Best Tips to Motivate Your Employees

motivate your employees

How do you motivate your employees?

As a Manager or Leader, you need to ensure that your employees are productive, but at the same time not overworking. How do you ensure their mental health is ok?

For this article, we discuss how to tap into the three areas of motivation: purpose, social recognition and the work environment. We explain extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and provide the best tips to motivate your employees. The article concludes with a discussion on employee mental health and strategies for Managers and Leaders.

What is Their Higher Purpose?

As a Leader or Manager, how do you get the most out of your team? The end goal is to maximise all the sources available to you to motivate your employees. There are three areas that you can work on to motivate your team and individuals you work with. The highest level of motivation is your purpose; what you find meaningful in the work that you do.

This goes beyond your regular paycheck and looks at how you feel about your contribution and what your company does that adds value to the communities that we live in.

How does the work that your team, and individual team members, help the company to achieve its goals? What are the things you’ll do for no apparent reward? What will your team do? Part of your job as a Leader or Manager is to help your team to connect to their higher purpose while at work.

Recognise, Appreciate and Reward!

The second area where you can motivate your employees is to look at their relationships with each other – their social motivation. Who works well together? Do your team’s skills complement each other?

Team members feel more valued when they are learning and enhancing their skills. One way to motivate your employees and inspire them to achieve great results is to provide them with opportunities for growth and development.

Most people are motivated to do their work well. But if a person’s efforts to succeed go unrecognised, unappreciated, and unrewarded, they will eventually decide that the outcome isn’t worth the effort. After a while, they will not want to do some of the things they should do and performance will suffer.

Positive Reinforcement and Social Recognition

Your team also needs positive reinforcement and social recognition. Social rewards or motivators are the approval of other people for getting the job done or for receiving recognition or an award.

When your team or individual team members achieve great results, put in extra effort, or do outstanding work, make sure to tell them that you’re grateful and be specific in your praise. Explain why their contribution is valued and how it helps to benefit the business. This will not only motivate your employees but help them succeed with future work.

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

The final area to look at to motivate your employees is situational motivation which is the environment in which they work. What are the rules, the non-negotiables, the goals, and their KPI’s? How can they improve? How can you reward any improvements? Can you visually display their progress? Where is it appropriate to use positive or neutral reinforcement? When should you sanction or assign a consequence to your employee’s behaviour?

This is where extrinsic and intrinsic motivation comes in.

Extrinsic motivation is when you use external factors to motivate your employees to do what you want. Pay raises, time off, bonus payments, job rotation, or more responsibility and independence, and the threat of job loss are all extrinsic motivators – some positive, some less so.

Intrinsic motivation is internal. It’s about having a personal desire to overcome a challenge, to produce high-quality work, or to interact with team members you like and trust. Intrinsically motivated people have a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from what they do.

As a Manager or Leader, you need to set achievable goals for your team and reward and positively reinforce their achievements. Allow your team to be as self-directed as possible with increased degrees of autonomy so that they set their own goals, strive to continually improve, and take responsibility for how the work gets done. This increases intrinsic, or personal motivation because the company goal becomes their goal and they become personally satisfied when the work is done.

See our course, Motivating Your Team.

Results, Feedback and Accomplishment

Three factors act as personal motivators and can help you to motivate your employees.

  1. Seeing Results – People are most likely to set and maintain high-performance standards when they see the results of what they do. Motivating expectancies are formed when an individual sees a connection between their efforts and an end product.
  2. Feedback – People who set high-performance standards need to get concrete readings along the way as to how well they are doing. In other words, people need feedback. To be effective, feedback must be specific, constructive, and timely.
  3. Accomplishment People sometimes need a push. They need to be placed in situations where they have to do more than they believe they can do. Once they stretch themselves successfully, they’re motivated to do a little more, then a little more, and so on. Accomplishment itself is a powerful motivator.

See our article, 3 Factors That Impact Employee Engagement.

Tailor Your Approach For Each Team Member

As a Manager or Leader, your goal is to keep your team members motivated and enthusiastic about their work. It’s important to strike a balance between extrinsic motivators, such as pay raises and changes to working conditions, and intrinsic motivators, like assigning people tasks that they enjoy.

Analyse your assumptions about your people. Remember that they will likely respond more positively when you use a participatory style of management, where they have responsibilities and can make their own decisions.

Everyone is different, so tailor your motivational approach to each team member. There are many strategies and tools that you can use to motivate your employees but, the more you know and understand each individual, the more effective your efforts will be.

Finally, remember the importance of leadership to motivate your employees and encourage them to exceed their expectations.

When you tap into what motivates your team through what they value, the social dynamics and the environment that they work in, you are likely to get the most out of your them.

See our article, Employee Engagement, Burnout, Stress – Signs and Tips.

Monitor Their Mental Health

Your employees may be taking on an increased workload to get through their pressured-packed days, but they need to understand the impact on their mental health when they take on additional hours over an extended period.

When employees experience mental health problems, they will likely show changes in their energy levels and behaviour and have difficulties with interpersonal relationships at work and home. They may be irritable, moody and you may also notice a decline in their appearance. Anxious employees may make excessive lists and work longer than others. Anxiety does not help to motivate your employees because they often procrastinate.

See our article, Depression Symptoms Rise When You Work Long Hours.

Equip Your Employees With Coping Strategies

Your employees need to learn coping strategies to address anxious feelings, and they must know where they can seek help if issues become overwhelming.

The Tap into Safety Mental Health Literacy Training increases mental health literacy on workplace stressors to teach effective coping strategies using animated storytelling. We have developed several out-of-the-box employee mental health modules. The training can be completed online, on tablets and mobile phones in under 5 minutes and draws on a MicroLearning methodology. Every training module offers suggestions on where employees can seek help.

See our mental health training module on Stress, Anxiety and Depression Symptoms for your employees that provide simple exercises to reduce symptoms and negative thoughts. We also have modules to support managers and leaders and employees.

  1. Helping Employees with Mental Health Concerns
  2. Workload and Burnout
  3. Working as a Team
  4. Signs of Declining Mental Health in Employee
  5. Identifying and Managing Psychosocial Hazards
  6. Creating a Psychosocially Safe Environment

If you would like to know more about our Mental Health Literacy Training, try a free demo or contact us today.

To Conclude

As a Manager or Leader, your job is complex and challenging. Not only do you need to keep your employees safe, but you also need to ensure that they remain engaged and productive. There are three areas that you need to be aware of to motivate your employees and they are purpose, social recognition and the work environment. You need to extrinsically and intrinsically reward your employees when they achieve great results and encourage them to exceed their expectations.

Finding ways to motivate your employees is made all the more difficult when their mental health is under threat. You need to continually monitor their mental health because they may be taking on an increased workload to get through their pressured-packed days. They need to understand the impact on their mental health when they take on additional hours over an extended period. Overwork can lead to symptoms of stress and anxiety. Your employees need to learn coping strategies to address anxious feelings, and they must know where they can seek help if issues become overwhelming.


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