Twenty Simple Ways to Increase Motivation in the Workplace

Everyone experiences dips in motivation every now and then, and so it’s safe to say that keeping motivation among employees high can be a challenge. Fortunately, experts have proposed numerous ways to keep everyone in the company motivated. These methods, which are not specific to a single industry and do not cost much to implement, are highlighted below.

1. Recognising outstanding work and results.

How often hard work and its results are acknowledged is one important factor in employee motivation. If one employee continues to work hard to deliver outstanding results, and yet all that effort isn’t at all recognised, then don’t expect the same exceptional results in the long run.

The act of recognising great work and outstanding results isn’t the only thing to keep in mind in the event a milestone is achieved. It also helps to recognise achievements well—a high bonus by year’s end won’t work as well as a bonus on the payday period when the milestone was achieved.

When recognising achievements, remember that money may be appropriate in many cases, but it’s not your only option.

2. Setting small and measurable goals.

One of the best ways to demoralise your employees is to make them work on one project that doesn’t seem to have an ending. Visible progress, on the other hand, feels great to your employees since they see it, and it clearly indicates that any work done is truly making a difference.

Ensuring visible progress means setting clear and achievable milestones and goals.

3. Applauding results.

Another reason why it’s very important to set small, measurable goals is the fact that it offers numerous opportunities to praise the results the team delivers.

This doesn’t imply that you have to give employees without tardiness and absence records in one month a standing ovation during your monthly town hall, but it’s important that everyone knows exactly how they are helping in the forward movement of the organisation.

As such, you need to be specific with the applause. Don’t stop at telling someone ‘good job.’ Don’t even limit yourself to praising the employee on the specific task he or she did. Inform the employee of the good job he or she did, and then narrate the effects of the task that he or she did, and how it enhanced a metric or milestone the company is trying to achieve.

4. Stay positive.

Nobody wants a conversation pertaining to their poor performance. However, it’s a fact that expecting only the best performance is a little unrealistic.

Fortunately, with positive reinforcement, it’s easy to provide direction. Instead of telling a team member what he did wrong, pay attention to the things he did right.

By shifting toward positivity, relationships and work experience, which are factors in motivation and success, are improved.

5. Stay fueled.

Staying driven and focused can be difficult if the fuel that drives you is about to run out. For this reason, it’s important to ensure everyone has eaten or eats meals at the right times. While it can be tempting to skip meals for the sake of a deadline, doing so isn’t great for health, and when health is compromised, so is productivity.

If the workplace, as a whole, tends to skip meals for the sake of numerous deadlines, then you can keep a number of healthy snacks within reach of employees whilst encouraging them to take their lunch breaks and come to work full. By doing this, you won’t need to worry too much about their health.

6. Everyone in the company needs to take regular breaks.

Sitting down all day and working nonstop are bad for one’s health, and when one’s health is compromised, he or she loses all motivation for working. As such, it’s important that every single employee take regular breaks. Even a five-minute break every two hours has a positive effect on both body and mind.

7. Encourage everyone to stay healthy.

As mentioned above, when one’s health is compromised, he or she loses all motivation for working. For this reason, it’s important that: 1. no office policy is preventing individuals from taking all the needed time to remain healthy, and 2. everybody should be encouraged to take advantage of times off and all medical benefits offered.

Times off may cost much at face value, but implementing them actually helps your company save lots of money normally lost in poor attendance, poor engagement, and lost productivity.

8. See and share the bigger picture.

A big part in knowing the purpose of your work is knowledge of how it fits the bigger picture, and workplace motivation can be boosted by making sure that your team knows the effects of their efforts on the organisation’s bigger goals.

Completing a task provides one a feeling of accomplishment, which boosts motivation in general. However, seeing how the completion of those tasks helps in a company’s growth multiplies the effect.

9. Transparency.

All relationships, including all work relationships, are built on one thing, and that is trust. Making transparency a default is an amazing way to encourage trust among you and the team, and teams that trust make you a little more motivated.

Trust, however, isn’t the only thing you can get from transparency. Transparency also helps in ensuring that everybody knows exactly the same thing. This, in itself, is beneficial to the team. For this reason, it’s important to effectively and responsibly communicate all information that employees need so they will perform their jobs effectively.

