It can be a challenge to motivate employees that seem to have lost their drive to do above-average work. You might be tempted to try giving raises or promotions or implementing expensive workplace changes in an effort to motivate your employees out of a rut.
Those techniques, and any motivation techniques that rely on extrinsic motivators (money, prizes, etc.), have been proven to be ineffective.
Research shows that money and other extrinsic (outside the self) motivators simply don’t work long term to recharge employees. In fact, they can actually condition employees to continue the very behaviors that you want to change.
Luckily, you can rely on proven motivation techniques that have already passed the test and are sure to work. There’s no guesswork involved–if you want to boost productivity and workplace morale, use these motivation techniques and watch the changes you hope for take place.
5 Employee Motivation Techniques
Research in the psychology field has revealed a lot of surprises about motivation. One finding that is repeatedly reported is the lack of long-term effect on motivation when extrinsic motivators are used.
Extrinsic motivators are the carrot in the carrot and stick motivation strategy–dangled before the employee in an effort to make them work in overdrive to get to it. The problem is, many employees could care less about the carrot. They want recognition, realization of personal goals, higher status, and individualized perks.
Check out these 5 techniques to motivate employees.
1. Help employees work toward a personal goal
It’s no secret that people work harder when they’ve got a direct stake in the results, so use that to your advantage.
If an office employee regularly asks about trade shows or conventions and wants to attend, make it your business to help them work toward that goal and give them the opportunity to show their competence at a new level.
Helping an employee work toward a goal they already have at work will earn you the added power of intrinsic motivation, which is more powerful than extrinsic motivation.
2. Reward success with status, not money
Promotions and raises are important ways to reward employees, but they should never be confused with motivators. They just don’t provide enough motivation to result in long term changes in productivity or drive.
But if you reward an employee’s success with a new status level, the achievement sticks. It motivates the employee to continue to work hard and continue working up the ladder. It’s especially motivational to create a new position for an employee with a unique and valued skill set.
Always keep an eye on how existing employees can grow within the workplace.
3. Recognize your top performers
Your high performers deserve more recognition because they’re doing more work. Success doesn’t just happen!
If you want your high performers to keep it up, you have to recognize their hard work. It doesn’t always have to be an office-wide announcement or a party–a simple pat on the back and “Great job on that report last week!” is sufficient to remind your employees that you appreciate their effort and are noticing the results.
Nothing drains motivation like a lack of recognition, or worse, an abundance of negative feedback.
4. Offer bonuses and perks they already want
It’s a surefire way to boost employee motivation: Offer a bonus or perk for hard work!
If the office has done a great job with a recent campaign or change, you might buy everyone tickets to a local game. You could hold an office picnic, give out gift cards, or allow everyone to leave early on a Friday if certain requirements are met.
Get creative–you know your employees best and what perks would mean the most to them. This part is important: If the perks don’t matter to your employees, you lose the advantage of using their own internal drive to achieve the goal.
5. Ask them what motivates them
If you’re really interested in finding what motivates your employees, just ask them!
You can hand out an office-wide survey where you ask questions about perks or bonuses you’ve considered bringing in. You can leave your ideas out of it and ask for their opinions, compile the best, and take a vote. You can have each person choose their favorite perk or bonus out of a small list. The possibilities are endless!
The best part about this method is that you’ll get your answer straight from the source, so you’ll know it will be a success.