If you've ever wondered how to turn your team into a powerhouse of productivity, creativity, and genuine enthusiasm, you're in the right place. Employee motivation is a tricky concept that goes way beyond the traditional notions of incentives and rewards. It's about creating an atmosphere where each team member feels valued, appreciated, and wanted.

For example, according to Randstad’s Global Report on Employer Brand Research (REBR), creating a positive and productive work environment is the fourth most important reason that employees are attracted to a business. The first is, of course, salary and benefits. However, when you consider that 34% of employees would leave a toxic work environment instead of waiting it out, you begin to see the immense impact of workplace culture on employee satisfaction and retention.

In this article, we explore what employee motivation looks like, the importance of understanding your workforce, and four great employee motivation strategies.

What is employee motivation?

Employee motivation is the level of commitment an employee has toward their job and the energy they put into completing tasks. Employee motivation is determined by many factors. These include:

  • job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is how much enjoyment and fulfilment an employee gets out of their job. This is determined by factors like the level of autonomy, the link between their skills and the job specification, and their relationships with their colleagues.

  • recognition and reward. 83.6% of employees believe that recognition affects their ability to feel motivated at work. This report states that those between the ages of 35-44 and post-graduate degree holders need the most recognition in order to feel valued and motivated at work.

  • workplace culture. According to the global report, workplace atmosphere is the fourth most important business driver. As a result, a focus on workplace culture will have a direct impact on employee motivation, engagement, and overall job satisfaction.

  • opportunities for development. A lack of career progression is the third most important reason colleagues left their employer in 2023. If employees cannot see where they are going, they may feel demotivated and may be inclined to look for other jobs.

  • alignment with the company’s mission. When individuals connect with the overarching goals and values of the organisation, their work becomes meaningful and contributes to a larger vision. This gives them a sense of purpose and motivation.

understanding your workforce.

Understanding the unique needs of your workforce is the first step in designing a workplace culture that fosters motivation, engagement, and overall wellbeing. By recognising and catering to the specific needs of your employees, you lay the foundation for a workplace culture that not only attracts top talent but also retains and nurtures it.

Whilst the report can give some great insights into general trends and benchmarks, the nuances of your workforce go beyond statistics. It's crucial to complement this information with a deeper understanding of the unique individuals who make up your team. You could gather this information by:

  • personalised employee surveys. Create an employee survey that goes beyond standard questions and delves into each employee's specific needs and aspirations. Ask about work styles, preferred communication methods, and personal development goals. This will help you understand the unique needs of your workforce and tailor your motivation strategies accordingly.

  • employee focus groups. Employee focus groups allow your employees to bounce off one another to discuss their motivation levels and what they need. It’s important that an independent mediator is also present to ensure the group does not get carried away or stray off-topic.

  • team building activities. Team building activities can help your team feel more comfortable with each other and more confident in sharing how they truly feel. Although it may seem counterproductive, employee socialisation can improve communication by up to 50%!

employee motivation strategies.

peer-to-peer feedback

Encouraging peer-to-peer feedback is a great way to increase the overall feedback levels while fostering a culture of collaboration within the organisation. When employees are encouraged to provide feedback to their peers, it creates a dynamic feedback loop that is more effective than traditional top-down communication. People would always rather receive feedback from a friend than they would a manager.

Try buddying your employees up to give feedback to one another. This way, employees won’t feel like their colleagues are ganging up on them while building camaraderie within the team.

flexible working provisions

According to the global report, the need for a better work-life balance is the top reason employees are leaving their jobs. Remote working may be the key to helping employees find the balance between work and personal lives.

Offering flexible working provisions both shows your commitment to employee wellbeing and shows that you trust your employees to work hard, no matter where they are. Being able to separate home and work life will help employees feel more motivated and engaged with their work.

Try introducing hybrid working initiatives to your employees where possible. This type of work involves working a few days in the office and a few days from home. This will give employees the flexibility of home working with the social and communication benefits of office-based work.

recognition schemes

Recognition schemes help employees grow and develop. Regular recognition is the first step in creating a positive work environment where their contributions are acknowledged, celebrated, and rewarded. The positive impact of these schemes plays a crucial role in an employee's professional journey, boosting morale and job satisfaction.

Try starting with something small. For example, offer a £5 gift card to a coffee shop for anyone who hits their targets or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the week. From this, you can build up to something larger like a quarterly bonus scheme, employee of the month incentives, or even opportunities for skill development and career advancement for high performers.

wellbeing support

Wellbeing support can include mental health support, discounted gym memberships, flexible working arrangements, health screenings, support with childcare, healthy snacks, or any other initiatives designed to address the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of employees.

Offering employee wellbeing initiatives demonstrates a commitment to the health and happiness of your workforce while simultaneously supporting employee motivation and driving organisational success.

Try asking your employees what kind of wellbeing incentives they’d get the most benefit from before you decide on a support package. This inclusive approach fosters a sense of empowerment, ensuring that the wellbeing initiatives implemented resonate effectively with employees.

final thoughts on employee motivation strategies.

Employee motivation strategies are key to fostering a supportive and dynamic working environment. They are pivotal in enhancing employee engagement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. Speaking to your employees beforehand is important to understand exactly what would help them feel more motivated at work. However, offering regular feedback, great benefits, and flexible working provisions is a great place to start.

To understand more about what employees are looking for in 2024, we recommend downloading Randstad’s Employer Brand Research Report. 

This report will help you understand recruitment and attrition trends, industry benchmarking, and provide valuable insights into the evolving expectations of today's workforce. Click below to download:

download the latest edition of the Randstad Employer Brand Research

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