Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

4 Ways to Motivate Your Employees

It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a motivated employee produces not only more results, but better results than their apathetic colleagues. Not only that, but motivated employees usually enjoy their job and are fully engaged with it. They want to do a great job and constantly seek to best themselves time and time again. Their energy and drive likely leads your team and motivates others around them to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

As you can see, motivated employees are somewhat of a goldmine, so it’s no secret employers and team leaders want them on their team. The challenge to this though is once you have motivated employees on your team, how do you keep them motivated? And how do you motivate those that seem to just be floating through their job? It’s the responsibility of a good leader and employer to find ways to keep their team motivated. To get you started, here are a few things to keep in mind while trying to keep your team motivated.

Before getting into managerial styles and other ways to motivate your employees, first think of how much you pay them. While employees list being appreciated as their number one desire, money is still very important. If you are not paying your employees at least the average salary for someone in their position, then chances are they are not going to be very motivated to go above and beyond for you. In the Careerist Daniel Pink, the author of the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us states that, “You have to pay people enough money. If you don’t, it is a demotivator.” And that should make perfect sense. It would be difficult to expect greatness out of someone that is being paid less than the majority of other people working in their field.

You should remember our post from last week though that touched on using promotions as a way to boost employee morale. Unless you are going to actually raise the salary of your employee, don’t give them a promotion in order to motivate them. It won’t work. Instead, be sure that you are paying your employees what they should, and deserve to, be paid.

Avoid Micromanaging
It can be really difficult to find some kind of motivation when your boss is constantly breathing down your neck and telling you how to do your job. Micromanaging stifles not only creativity, but motivation in your employees as well. The Careerist states, “Good managers give people compasses, not maps.” In other words, let them know what direction you want to go in and what you expect in the end, but don’t stifle them by trying to “guide their way” the entire time. As mentioned in the past, you hired this employee to do a specific job and thought they were competent. Let them do the job you hired them to do then. Micromanaging can take all of the motivation out of an employee because they’re not really allowed to spread their wings and show you their full potential. Once they are stifled, that motivation goes right out the door.

Listen to Your Employees
Speaking of what employees want from their employer, in the infogaphic Spark Hire published months ago employees stated they wanted to feel “in” on things.” In fact, this was actually the second most important thing employees wanted from their employers- even above good wages. When you listen to your employees and actually take time to hear their opinions on things they will feel as though they are truly part of the company and that they are valued by you. This is a huge motivating factor. An employee would surely want to work harder if they knew their boss or employer truly valued them and their opinion. On the other hand, if they don’t feel as though they are part of something that matters, motivation easily gets thrown out the window. “What’s the point?”

Encourage Growth
It’s way easier for an employee to be motivated in their position if they think their employers care about their career growth. People want to further their careers and constantly improve- and aren’t these the kind of employees you want on your team? Those that are comfortable just flat-lining and never think about ways to better themselves in their career will likely refuse to bring their best to the table for you. Why would they look to improve if they are satisfied and comfortable with where they are now?

Conversely though, if you show employees that you care about their future and want them to constantly work towards improving themselves then they will likely be motivated to do so. Look for ways to challenge your employees rather than just letting them get comfortable with the same day-to-day drum. Suggest that some of your employees take classes to improve their skill set, or at the very least allow them to take the day off in order to attend a class that will improve their skills. It’s a win-win situation for you: your employee comes back armed with more weapons, and they are fully motivated to bring their ‘A’ game for you. What more could you ask for?

There’s no one thing that will motivate your employees to do their job better. Rather there are a multitude of things that you need to do as an employer to ensure that you are challenging and motivating your team all the time. Step back, listen and genuinely care. Those three simple things can actually get you, and your team, really far.

What are some things you do to motivate your team? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by photosteve101

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter