How Managers Can Motivate Their Employees

3 min read
Motivating Employees

Successfully managing a business involves much more than simply recruiting top talent. The number of skilled workers you can draw to your institution is far less significant than the percentage of that workforce that ultimately sticks around. The key to outstanding retention is paying a highly competitive salary and having good benefits. While these are crucial factors, employee engagement, and motivation are vital indicators for success.

What Causes Employee Engagement and Motivation to Wane?

While many employers expect that an excellent salary and benefits should be enough to keep employees motivated and engaged, studies show that these factors are only part of the picture. Salary and benefits are extrinsic motivators or external rewards for the work. 

However, humans are also driven by intrinsic motivations or motivations that are primarily internal–like personal success, positive relationships, and the feeling of having a social impact. Many companies offer the former but neglect to cultivate the latter strongly enough. When extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are out of balance, employees lose engagement and can feel unmotivated, stagnant, or ill-cared for.

Why Is Effective Employee Motivation So Important?

The most obvious benefit of good employee motivation management is higher retention rates. High motivation means more employee loyalty and leads workers to stay in their positions longer. This means that the average employee builds more expertise during their time with the company and saves on retraining costs. Additionally, employee engagement is directly linked to higher productivity. When your employees are engaged, they do better work, make you more money and remain happier for longer. 

Tips for Motivating Employees in Your Workplace

Offer a Flexible Working Arrangement

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how offices function and structure themselves, and it’s unlikely that these changes will revert soon. The ability to work from home is a major draw for vast swaths of the working populace. Asking your current employees to return to the office full-time isn’t likely to work well, and requiring new employees to be there only limits your candidate pool.

To help motivate your employees, keep a flexible office policy. Allow for entirely in-person employees, hybrid schedules, and remote positions. More and more, companies are also lowering the number of hours in the work week, with some businesses even instituting four-day weeks without reducing salaries. And it works! Many employers report increased productivity and employee satisfaction after moving to shorter work weeks.

Reward Creativity and Risk-Taking

Some people crave creativity and play in their work, but inflexible tasks hamper them. This leads to lowered engagement and feelings of stagnation and unimportance. To prevent this from taking root in your company, encourage your employees to be creative and take risks on new ideas, processes, and tasks. Reward these creative efforts, and don’t stigmatize failure; instead, use it to learn more about what can and can’t work for your office. When employees can be creative at work, they will feel that their presence has a tangible impact on the job.

Develop Meaningful Relationships

Humans are social creatures and are motivated as much by relationships as by rewards. Develop caring and meaningful relationships with your employees and show them repeatedly and often that you care for them beyond what they bring to the team. This will build trust and loyalty. Showing employees respect, honesty, and support is how managers motivate employees to go above and beyond.

Always Leave Room for Growth

Finally, you want to ensure that an employee always has a way to grow within your organization. This often means frequent raises, promotions, cost-of-living adjustments, and better benefits. But it may also mean flexibility within their role or even the option (and encouragement) to explore new roles within the company. Offering cross-training and inter-departmental social events will help encourage this exploration.

Casey Schmalacker

Casey Schmalacker, Vice President at New Frontiers, is a seasoned leader in marketing, sales, and business development. With a dual degree in Government and Law and Economics from Lafayette College, he has spent the past 10 years coaching students, adults, and organizations to improve executive functions, soft skills, and workplace performance. Casey’s approach is rooted in strategic development and a passion for personalized coaching, emphasizing a culture of continuous improvement.

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