on a job well done goes a long way. In my book, just because you acknowledge someone’s work doesn’t mean you have to give them a raise, let them slack off, and do what they want.

You are already providing them with employment. When an opportunity arises naturally, you will lean towards the best person for the job. For now, let them know when they are doing well; it means a lot to those dedicated employees.

Tell Them WHY, So They Get on board

Many times managers will ask employees to do things in a certain way. Or to change what they are doing or do something that doesn’t make sense to the employee. I have seen it many times.

The manager may have a good reason for asking for a change, even though it doesn’t make sense to the employee. It’s far better to say stop the order your working on and start working on this order BECAUSE the customer called.

The customer needs this order tomorrow morning, and if you start now, we’ll be able to get it to them on time. They had a bad storm, and their building is heavily damaged. They need this order to be there at 8:am to save the rest of the building.

Now that the employee knows why they were told to stop on their current order and start on a new order they are focused on the job and not why they were told to do it.

Focus on Solutions to Problems

Here’s how I deal with problems. I look for the information that will help me determine how and why the problem occurred.

Once I understand the problem, I don’t focus on the blame. Focusing on the blame doesn’t help you find a solution. It upsets your whole team, and your spending time on the blame game while the problem is still there.

Instead, set your focus on coming up with a solution to ensure the problem doesn’t reoccur. Once you have a solution, get some feedback from the team. The team’s input can help improve the solution to become better than it is, and you are engaging your team to help solve the problem. Team engagement will boost motivation!

Practice focusing on solutions with your team when problems appear, and soon they will start to use the same approach to problem-solving. It’s teaching by example.

Give Your Team Authority

Giving your team authority to lead and make decisions is a good motivational tactic and coaching technique.

When you allow an employee to make decisions related to their job, you build their skills and self-confidence. Allowing them to lead a project they are qualified for is also a great way to motivate them.

Give Employees Room to work

Micromanaging is something some managers use to ensure everyone does everything the same or to ensure the job is being completed their way.”

I don’t believe in micro-managing because I think employees should have room to complete their work, so they are most productive.

I want all the steps to be completed, and I want the end result to be the same for everyone, but the way my team members get there can vary. Some employees may want to do things step by step others may want to rearrange the steps. This works for me as long as the order doesn’t matter the final outcome is completed correctly. I want my team members to have their own workflow when possible.

I had one employee that couldn’t stand still, and my boss was always complaining that this employee would wander around his station at times.

I told my boss the guy can’t stand still for a few minutes. He needs to move around. He can’t even stand still if I’m discussing something with him, which tells me there is an issue there.

Let him wander from time to time, I don’t mind, because his work is completed on time and his work is accurate. I don’t see a problem.

Create a Good Work Environment

One way to motivate your team is to provide them with a good work environment. This is a broad topic, and I’ll touch on a few ideas. One of which is to make sure the working conditions are great. An area you can focus on is how comfortable your employees are? Are they struggling? What can you do to make working conditions better?

For example, if you operate a business where employees work in the cold, is there anything you can do to keep them warm? Can you offer frequent breaks where they can warm up? Can you modify your operation so that it’s warmer? Can you provide clothing that keeps them warm? Providing assistance to make employees more comfortable boost productivity and in turn boost motivation.

Another area is providing a relaxed atmosphere. Suppose your team can be themselves and don’t have to walk on pins and needles at work. In that case, they will feel like they are hanging out with a friend rather than working, no socializing, just work, work, and more work. Naturally, people need to be respectful with one another and complete their job. But doing it in a way where everyone can be themselves can motivate your team.

Focus on Teams VS. Employees Against One Another.

Building teams and promoting team efforts is on you as a manager. It’s easy to favor the superstar employee, but the one-star player isn’t enough in large organizations. You need a team to work together.

You can coach your start player to help weak employees on the same team by coaching and helping others. Naturally, your star player will have to agree to be a leader.

If you have team leaders who genuinely help other members, you have a winning solution to building stronger teams. Your job is to recognize the team as a whole, and once the weaker members improve, recognize them. At the same time, you acknowledge your star player contributing to the team’s success.

Once you have this in place, team leaders can help other members lead, and you keep building leaders.

Celebrate Wins

I see it all the time managers focus a lot of their time and energy on their team’s problems and when the team performs well, there is little said.

Sure I agree mistakes need to be addressed, but as managers focusing on wins can go a long way. Not just the home runs; celebrate when the opportunity presents itself. A pat on the back goes a long way. Celebrate more and see how your team changes.

Money as a Means of Motivation:

The above all focused on how to motivate employees without money. Now let’s look at a few monetary ideas for motivation:


One way to motivate employees is to offer a raise that rewards employees who do a great job. Naturally, you want the raise to be something they deserve, and you want that employee to keep working at an enhanced level.

Point System:

Creating a points system is something to think about. Points would be given for certain targets you want to meet. They could be redeemed for cash or gift cards, merchandise, or even paid time off.


Sometimes the best way to reward and motivate an employee is to offer a bonus. That way, you have a single payout compared to a raise.

Sometimes a bonus is set beforehand and given to motivate employees to reach a target. Other times it was given to say, “great job keep up the good work.”

Give Your Employees Ownership in the Company

If your company issues stock shares, giving employees shares is a great way to keep them motivated. Not only do they have employment, but they have shares in the company; they are owners.


You’ll find many more tips and insights in the unique collection of handpicked articles I have included in the resource section below. Each section is organized by topic.

Articles To Help You Motivate Employees

14 Highly Effective Ways to Motivate Employees |

How to Motivate Employees: 5 Data-Backed Tips for Managers

How To Motivate Employees Without Money

10 Tips to Motivate Employees Without Resorting to Money

9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money |

Ways to Motivate Staff… 10 Methods That Cost You Nothing

How To Motivate Lazy Employees

10 Ways to Motivate Your Employees [Blog Post]

How To Manage Lazy Employees: 10 Ways To Motivate Unproductive Staff

5 Great Tips to Manage and Motivate Lazy Employees | Lajoy Group

Does Money Motivate Employees?

Does Money Really Affect Motivation? A Review of the Research

Money Is Nice, But It’s Not Enough to Motivate Employees

Does Money Motivate? Employee Engagement & Compensation

How To Motivate Employees To Work Harder

How To Inspire Employees To Give Their Best Performance – Insperity

How to Encourage Employees to Work Harder? – WiseStep

How To Motivate Employees Working From Home

8 Ways to Effectively Manage and Motivate a Remote Workforce

How to Keep Your Team Motivated, Remotely

Employees Motivational Examples

Disney’s Best Ever Example Of Motivating Employees

Examples of Motivating the Staff | Small Business –

35 Examples of Motivation In the Workplace |

How To Motivate Employees To Come To Work on Time

How To Encourage Your Staff To Arrive On Time

How to Motivate Your Employees to Come to Work On Time | Small Business –

Practical Ways to Help Employees Get to Work on Time | Buddy Punch

How To Motivate Employees Who Don’t Care

4 Ways To Motivate Detached Workers

6 Secrets To Motivating Employees That Most Leaders Don’t Know |

Fun Ways To Motivate Employees

How to Motivate Employees: 70 Simple Ideas

11 Ways to Motivate Employees and Make Work Fun

52 Epic Ways to Reward Your Employees

How to Motivate Difficult Employees

Motivating the Negative Nancy on Your Team

How to Motivate Your Problem People

Learn How to Deal with a Difficult Employee

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