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How to Motivate Your Employees (Effective Techniques And Tools)

You can hire the best employees and train them to know everything needed to do the job well. But it’s up to them to be the kind of employee you want in your organization. They have to want to be a productive part of the culture. That’s why employee motivation is so important to focus on at every level of the organization. In this article, we explore some of the best techniques and tools you can use to inspire your staff to do their best work.

What Is Employee Motivation?

The world “motivation” comes from the Latin word “movere” – meaning movement. Getting employees to move through high energy, positivity, and commitment to the job often comes from how you motivate them. Employee motivation is the behavior one exhibits to get their job done in a satisfactory way.

Types Of Employee Motivation

While there are a number of ways to motivate, all strategies fall into one of two categories: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Knowing how each of your employees is wired can help you decide which of these is the best way to motivate.

Extrinsic Motivation

When someone’s motivation comes from external factors, it’s considered extrinsic. These factors include things like employee rewards programs, bonuses, benefits, and public accolades. While these strategies can work very well, they may not motivate everyone and can be overused in the workplace. Those motivated extrinsically may also always expect rewards and may not continue to work without the promise of something extra.

Intrinsic Motivation

Those who responded from intrinsic motivation are driven by their inner values or personal goals. They may want to work hard because they think it is the right thing to do or because they feel purpose in their contributions to the larger goal of the company. They may be motivated even without perks because they look inward for inspiration.

Herzberg’s Motivation Theory

While you can’t control inner factors, such as a person’s belief system, you can control two factors. These are the motivating factors (those found in the work environment), and the hygiene factors (other surrounding factors). Herzberg’s motivation theory states that an organization can adjust these two factors to achieve the desired motivation outcome.

Here are examples of these two types of factors:

  • Motivators include increasing responsibility, personal growth, achievements, and recognition
  • Hygiene includes wages, security, work conditions, and company culture

What happens when you mix the two factors?

  • High hygiene and high motivation will result in happy employees.
  • High hygiene and low motivation will keep employees collecting checks but without much employee engagement.
  • Low hygiene and low motivation is the worst of all situations. Don’t expect employees to stick around. 
  • Low hygiene and high motivation will result in employees who feel their work has a purpose or is interesting, but that it doesn’t meet their basic needs. They can burn out easily.

How To Put Herzberg’s Theory Into Practice

Some ideas for working toward high hygiene and high motivation include:

  1. Make sure your company policies match up with your goals. Check your benefits and cultural expectations against other companies’ practices in your industry.
  2. Highlight the importance of respect for every employee. Encourage your leaders to be mentors and not just managers. 
  3. Listen to your employee’s feedback, even in times of informal communication. Don’t make them wait until a formal review to give their input. 

The Benefits Of Employee Motivation

Not only will employees feel better about the work they do, but your company will see the upside of motivation as well. Some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Increased employee commitment
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Improved employee efficiency

Employees will also take part in their own development within the company. Meeting goals will act as further motivation, which can propel an employee into a career full of accomplishments. 

Employee Motivation Techniques

Organizations can use dozens of techniques to improve employee motivation, but not all are appropriate for the workplace. Your industry, staff numbers, and resources will limit what you can realistically implement. Some of the more popular ideas include:

1. Gamification

Many employees respond well to making their job a “game” with rewards for achievements. You can choose to gamify just certain goals (like quarterly sales records) rather than every-day tasks. This keeps your employees pushing hard for those special accomplishments without giving them the expectation that they’ll get a perk for simply doing the basic functions of their job description.

2. Learning Incentives

Personal development and growth are just as important as career skills. See if you can balance learning incentives to include both job-specific perks, such as passes to conferences or workshops with a more generic credit toward their choice of books or online classes. From gardening to accounting, learning in non-work areas can help inspire better productivity.

3. Non-salary Perks

Employees who feel supported in all aspects of life may stick around longer. That’s why so many in-demand companies offer more innovative benefits, from on-site childcare to medical concierge services. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be effective, either. Even basic perks, such as flexible paid time off and telecommuting arrangements can create loyalty among your team members. They may also be more relevant than Taco Tuesday or “bring your dog to work day.”

4. Feedback

How long has it been since you’ve given praise to your employees? Many companies make the mistake of waiting until formal performance reviews to notice a job well done. In addition to offering genuine kudos when warranted, soliciting feedback tells your employees you truly care about their opinion and well-being. Employees want to be heard. 

Employee Motivation Tools

No matter what employee motivation techniques you implement, you’ll need to measure outcomes to know that they are working. You can’t rely on perceived productivity or workplace “happiness” alone. Two of the most common tools available for employers to utilize include employee motivation surveys and employee satisfaction surveys. What is the difference between the two?

Motivation Surveys

Motivation surveys, sometimes called “engagement surveys,” measure an employee’s commitment to company growth. These surveys can use their ideas and experience to gauge their interest in their own (and the organization’s) success.

Satisfaction Surveys

Satisfaction surveys, on the other hand, measure only job satisfaction. An employee could be very content to see things stay the same, but that doesn’t mean they are motivated for long-term growth or furthering their goals.

Companies can use both types of surveys to see which of their staff members have motivation gaps. In doing so with your own business, you can begin to narrow down how you can move toward having motivated employees who are eager to begin work each day.

From initial interviews to setting expectations, tracking employee motivation can start with the hiring phase. Learn how Comeet’s applicant tracking system can change the way you hire today.

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