10. Be clear.

It’s important to know the goals that need to be achieved to motivate team members to go after them. For a number of employees, this understanding begins with transparency, then ends with clarity. If there is no clarity, transparency loses effectiveness and its power to motivate wanes.

Be sure that everyone has a clear, concise mission that can motivate them in the first place, since it’s almost not possible to invest real motivation to things that you do not know or are confused about.

11. Envision and share all positive outcomes.

Success is easy to achieve when it is envisioned. All types of professionals, ranging from the physician to the top athlete, practice this method of improving motivation.

Luckily, with a clear objective, you’re halfway to what you perceive as success.

Help your team in understanding what it means to attain that particular objective. When somebody makes actual progress to that outcome, share that progress to motivate everybody in the group.

12. Find purpose.

While it’s often stated that the one thing that motivates millennial employees is purpose, this is actually true of many employees. Knowing that the work the entire company is doing is making a positive impact on clients and the world at large is a key component of staying motivated.

13. Loosening the reins.

It may be hard to believe, but autonomy is a very effective motivator. By providing more agency to employees when it comes to the time and manner of accomplishing certain tasks, these employees actually become more efficient and more motivated.

Providing agency to your employees means telling them the goal that needs to be accomplished on or before a certain date, thus allowing them to decide when they should start working on it. For some, this means coming to work early; for others, this may mean coming to the office on a weekend.

Therefore, with more agency, employees have the option to work on projects when motivation is strongest.

It’s also worth noting that added agency over their tasks also helps in eliminating a major source of demotivation in the workplace, which is micromanagement.

14. Providing the feeling of security.

The feeling of security goes beyond the addition of CCTVs in many different parts of the office. It’s also important to provide employees the assurance that they’ll still have a workplace next month, and that they’ll always be needed as long as the company exists. As long as there is job security, there will always be motivation to go after set goals and stretch their potentials.

15. Power postures.

How you sit and stand are indicators of how motivated you are. They also have an impact on the motivations of everyone in the room, yourself included. The latter happens because your body language tells everyone your mood, how well you’re working on a task at the moment, and how you’re interacting with other people.

As such, it’s important to mind the body language you’re using whilst at work. If you’re unsure if the body language you’re using is positive or negative, try to experiment with many different postures, then check whether they help with overall motivation or not.

16. Encouraging teamwork.

Encouraging teamwork goes beyond assigning employees roles in a project and expecting that they do these roles well. It also means structuring the work environment in such a way that it fosters interaction that leads to positive results and achievement of goals.

17. Offering small and consistent rewards.

While rewarding employees for achieving goals or working hard goes without saying, offering them in small increments several times in a year works to sustain motivation, since this lets employees know that their hard work is almost immediately rewarded.

18. A change of scenery.

A change of scenery actually allows for a major shift in motivation, so consider how the environment your team works in right now is affecting its motivation as a whole. If not a lot of natural light gets into your workplace, you might want to hold outdoor meetings every now and then if you cannot move to an area with more windows right away.

Even just a few moments in another set of surroundings provides a different perspective, which leads to an easily-perceivable motivation boost.

19. Practicing mindfulness.

Taking some time from the day to practice mindfulness seems counterproductive, but it’s been proven time and time again to be a driver of positive results, productivity, and motivation. The reason for this is the new perspective gained on issues faced.

20. Having fun.

Not all work days will be breezy, and this is normal. What isn’t normal is when each work day feels like a drag. While play areas can work to make the office a fun environment, they aren’t necessary. What works is the team finding a little bit of fun in the middle of daily work routines, and focusing on the things that make working in the company great.

The whole team will be amazed with the added motivation provided by even the little fun you add to your workplace.

These are the many different ways to start improving the level of motivation in your workplace. You can also come up with your own methods based on the tips mentioned above if you want something more appropriate for your company’s culture.


Sharon Kaibel is a performance and productivity coach. Sharon helps business owners create the strategy, structure and systems to build and grow a profitable business. Join her Closed Facebook Group, the #ACHIEVERNETWORK for the community, resources and trainings to become an extraordinary achiever.